(ARLINGTON, VA) National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Senior Vice President of Government Relations Kirk Johnson expressed concern about the affordability of EPA carbon rules:
“Rural electric cooperatives were built in rural economic areas to help make them more vibrant over the last 75 years. Our demographics are different than the rest of country; the average household income is $8,000 less than the average national household income. We serve 70 percent of those in the persistent poverty rate–those who have been living more than 20 percent below the poverty line for the last three decades.
We want to see rules that will be fair and affordable for consumers who will have to pay the bills. We know that these proposed rules will increase costs in ways that will vary across the country. Everyone is trying to do an analysis of what those costs will be. Some plants will be closed. Those costs, paying off remaining debts, building new facilities, these will be paid for by the consumers, in the case of the co-ops.
What’s more is that folks are still struggling to get their arms around the magnitude of rule before us. This is 1,600 pages and unprecedented areas of regulation. There are at least 52 complex questions EPA seeking answers on. We’d like the EPA to further improve their understanding of how the electricity system works, how co-ops work, and, ultimately, how this rule will affect real people.”
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.