EPA regs to increase Vermonters’ gas and electric bills by $880

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By 2020, the aver­age annu­al house­hold gas and elec­tric bill in Ver­mont will increase by more than $880, thanks to the Oba­ma administration’s pro­pos­al to reg­u­late car­bon diox­ide emis­sions from U.S. pow­er plants.

COST OF GOING GREEN: New carbon regulations from the EPA will cause Vermonters’ residential gas and electric bills to rise 36 percent over the next five years.

COST OF GOING GREEN: New car­bon reg­u­la­tions from the EPA will cause Ver­mon­ters’ res­i­den­tial gas and elec­tric bills to rise 36 per­cent over the next five years.

A study released Thurs­day 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 by an esti­mat­ed $284 bil­lion over the next five years. The increase rep­re­sents a 60 per­cent rise as Amer­i­cans can expect to watch coal-based elec­tric­i­ty decline and nat­ur­al gas prices rise.

View the entire report online at the Ener­gy Ven­tures Analy­sis web­site.

While the report shows that Amer­i­can house­holds over­all will see elec­tric­i­ty and nat­ur­al gas bills rise about $680 annu­al­ly com­pared to 2012, Ver­mon­ters will expe­ri­ence an even high­er increase. Ver­mon­ters paid an aver­age of $2,466 for gas and elec­tric bills in 2012; they will pay $3,348 in 2020. The cost of elec­tric­i­ty will increase the most in states that have imple­ment­ed dereg­u­la­tion of whole­sale elec­tric pow­er mar­kets, the report claims.

More­over, the pow­er rate increase for indus­tri­al use is pro­ject­ed to rise from 10 cents per kilo­watt hour to 12.3 cents per kilo­watt hour, accord­ing to the report.

The total annu­al cost of pow­er and gas in Ver­mont will top $1 bil­lion in 2020, a $300 mil­lion cost increase over 2012. Elec­tric­i­ty costs make up $200 mil­lion of that total increase.

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,” said Seth Schwartz, pres­i­dent of Ener­gy Ven­tures Analy­sis.

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 CO2 emis­sions, ozone and par­tic­u­late mat­ter, inter­state trans­port of air pol­lu­tion, mer­cury and air tox­i­cs, haze and more. Each of the new reg­u­la­tions impos­es new costs on elec­tric pow­er com­pa­nies and, by exten­sion, their cus­tomers.

The report claims the indus­tri­al sec­tor will be hurt the most, espe­cial­ly alu­minum, steel and chem­i­cal man­u­fac­tur­ers, as these indus­tries need reli­able low-cost elec­tric­i­ty to com­pete glob­al­ly.

High-cost renew­ables gen­er­a­tion is expect­ed to dou­ble in Ver­mont at the same time whole­sale nat­ur­al gas prices will more than dou­ble.