Consumers' electric bills likely to spike as coal plants (forced to) close

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 12, 2011 7:47 PM GMT
    The timing is impeccable.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-0612-rates-20110611,0,7432941.story

    As stricter environmental regulations approach, some power generators are choosing to shutter their coal-fired plants.

    Consumers could see their electricity bills jump an estimated 40 to 60 percent in the next few years.

    The reason: Pending environmental regulations will make coal-fired generating plants, which produce about half the nation's electricity, more expensive to operate. Many are expected to be shuttered.

    The increases are expected to begin to appear in 2014, and policymakers already are scrambling to find cheap and reliable alternative power sources. If they are unsuccessful, consumers can expect further increases as more expensive forms of generation take on a greater share of the electricity load.

    "Each generator will have to decide for itself whether the investment required to meet environmental requirements can be justified based on its projection of market prices and the cost of its capital. In any case, those costs will be passed through to consumers," said Mark Pruitt, director of the Illinois Power Agency, which procures electricity for Illinois.

    American Electric Power, one of the country's largest coal-burning electricity generators, said Thursday it will retire nearly a quarter of its coal-fueled generating capacity and that it will spend up to $8 billion to retrofit remaining units to meet regulations that start taking effect in 2014. Those moves will have an impact.

    "The sudden increase in electricity rates and impacts on state economies will be significant at a time when people and states are still struggling,'' AEP Chairman and CEO Michael G. Morris said.
  • creature

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    Jun 12, 2011 8:11 PM GMT
    I'm glad to see stricter environmental regulations are approaching.
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    Jun 12, 2011 9:19 PM GMT
    creature saidI'm glad to see stricter environmental regulations are approaching.


    As long as you recognize that there is a cost to it - once again I see you're advocating policies making the poor poorer.
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    Jun 12, 2011 9:30 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    creature saidI'm glad to see stricter environmental regulations are approaching.

    As long as you recognize that there is a cost to it - once again I see you're advocating policies making the poor poorer.

    Will create additional expenses for businesses, which will keep unemployment up to record levels, but that's the dirty little secret.
  • creature

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    Jun 12, 2011 9:31 PM GMT
    There is a cost for everything. The power companies also have the option to let those costs eat up their profits instead of making the customers pay for it, but that is doubtful.

    I have no idea how you feel about regulations in general, but I'm sure you're satisfied that there have been regulations in place regarding the car you drive or the food you eat. Those regulations cost the companies money, but the end result is that you get something that is presumed to be safe.
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    Jun 12, 2011 9:38 PM GMT
    creature saidThere is a cost for everything. The power companies also have the option to let those costs eat up their profits instead of making the customers pay for it, but that is doubtful.

    I have no idea how you feel about regulations in general, but I'm sure you're satisfied that there have been regulations in place regarding the car you drive or the food you eat. Those regulations cost the companies money, but the end result is that you get something that is presumed to be safe.


    Yes but you also have to presume that there is a trade off. We will never be perfectly safe nor will anything be perfectly clean. So now we know what the cost will be - electricity that costs 60% more. That will also have costs on the living conditions of the poor. The question is whether or not the benefits are worth it.
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    Jun 12, 2011 9:40 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    creature saidI'm glad to see stricter environmental regulations are approaching.


    As long as you recognize that there is a cost to it - once again I see you're advocating policies making the poor poorer.


    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    You say this while being for preserviing billions in subsidies, write offs and tax shelters for the super rich and corporations.

    Your a young man, don't you want a cleaner world for your future, for your neices and nephews to come after you ? I've lived long enough to be able to recognize the difference in our world just in my lifetime, You aren't one of those conservs' who believe we cannot destroy our world because 'the bible tells us that God said he'd never destroy the world again, are you ?
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    Jun 12, 2011 9:40 PM GMT
    socalfitness said
    riddler78 said
    creature saidI'm glad to see stricter environmental regulations are approaching.

    As long as you recognize that there is a cost to it - once again I see you're advocating policies making the poor poorer.

    Will create additional expenses for businesses, which will keep unemployment up to record levels, but that's the dirty little secret.


    It's as if these people think money just grows on trees. That value is bestowed by workers who are never paid enough. And that you can just tax the rich to solve all your problems.

    Their policies reduce opportunities for the poor, making it more expensive for them to live all in their name. And then they wonder why they are increasingly unpopular that supposedly the poor are voting against their own interests.
  • creature

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    Jun 12, 2011 9:54 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    creature saidThere is a cost for everything. The power companies also have the option to let those costs eat up their profits instead of making the customers pay for it, but that is doubtful.

    I have no idea how you feel about regulations in general, but I'm sure you're satisfied that there have been regulations in place regarding the car you drive or the food you eat. Those regulations cost the companies money, but the end result is that you get something that is presumed to be safe.


    Yes but you also have to presume that there is a trade off. We will never be perfectly safe nor will anything be perfectly clean. So now we know what the cost will be - electricity that costs 60% more. That will also have costs on the living conditions of the poor. The question is whether or not the benefits are worth it.


    You're right about never being perfectly safe or clean, but nevertheless I would like to think you believe some regulation should be in place.

    The trade-off is lessening the chance of illnesses and death caused by the plants.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5174391/ns/us_news-environment/t/deadly-power-plants-study-fuels-debate/
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    Jun 12, 2011 10:12 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    socalfitness said
    riddler78 said
    creature saidI'm glad to see stricter environmental regulations are approaching.

    As long as you recognize that there is a cost to it - once again I see you're advocating policies making the poor poorer.

    Will create additional expenses for businesses, which will keep unemployment up to record levels, but that's the dirty little secret.


    It's as if these people think money just grows on trees. That value is bestowed by workers who are never paid enough. And that you can just tax the rich to solve all your problems.

    Their policies reduce opportunities for the poor, making it more expensive for them to live all in their name. And then they wonder why they are increasingly unpopular that supposedly the poor are voting against their own interests.

    They really don't mind if the cost of energy went up. The only reason they care about the gas prices is the direct impact on polls, otherwise they wouldn't care. They do think money grows on trees and you can tax businesses (i.e. the rich) into prosperity. There is another more insidious attitude among the far left. They see the amount of energy consumed by the US and the high standard of living and believe the US needs to be brought down a peg or two. The same attitude that agreed to exempt other large countries, China and India, from the Kyoto Accord, didn't mind if the US was effectively singled out for punishment.
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    Jun 13, 2011 12:22 AM GMT
    riddler78 said
    socalfitness said
    riddler78 said
    creature saidI'm glad to see stricter environmental regulations are approaching.

    As long as you recognize that there is a cost to it - once again I see you're advocating policies making the poor poorer.

    Will create additional expenses for businesses, which will keep unemployment up to record levels, but that's the dirty little secret.


    It's as if these people think money just grows on trees. That value is bestowed by workers who are never paid enough. And that you can just tax the rich to solve all your problems.

    Their policies reduce opportunities for the poor, making it more expensive for them to live all in their name. And then they wonder why they are increasingly unpopular that supposedly the poor are voting against their own interests.


    Actually, you seem to think that "money grows on trees" by "risk takers" who "create value", which is why you always want people to be paid less and advocate policies that will drive down the remuneration for labor (well, other people's labor).

    And, then you fear monger about the tiniest regulation and how it will impact the poor, who are in such dire straights because of the policies you support.

    It would be nice for you to not be such a stunning hypocrite all the time.
  • creature

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    Jun 13, 2011 12:41 AM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    creature said
    The trade-off is lessening the chance of illnesses and death caused by the plants.


    To take dozens of power plants offline (and that's what will be happening if the Obama EPA is allowed to continue passing laws disguised as regulations) without having a "clean" and "green" alternative to replace that capacity is idiotic and a deliberate attempt to sabotage the American economy.


    They don't have to seek alternatives. They can overhaul existing plants if they choose, but that won't happen for the older, smaller plants because of costs.

    However, equipment manufacturers will actually benefit from the regulations because they will be provided the power companies the equipment they need to be compliant.

    http://www2.goldmansachs.com/ideas/environment-and-energy/goldman-sachs/coal.pdf
  • creature

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    Jun 13, 2011 1:10 AM GMT
    And that's the government's fault? Not the ones who fail to comply and upkeep with the changes?
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    Jun 13, 2011 1:11 AM GMT
    We have to remember too that the power Co's don't want to invest in clean coal burning technotogy, so it is in their interest to say they'll have to take these power plants off line ,just to scare the public into backing them rather than the EPA. And don't tell me that you don't believe they'd do such a thing, because they certainly will.

    About 40 miles from where I live in Virginia a huge Coal Burning Electric Plant is a year into construction and around a thousand local people are being emplayed there for the next 5 years just in the construction phase. So at least this Company isn't afraid of EPA requirements.

    By the way, the Banking and .Wall Street gambling investments as well as the housing bubble, was the primary cause of our current situation where the poor have no work, This sudden whining about regulations causing the poor these problems is a ruse on your part at best.

    I'd bet that nowhere near 60% of our current power sources will be cut off, plus if the repubs are so worried about this then why are they moving quickly to defund programs and research for optional power sources. Methinks the repubs better rethink this rediculous stance and spend their time on job creation rather than cutting them.
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    Jun 13, 2011 2:20 AM GMT
    creature said
    southbeach1500 said
    creature said
    The trade-off is lessening the chance of illnesses and death caused by the plants.


    To take dozens of power plants offline (and that's what will be happening if the Obama EPA is allowed to continue passing laws disguised as regulations) without having a "clean" and "green" alternative to replace that capacity is idiotic and a deliberate attempt to sabotage the American economy.


    They don't have to seek alternatives. They can overhaul existing plants if they choose, but that won't happen for the older, smaller plants because of costs.

    However, equipment manufacturers will actually benefit from the regulations because they will be provided the power companies the equipment they need to be compliant.

    http://www2.goldmansachs.com/ideas/environment-and-energy/goldman-sachs/coal.pdf


    Yep - people who have great lobbyists like GE. Who loses out the most? The poor.
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    Jun 13, 2011 1:54 PM GMT
    More - "The EPA's War on Jobs" - where there are trade offs between jobs and the environment/aesthetics the Obama Administration has consistently chosen the environment/aesthetics despite often negligible/dubious benefits.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703818204576206662079202844.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_AboveLEFTTop

    President Obama's jobs council will make its first recommendations today on lifting hiring and strengthening the economy. Too bad the message doesn't seem to be reaching the Administration's regulators, in particular the Environmental Protection Agency.

    The EPA is currently conducting a campaign against coal-fired power and one of its most destructive weapons is a pending regulation to limit mercury and other hazardous air pollutants like dioxins or acid gases that power plants emit. The 946-page rule mandates that utilities install "maximum achievable control technology" under the Clean Air Act—and even by the EPA's lowball estimates, it is the most expensive rule in the agency's history.

    In 1990, Congress gave the EPA discretion to decide if mercury regulation is "necessary and appropriate," and the Clinton Administration did so in its final days. The Bush Administration created a modest mercury program, only to have it overturned by an appeals court on technical grounds in its final days. The case was still in litigation when Mr. Obama took office, and his appointees used the opening to strafe the power industry, proposing a much more stringent rule.

    The EPA issued the utility rule in March, with only 60 days for public comment. Basic administrative practice usually affords between 120 and 180 days, especially for complex or costly regulations of this scale. The proposal was obviously rushed, with numerous errors like overstating U.S. mercury emissions by a factor of 1,000. The word in Washington is that the openly politicized process unsettled even the EPA's career staff.

    The agency estimates that the utility rule will cost $10.9 billion annually but will yield as much as $140 billion in total health and environmental benefits. Sounds like a deal. But most of those alleged benefits are indirect—i.e., not from the mercury reductions that the rule is supposed to be for. Rather, they come from pollutants ("airborne particles") that the EPA already regulates under other parts of the Clean Air Act. A good analogy is a corporation double-counting revenue.

    According to the EPA's own numbers, every dollar in direct benefits costs $1,847. The reason is that electric generation—yes, even demon coal—results in negligible quantities of air pollutants like mercury. And mercury is on the decline: In 2005, the entire U.S. coal fleet emitted 26% less than the EPA predicted.
  • creature

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    Jun 13, 2011 10:17 PM GMT
    Southbeach,

    Do you know the difference between coal plans and nuclear power plants? Look it up.
  • tazzari

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    Jun 13, 2011 10:27 PM GMT
    "More - "The EPA's War on Jobs" - where there are trade offs between jobs and the environment/aesthetics the Obama Administration has consistently chosen the environment/aesthetics despite often negligible/dubious benefits. "

    One: calling it a "war on jobs" is counterproductive. it may or may not have a negative effect on jobs, but it is not a war intended to do so, and to call it that robs the discussion of validity, moving it into emotion.

    Two: I live in an area where the environment has been brutally and sadly ruined for quick profit, and yes, jobs. But future generations will have so much less that I did, and so many problems as a result. Is doing something about the long-term well-being of the environment really a "war on jobs"?

    What is missing in most of what we see going on is precisely serious, even difficult, long-term policy.
  • creature

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    Jun 13, 2011 11:06 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    creature saidSouthbeach,

    Do you know the difference between coal plans and nuclear power plants? Look it up.


    Yeah, and you can't put uranium into a coal plant. What's your point?


    My point is we are better off without coal plants. I'd rather have them gone than upgraded to meet regulations.
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    Jun 13, 2011 11:11 PM GMT
    creature said
    southbeach1500 said
    creature saidSouthbeach,

    Do you know the difference between coal plans and nuclear power plants? Look it up.


    Yeah, and you can't put uranium into a coal plant. What's your point?


    My point is we are better off without coal plants. I'd rather have them gone than upgraded to meet regulations.


    So long as you accept that the cost is electricity prices 40-60% higher - that harm the poor most of all.
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    Jun 13, 2011 11:57 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    tazzari said"More - "The EPA's War on Jobs" - where there are trade offs between jobs and the environment/aesthetics the Obama Administration has consistently chosen the environment/aesthetics despite often negligible/dubious benefits. "

    One: calling it a "war on jobs" is counterproductive. it may or may not have a negative effect on jobs, but it is not a war intended to do so, and to call it that robs the discussion of validity, moving it into emotion.

    Two: I live in an area where the environment has been brutally and sadly ruined for quick profit, and yes, jobs. But future generations will have so much less that I did, and so many problems as a result. Is doing something about the long-term well-being of the environment really a "war on jobs"?

    What is missing in most of what we see going on is precisely serious, even difficult, long-term policy.


    It is the belief of a few on here that the Obama administration wants to completely transform our economy and our society into a top-down centralized government controlled nation.

    We've seen it with Obamacare (sorry, but that's the colloquial term for it) where the government, for the first time in our history, is requiring citizens to purchase a good or service from a private entity under penalty of law.

    We've seen it with the offshore drilling moratorium which punished thousands of offshore rig operators who were drilling safely and with unblemished records and which had the effect of ruining the economy in the Gulf coast region as it has had a serious effect not only on the drillers but the hundreds of thousands of people who provide support services.

    We're now seeing it with the EPA which is "legislating via regulation" with such stringent new emissions regulations that electric companies have no other choice but to shut down coal fired electric plants, and this too has a ripple effect throughout the economy in terms of coal miners, the people who transport the coal, the local businesses that cater to the workers in those plants that will be shuttered and companies (and consumers) who depend on affordable electricity.

    So yes, it does at the very least have the "appearance" of an administration that is waging a war on jobs.


    As usual, you post wild conspiracy theories that would make Alex Jones blush without a shred of evidence. icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Jun 14, 2011 12:01 AM GMT
    tazzari said"More - "The EPA's War on Jobs" - where there are trade offs between jobs and the environment/aesthetics the Obama Administration has consistently chosen the environment/aesthetics despite often negligible/dubious benefits. "

    One: calling it a "war on jobs" is counterproductive. it may or may not have a negative effect on jobs, but it is not a war intended to do so, and to call it that robs the discussion of validity, moving it into emotion.

    Two: I live in an area where the environment has been brutally and sadly ruined for quick profit, and yes, jobs. But future generations will have so much less that I did, and so many problems as a result. Is doing something about the long-term well-being of the environment really a "war on jobs"?

    What is missing in most of what we see going on is precisely serious, even difficult, long-term policy.


    Saw your link elsewhere and concern about the verbiage. The wording is incendiary - and not my own though I agree with the underlying point given the slow jobs recovery that the current US Administration is not interested in jobs and more in pandering to their special interests.

    The problem with much of resource development - especially in areas of forestry for instance is that there is no associated ownership or price associated with the environment. As a result, the land is often undervalued or devalued and allowed to be "raped". e.g. http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1970173,00.html. Compare this to some places like Germany where forests are managed as a long term resource by private firms and "farmed".

    Because the US government grants or denies permits based on political whims, is it not surprising that they are exposed to political accusations of how they make trade offs? In the case of coal, instead of pushing for reasonable restrictions or scrubbing equipment, they have deliberately make regulations so onerous that plants must close. The irony is that this is entirely unnecessary given that coal plants are already being shut down in favor of natural gas plants that are now economical because of the advent of cheap shale gas. These coal plants are therefore being closed prematurely forcing up electricity prices dramatically for consumers. What's the specific benefit now that we know the specific costs?
  • creature

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    Jun 14, 2011 12:05 AM GMT
    You want a specific benefit? How about healthier, longer-living citizens? How about less emissions?

    Think of the temporary increase in costs as a form of health insurance.
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    Jun 14, 2011 12:07 AM GMT
    creature saidYou want a specific benefit? How about healthier, longer-living citizens?


    Based on the _change_ in regulations? You do realize of course that not all coal is created the same and there are already substantial regulations on coal plants? Do you have any reference points/links based on the cost benefit of the _change_ in regulations that is causing the shut down of these plants?
  • creature

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    Jun 14, 2011 12:17 AM GMT
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5174391/ns/us_news-environment/t/deadly-power-plants-study-fuels-debate/

    I posted this link earlier. Although it's not talking about these specific regulations, it deals with coal-powered plants.

    Even with stringent regulations, that doesn't mean whatever is being regulated is any good. We should be moving away from such harmful materials and move closer to cleaner production. It is not the EPA's fault that these companies were stubborn to change when the national movement for the concern of the environment pushed for stricter regulations throughout their plants' existence.

    It would have been a smart move for them to seek alternative fuel services long ago. Instead these companies are being stubborn because coal is the foundation of their wealth and they intend to stick with it until there is none left.

    And believe me, I'm aware of the regulations for coal plants and nuclear power plants.