LaGrange County REMC CEO
To the Editor:
“All-of-the-above” energy strategy key to affordable electric rates
On March 10, 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency will close the public comment period on its new carbon regulations. Unless an overwhelming volume of public comments can convince the administration to withdraw the new rules, they post a very real threat to the affordable rates Hoosiers rely upon to power their homes and businesses.
Indiana’s Electric Cooperatives have historically fought for affordable electric rates for all Hoosiers. As such, electric rates in Indiana, on average, are among the lowest in the nation. We are calling on our members to join the fight; visit www.action.coop today and to urge the EPA to withdraw these regulations.
What was supposed to be an “all-of-the-above” energy policy — incorporating the use of coal, natural gas, renewables and nuclear energy to generate power — has effectively been cut to an “all-but-one” approach. And coal — which produces 80-90 percent of the state’s electricity, helps keep 29,000 Hoosiers employed and maintains affordable electric rates — is the “one” being cut. This approach is a dire threat to our economy and households across the Hoosier state.
Indiana’s Electric Cooperatives including LaGrange County REMC, Noble REMC and Steuben County REMC are disappointed in this move away from an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy, but more than that, we are concerned about how this will impact our members. According to Indiana’s State Utility Forecasting Group, new EPA regulations will increase your family’s electric bill by 32% by 2023. Indiana’s economic viability and competitiveness will be threatened when our state’s major industrial and commercial consumers no longer have access to low-cost electricity.
Our dedication to a cleaner environment is a key part of our commitment to serving northeast Indiana, and our mission of providing safe, reliable and affordable electricity. In fact, the REMCs have taken proactive steps to honor an “all-of-the-above” strategy. Our investments reflect that commitment.
We believe in working toward a solution that addresses the carbon concern, but meeting these new regulations with existing technologies is simply not economically feasible. A responsible energy policy framework, along with a focus on new, proven technology and energy conservation, can mitigate the burden of rising costs.
We need the EPA to focus on working with — not against — co-ops as part of this ongoing effort.
Please take a moment to visit www.action.coop to learn more about this issue and to lend your voice to that of co-op members across America in urging the EPA to stick by its initial “all-of-the-above” promise.