War on coal yields predictable results

The federal government is predicting that consumers will spend nearly 5% more on electricity this summer than they did last summer, thanks to new EPA regs that are forcing electric companies to take hundreds of thousands of megawatts offline that are generated by coal-fired electric plants.

Washington Times:

On average, Americans will spend nearly 4.8 percent more on electricity this summer than they did last year, according to a report from the Energy Information Administration. The increase will come from a 2.6 percent increase in electricity use and a 2.1 increase in the average price of retail electricity, the agency said.

Consumers are receiving the dim news as utilities take tens of thousands of megawatts of coal-generated power offline to comply with a host of EPA regulations and because of the sharp increase in cheap, domestic natural gas. Regulations such as the EPA’s mercury and air toxic standards already are having an effect on the power sector, utilities and analysts say, and the  impact will be greater after the agency releases further limits on carbon emissions from power plants this summer.

Coal-fired facilities emit higher levels of carbon than those burning natural gas, though coal remains cheaper. The Energy Information Administration says coal power this year will cost $2.30 per million British thermal units compared with $3.86 for natural gas.

Still, EPA officials deny their regulations will carry negative consequences for consumers. In fact, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy argued last week that average Americans ultimately will see lower electric bills as a result of Mr. Obama’s climate change agenda.

But analysts  and Energy Information Administration research suggest the opposite, at least for the next decade.

Whom is the EPA trying to fool?  You remove a source of energy that generates about 18% of all electricity in the U.S., and utility prices will go down?  What matchbook cover did they use to find the economics school they attended? 

EPA’s claim that its regulation will lower electricity bills is misleading,” Mr. Fisher said. “In reality, electricity rates will skyrocket under the proposed rule. The only way power bills will go down is if EPA succeeds in making Americans use substantially less electricity than we currently do. It’s like telling people that their grocery bill will go down if they’re forced to stop buying the food they need to feed their family.”

Last month, the EIA released data showing that the administration’s carbon rules for existing power plants — known as the Clean Power Plan — will result in a spike in electricity prices. From 2020 to 2025, the EIA said, prices will be 3 percent to 7 percent higher as a result of the plan, though the agency does predict prices in many parts of the country to drop by 2030.

Fisher's grocery store analogy is spot-on.  But that's their goal, isn't it?  Get Americans to use less electricity.  The spike in electric bills will simply make Americans poorer and become a drag on the economy.  But I guess those consequences pale in comparison to the massive threat of global warming.  Or something.