Wisconsin electric cooperatives concerned by
President Obama's plan to increase the price of electricity
It is too soon to know whether President Obama's announcement at Georgetown University - saying he'll direct federal regulators to develop new rules restricting carbon dioxide from existing power plants and not just new ones - will affect only coal-fired generation or restrict the operation of natural gas-fired plants as well.
Other regulations already in the pipeline effectively rule out new coal-burning facilities.
The President's plan will impose a massive new climate tax upon all consumers; Wisconsin's electric cooperatives are especially concerned about this proposal because Wisconsin relies heavily on coal to provide reliable electricity.
Electric cooperatives serve areas where rural and low-income Americans already spend disproportionately more on energy than others.
"The President's plan will hit co-op served families and businesses in Wisconsin awfully hard," said Share Brandt, general manager of the Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association. "Rural communities have been especially hard hit by the economic downturn since 2007; they've made incredible sacrifices."
The President's climate tax fails to take into account electric cooperatives' existing efforts to integrate renewable energy into our power portfolios.
More than 13 percent of the power co-ops generate nationally comes from renewable sources. Co-ops are also at the forefront of energy efficiency initiatives; reducing the need to build expensive new power plants.
"Ultimately, electric cooperatives are about keeping electric bills affordable; providing underserved communities the power they need to improve their quality of life," said Share Brandt.
Brandt added, "The President's proposal will make electric power more expensive, causing families and businesses to sacrifice on top of all the other uncertainty in our national economy. Without question, electric bills will get bigger for the Americans who can least afford to pay them."
The Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association represents Wisconsin's 25 electric cooperatives by providing government relations, education, communications, and technical services.
The WECA is a division of Cooperative Network, which serves more than 600 member-cooperatives, owned by more than 6.1 million Minnesota and Wisconsin residents. For more information about WECA visit www.weca.coop.