Electric Cooperatives React to the EPA’s New Regulations
Impacts to electric bills and reliability among concerns
DES MOINES, Iowa – June 2, 2014 – Iowa’s electric cooperatives have concerns with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed carbon dioxide emissions regulations on existing power facilities. The proposed regulations, which were released today, create uncertainty about America’s ongoing energy supply.
“The proposed rules released by the EPA will likely lead to increases in our member- owners' monthly electric bills – the question is how much?” said Marion Denger, president of the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives. “The rules are complex, which is why Iowa's electric cooperatives worked in bipartisan effort with our Congressional representatives in successfully urging the EPA to extend the comment period. We appreciate the EPA’s acknowledgement that additional time is necessary to fully assess the impact of the proposed regulations.”
Among the electric cooperatives’ main concerns are that the costs to operate coal-fueled generation, which is one of our nation's most reliable and cost-effective sources of power, could be significantly increased. In addition, potentially forcing the premature shutdown of certain electric generating facilities is not a sustainable solution for the millions who rely on safe, reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible power for their homes and businesses.
“Member-owners of Iowa’s electric cooperatives are served from a diverse portfolio of sustainable electric generation resources and expect to receive service 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In order to deliver this service, we support responsible environmental policies that balance the needs of the environment without significantly impacting power reliability or electric bills,” Denger said.
Further demonstrating their commitment to a sustainable environment, Iowa’s electric cooperatives have invested millions of dollars in energy efficiency programs and services, and environmental upgrades to existing generating facilities; integrated cooperative and member- owned renewable resources (wind, solar, hydro, biomass, geothermal); and implemented automated meter reading to substantially reduce the use of transportation fuels.
“Electric cooperatives will be thoroughly analyzing the proposed requirements to determine the impacts on member-owners’ electric bills and making sure power is there when the switch is flipped on,” Denger said. “We also look forward to continuing to work with stakeholders to develop an effective Iowa plan.”
The Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives represents 34 distribution cooperatives in Iowa and six generation and transmission cooperatives providing electricity to approximately 650,000 Iowans in each of the state’s 99 counties. Iowa’s rural electric cooperatives are part of a national network of 1,000 electric cooperatives. These utilities, which serve 25 million Americans in 46 states, work together through the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, a Washington, D.C.-based service organization formed in 1942. Information about Iowa’s rural electric cooperatives is available on the association’s website, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages, which can be accessed via www.iowarec.org. Information about Touchstone Energy is available at www.touchstoneenergy.com.