By Johnny Kampis and Bruce Parker | Watchdog.org
CULLMAN, Ala. — Might want to turn down your thermostats Alabamians, because your power bills are going up.
By 2020, the average combined annual household gas and electric bills in Alabama is expected to increase by more than $800, in large part due to the Obama administration’s proposal to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from U.S. power plants.
A study released last week by Energy Ventures Analysis, a Virginia-based consulting firm, finds that EPA regulations will spike power and gas costs for residential, commercial and industrial customers in the United States by an estimated $284 billion over the next five years. That represents a 60 percent rise as Americans can expect to watch coal-based electricity decline and natural gas prices increase.
ZAP: Alabamians and other Americans will soon feel the sting of higher power rates, says one study.
The average American household will see a $680 increase, but Alabamians’ bills will shoot up more, according to the report, from an average of $2,218 for gas and electricity annually in 2012 to $3,020 in 2020.
“EVA’s analysis is the first to fully examine the combined economic impacts of the EPA’s long list of proposed and finalized regulations on the electric power industry, including the Mercury and Air Toxic Standards, regional haze regulations and the Clean Power Plan, whose four building blocks are based on flawed assumptions,” Seth Schwartz, president of Energy Ventures Analysis, said in a statement.
“For example, existing coal-fueled generating facilities are already operating at very efficient levels and, collectively, will not be able to achieve an additional 6 percent heat rate improvement.”
In recent years, the Environmental Protection Agency has issued a slew of regulations on the electric power sector, the majority of which target power plant emissions under the authority of the Clean Air Act. The new rules claim to address carbon dioxide emissions, ozone and particulate matter, interstate transport of air pollution, mercury and air toxics, haze and more. The new regulations impose new costs on electric power companies and, by extension, their customers.
Implementation of the Clean Power Plan would create a “dramatic shift in the nation’s generation mix,” according to the study. The proposal would cut coal generation by 40 percent and boost natural gas generation by 67 percent
Coal is expected to be responsible for only 23 percent of Alabama energy production in 2012, down from 31 percent, while natural gas will increase from 36 percent to 42 percent.
Even when factoring in inflation, Alabama power rates will still rise significantly, increasing $360 annually, or 16 percent over 2012 costs.