School’s out, vacations are under way, and the heat of summer seems as if it will never end. This is also the time of year when some pretty important folks return home for a visit. Members of Congress, such as Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint and Representative Henry Brown will be traveling throughout our area and state, asking for your thoughts on various pieces of legislation being considered in our nation’s capital.
One major concern for electric co-ops—energy and climate change policy—has returned to the front burner. Legislation on this subject was introduced in the U.S. Senate in April, and co-ops across the country are studying it to see what it might mean for your electric bill.
At the same time, unelected bureaucrats at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are moving ahead with efforts to regulate emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from power plants using the federal Clean Air Act―something the law was never designed to do. One of the main authors of the Clean Air Act, U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), has warned that applying the measure to establish federal oversight of carbon dioxide―which goes against the original intent of Congress―will result in a “glorious mess.”
It’s too early to know for sure if Congress will take up this issue—very few legislative days are still scheduled for this session. But know this: those of us at Horry Electric, along with more than 900 electric co-ops across the country, are reminding lawmakers that whatever they do, we will judge their action or inaction on whether or not your electric bills remain affordable.
The bottom line is that any decision made by Congress—even the decision of taking no action and allowing EPA to proceed on its regulatory path—will have some impact on your electric bills. And this impact comes on top of other pressures—increased fuel and material costs and higher demand for electricity, to name a few—that are forcing electric bills higher. Rest assured that your local co-op leadership—trustees and staff— are doing what we can keep these cost increases constrained.
But we need your help. During the congressional break this summer, we urge you to talk to your U.S. representative and senators about your electric bill. Make sure they understand what higher bills will do to your family’s budget. Every penny counts, especially at a time when our economy has been hit so hard.
More than 526,000 folks across rural America have already let their members of Congress know where they stand on energy and climate change legislation through the Our Energy, Our Future® grassroots campaign. These voices have formed a powerful chorus on the need for keeping electric bills affordable as debate on the issue unfolds. If you haven’t done so, please consider adding your voice to this national dialogue at www.ourenergy.coop.