Over the past few years, your Cooperative has been informing you of pending legislation and new environmental regulations that if enacted would significantly increase the cost of generating electricity and therefore increase your electric rates.
Last summer, the EPA released the final version of a new regulation titled the "Cross-State Air Pollution Rule" (CSAPR) which was scheduled to be implemented in January 2012. CSAPR requires coal-fired generation facilities to reduce their emissions levels to such a low level that many coal-fired generation facilities cannot comply with the new regulations and will be forced to either purchase emissions credits, install more emissions controls equipment or shut the generation units down.
After the EPA released the final version of CSAPR last year, some forty-five petitioners in 27 states, including companies, industry groups and states, filed motions asking the court to stay the rule pending review. In their motions, petitioners listed unrealistic compliance deadlines, generation plant shutdowns, higher energy prices and reliability concerns. On December 30, 2011, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued an order staying CSAPR pending the resolution of an appeal of the rule. The court ordered the EPA to continue administering the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) of 2005 during the appeal process of CSAPR. The court also ordered all involved parties to submit briefing schedules that would allow the appeals to be heard by April 2012.
There is no way to predict exactly when the court will issue a final decision regarding CSAPR. Many believe that the court may issue a final decision as early as this summer however, some predict the court's decision could likely lead to required modifications to CSAPR that could take up to a few years to complete.
Another new EPA regulation titled "Mercury and Air Toxics Standard" (MATS) was signed on December 16, 2011. This new rule also targets coal and oil-fired electric generation facilities. The new MATS rule is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on February 16, 2012. All generation plants must comply with this new rule within three years of the final regulation date. At this time, it is premature to predict what impact this new rule will have on your Cooperative and your electric rates.
Your Cooperative is concerned about the costs associated with these new regulations and is currently evaluating the impact these regulations will have on you, as Cooperative members, and determining new ways to keep your electric rates as reasonable as possible. Your Cooperative will continue to update you regarding the status of these new regulations as they develop in the near future. Your Cooperative strives to provide you, as Cooperative members, with a reliable, cost-effective and environmentally responsible energy supply.
See you next month and as always, "We'll keep the lights on for you."
SouthEastern Illinois Electric Cooperative 2007. All rights reserved.