EPA’s Draft Clean Power Plan Released For Public Comment

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Power Plan, released on June 2, 2014, could have considerable impact on electricity prices across the nation and especially in Texas. By 2030 the plan requires Texas emissions to be reduced by 39 percent. There is a 120 day comment period after this plan is filed in the public register, and the EPAs final rule is expected in June of 2015.

After the final rule, states will be required to develop state-specific plans by June 2016. These plans will require four compliance efforts that could be costly to implement and that also raise concerns about future electricity generation and reliability.

WCEC, along with other Texas Electric Cooperatives and local industry partners, and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) are currently evaluating the proposed regulations to gauge the technical feasibility of the EPA’s plan, as well as the cost impact. Together, they will work to file comments to the EPA that will seek to ensure affordable and achievable goals.

About the national impact to cooperatives, NRECA CEO Jo Ann Emerson commented, “Americans count on affordable and reliable energy to power our communities, promote job and economic growth, and keep costs in line for the basic necessities in our family budgets. New EPA regulations that add to the price of electricity have serious consequences for our communities, jobs, and families.” Further, she said, “America’s electric cooperatives are naturally concerned that these regulations will increase electricity prices and force power plant shutdowns, thereby harming the economy and jobs of hard-working Americans. However, there are a lot of details to work through in this proposal – and additional details that will be outlined in yet-to-be-developed state plans.”

Debbie Robinson, General Manager and CEO of WCEC, echoed those sentiments, saying, “We want our members to know that we are remaining active in supporting a common sense, balanced approach that considers affordability and reliability, along with environmental concerns. As we know more, we will inform our members via our website and other channels. But, we want our members to know that we have our fingers on the pulse of this issue and are engaging to ensure our members are well represented.”

Members of electric cooperatives that wish to learn more about the issue and express concerns to the EPA are invited to at: www.action.coop.

Wood County Electric Cooperative, Inc. is a not-for-profit electric cooperative with the mission of providing member-customers reliable electric service at a reasonable rate. WCEC serves over 33,000 meters in parts of nine counties throughout northeast Texas, including Camp, Franklin, Hopkins, Rains, Smith, Titus, Upshur, Van Zandt, and Wood.