Pressure is mounting for Congress to do something about climate change. And while political debates in Washington, D.C., may seem far away, the outcome of environmental legislation will have a direct impact on Pointe Coupee Electric Membership Corporation–and on you, our consumer members.
Already our nation faces a looming energy crisis, with demand for electricity ready to outstrip supply. Unless significantly more power plants are placed into service soon, consumers could experience brownouts and even rolling blackouts in the not-too-distant future. But building this generation will be the most expensive in history, coming at a time when prices for fossil fuels and construction materials like steel, copper, and concrete are shooting upward.
Additional costs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions–notably carbon dioxide, blamed for contributing to global climate change–will only strain the pocketbooks of consumers even further. Various climate change bills under consideration in Congress could boost wholesale power costs 50 percent to 80 percent by 2020, and push up retail rates from 25 percent to 40 percent.
Unfortunately, many members of Congress, as well as local and state legislators, mistakenly believe we can solve all of these problems through efficiency measures and by adding renewable energy sources. While we certainly need more energy efficiency programs and “green power,” they will not be enough to ensure that you continue to receive a safe, reliable, and affordable supply of electricity.
To keep the lights on and rates reasonable, the federal government must exercise dedicated leadership–the same leadership that got us to the moon in the 1960s. Without it, and without a sound, responsible, sustainable energy policy, we risk returning to a time when electric service was a privilege enjoyed only by the wealthy.
As electric co-op consumers, though, you can help prevent that from happening. I encourage you to contact your elected officials today, and ask them some tough questions
By doing so, you will open a discussion that just may see policymakers search for ways to meet environmental objectives while limiting the impact on electric bills.
To assist you in your conversations with those in positions of power, log on to www.ourenergy.coop. There you will find three core questions to ask, as follows:
1. Experts say that our nation’s growing electricity needs will soon go well beyond what renewables, conservation, and efficiency can provide; What is your plan to make sure we have the electricity we’ll need in the future?
2. What are you doing to fully fund the research required to make emissions-free electric plants an affordable reality?
3. Balancing electricity needs and environmental goals will be difficult. How much is all this going to increase my electric bill and what will you do to make it affordable?
From the Web site, you will also be able to send a sample letter to members of Congress recommending that they seek out a balanced solution to energy and climate change. The letter may be sent electronically or printed for regular mail.
Far too often questions don’t get asked by policymakers until plans go wrong. You can help your elected officials “get it right” by having this conversation. The electric bill you save will be your own.
Source: Straight Talk Alert, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.