Clean Power Plan to Lower Electricity Bills in Kentucky, West Virginia

DavidArkush1Statement of David Arkush, Managing Director, Public Citizen’s Climate Program

Note: This morning, the Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a hearing on S. 1324, the Affordable Reliable Energy Now Act. On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on H.R. 2042, the Ratepayer Protection Act. Both bills contain multiple provisions to undermine or block the proposed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Power Plan, which, when finalized this summer, will be the first-ever U.S. rule designed to curb carbon pollution from existing power plants.

This week, Republicans in the House and Senate are advancing bills to undermine the Clean Power Plan. One of their arguments is that they are protecting consumers from rate hikes under the rule. But electricity rates are the wrong focus. Consumers don’t care about electricity rates. They care about what they pay: their bills. Under the Clean Power Plan, states will improve their energy efficiency policies, and as a result, people will use substantially less electricity. That means their bills will go down even if the raw price of electricity is higher.

Members of the Kentucky and West Virginia delegations are key opponents of the Clean Power Plan, claiming, among other things, that it will hurt consumers in their states. They are wrong.

Today, we are releasing analyses of the Clean Power Plan’s impact on electricity bills in both states. We project that Kentuckians (PDF) will pay 7.7 percent less for electricity in 2030 under the Clean Power Plan, saving the average household $104 annually. West Virginians’ (PDF) electricity bills will be 9.9 percent lower, for a savings of $160.

It is time for Kentucky and West Virginia politicians to stop hiding behind the claim that they are protecting people’s pocketbooks. What they’re really doing is enriching the coal industry at the expense of electricity consumers, as well as everyone else on the planet.