Earlier today, Jo Ann Emerson, the CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, spoke out about the serious consequences of new EPA regulations on the price of electricity and the impact on communities, jobs and families.
Electric cooperatives across the country, including the 20 in South Carolina, are also reviewing the regulations announced today. Mike Couick, CEO of The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, has issued this statement:
“The EPA’s proposal today is voluminous and will take some time to digest. However, one does not have to be opposed to controlling carbon dioxide emissions to also acknowledge that it will be expensive. The EPA proposals are broad and require a number of assumptions to draw conclusions at this time.
“Based on some simplified assumptions, our calculations show cost increases for electric cooperative members: Let’s say electric cooperatives replaced all of the electricity they distribute that is generated by coal-fired power plants. Assume half the replacement power would be generated by natural gas-fired plants and half from nuclear power plants. Such a change could raise electric cooperative members’ power costs more than 50 percent.
“Electric cooperatives serve in suburbs, small towns and rural areas in all 46 counties in the state, covering 70 percent of the land mass. Compared to other utility customers in S.C., our members are 50 percent more likely to live below the poverty level. Cost increases matter.
“Electric cooperatives in South Carolina have been ahead of the curve in exploring ways to control costs and reduce emissions. We spearheaded the development of the state’s largest solar power farm, located in Colleton County. We have decades of experience in controlling energy peak demand through the targeted control of large energy-using appliances. And, we have piloted large scale energy efficiency projects as part of a program that allocates as much as 1.1 percent of the revenue of the co-ops’ wholesale electricity aggregator, Central Electric Power Cooperative, to such efforts.
“Our goal is to ensure that the president and the EPA consider the effects of their proposals on working South Carolinians and our economy while we all look for ways to protect our environment.”
The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, Inc. is the state association of independent, member-owned electric cooperatives. More than 1.5 million South Carolinians in all 46 counties use power provided by electric cooperatives. Together, the co-ops operate the state’s largest electric power system with more than 70,000 miles of power lines across 70 percent of the state. More information is available at www.ecsc.org.