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May 28, 2014

Consumer Perspectives on Upcoming EPA Greenhouse Gas Rule

Expert Available to Rebut Industry Claims That the Rule Will Have Significant Effect on Electricity Prices

On Monday, June 2, the federal government is scheduled to release a rule requiring reductions of greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. Opponents of the rule are predictably making claims that the rule will raise prices for consumers. In fact, the rule is expected to be written in a way to allow states to protect consumers and to take steps that could even lower electricity bills. Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program, is available to explain that:

  • Electricity costs can be reduced through energy efficiency and solar power. In March, for instance, the city of Austin signed a 25-year agreement with SunEdison to supply electricity to the city from solar power at a rate less than the city’s prevailing rate, meaning electric rates for households will decline under the solar deal.

  • Pure political lobbying groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Heritage Foundation, are attacking the rule with preposterous cost claims in an apparent effort to sidestep the facts and demonize EPA regulations as a campaign tool for the midterm elections.

  • Industry is split on support for the rule, with many regulated utilities indicating they will work with states on its implementation.

  • The Congressional Research Service recently dismissed the industry’s claims that there is a “war on coal,” concluding that market conditions, not EPA rules, were to blame for coal’s decline as a fuel for power.

  • Coal’s harmful health and environmental costs are not reflected in the current price, so the fuel source is artificially cheap.

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