Power co-ops say Obama climate plan means higher electric bills - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Power co-ops say Obama climate plan means higher electric bills

South Mississippi Electric Power Association officials say President Obama's proposals to fight climate change will increase costs for consumers. South Mississippi Electric Power Association officials say President Obama's proposals to fight climate change will increase costs for consumers.
HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

Power company officials and electric co-ops in South Mississippi are reacting to President Obama's speech on global warming Tuesday. During the speech at Georgetown University, the President outlined a plan to battle climate change which involves setting new carbon emissions standards for coal-fired power plants.

And while some power co-op officials say Obama's goals to protect the environment are laudable, they say they will also result in one thing for sure...higher electric bills for everyone.

"It will be an increased cost based on prior discussions of what the plan could look like," said Nathan Brown, chief operating officer for South Mississippi Electric Power Association. "And we're very concerned that the customers of Mississippi that we serve will end up paying a much higher price, with possibly little to no immediate benefits," he said.  

Obama wants federal regulators to use the Clean Air Act to reduce carbon emissions from new and existing coal-fired power plants. It's a move power co-ops say could force some plants to close.

Moreover, Obama wants a greater emphasis put on alternative sources of energy, such as solar and wind...technologies that some say are not practical for our area.

"Neither one of those works well in Mississippi," Brown said. "The wind don't blow at night, there's not that much wind in the daytime. Solar technology will eventually get to the point, I think, that it might be viable, but it's in no way going to replace traditional coal-fired and natural gas resources," he said.  

Power co-ops say the President's plan, at its core, is a new climate tax for consumers, placing an additional unfair burden on many people in tough economic times.

"Every time that the price goes up, it's like an additional tax that's being levied against the public through the utilities as a result of this," Brown said. "Because the only thing we can do in this case, is pass it on to our customers and it's a cost," he said.

Brown also said nationally, more than 13 percent of the power that co-ops generate comes from renewable resources.  

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