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Utilities need time to comply with EPA regulations

To the editor:

ALP Utilities is committed to doing its part to reduce emissions. For example, ALP already purchases 35 percent of its power from Western Area Power Administration. Western markets and transmits about 10,000 megawatts from 56 hydropower plants on the Missouri River.

The remaining 65 percent is purchased from Missouri River Energy Services (MRES). They are a joint action agency of 60 municipal electric utilities. On August 13, MRES broke ground on The Red Rock Hydroelectric Project. This facility further expands on MRES’s commitment to clean, renewable resources. It’s licensed at 36.4 megawatts of electricity, or enough energy to meet the needs of 18,000 homes.

The production of new renewable clean energy sources is not always the best decision economically. ALP’s wholesale cost associated with purchasing power form the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project is estimated to be 16 cents per kilowatt hour. ALP Utilities’ current retail rate to its customers is 9 cents per kilowatt hour. The reality is that consumers can expect to see an increase in electric rates from these regulations.

We as consumers should be concerned with an overzealous Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent proposal to regulate emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired power plants. The proposal does not recognize the actions that have already been undertaken, like those mentioned above, to reduce emissions before 2012. The proposal tries to do too much, too fast. The emission reductions are “front loaded,” requiring most of the reductions by 2020.

As a not-for-profit and community-owned utility, ALP Utilities works hard every day to provide affordable and reliable electricity, with appropriate environmental stewardship, to their customers.

I urge the EPA to recognize the early leadership that has been shown in reducing emissions and to give utilities adequate time to comply with the regulations in a manner that will not cause prices to spike or threaten the reliability of their service.