Sherrod Brown voted to make Ohio electricity prices skyrocket

Last month Sherrod Brown had an opportunity to stop an outrageous regulatory power grab that is shutting down coal plants in Ohio and driving up electricity prices.  Unfortunately, he voted against a resolution that would have protected Ohio ratepayers.  Read on for the full story.

Last month Sherrod Brown had an opportunity to stop an outrageous regulatory power grab that is shutting down coal plants in Ohio and driving up electricity prices.  Unfortunately, he voted against a resolution that would have protected Ohio ratepayers.

In 2008, Barack Obama explained his energy policy:

“Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad... So, if somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can - it’s just that it will bankrupt them.”

That plan was utterly repudiated by the American people. Speaker Nancy Pelosi was able to narrowly grease it through the House with hundreds of pages of corrupt special-interest provisions, but the Senate refused to even bring it up for a vote. Dozens of House Democrats who voted for it were turned out of office largely because of that vote.

Yet the day after the 2010 election, Mr. Obama said:

“Cap and trade was just one way of skinning the cat; it was not the only way. It was a means, not an end.”

His new preferred means toward the end of skyrocketing electricity prices is officially known as the “Mercury and Air Toxics Standards,” but is better known as Utility MACT, because it requires the “Maximum Achievable Control Technology” for mercury at coal-fired power plants -- even though there has never been a documented case of an adverse helath consequence from power plant mercury emissions, which are only 0.5 percent of mercury in the air.  The principal impact of the rule is mass forced-retirement of coal plants and higher electricity prices.

Sherrod Brown voted to let this disastrous rule stand and is now responsible for the consequences, which Hal Quinn explained in the Cleveland Plain-Dealer:

Ohio households and businesses learned recently the price they will pay for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency being wrong: Electric bills will skyrocket as EPA regulations take down many more power plants than the agency predicted.

The PJM Interconnection conducts an annual auction to secure advance commitments for sufficient electricity capacity to meet the needs of a 13-state region that includes Ohio. The results are in, and they point to a stunning hike in electricity bills. The price of securing sufficient capacity will jump from the current $16 per megawatt-day to $136 in 2015. In northern Ohio, the price increase will be a household budget-busting $357. According to PJM, prices are increasing because of the unprecedented retirement of existing coal-fired generating plants resulting from EPA regulations that take effect in 2015.

Utility executives agree the prices increases nationally are going to be signficant.  This is from CNN:

Rising utility bills: Over 90% of the executives surveyed believe that rules requiring the use of more renewable energy and a cut in pollution from coal-fired power plants will lead to higher monthly utility bills for consumers. Over half said these bills will rise significantly.

An updated study from the Institute for Energy Research (IER), a leading think tank, found that Ohio and Michigan are the hardest hit states in the country:

Michigan and Ohio Hit Worst By Recent Announcements. In our recent analysis, the vast majority of new announced retirements will occur in Michigan and Ohio. Operators in Michigan have announced more than 1 GW of closures due to EPA regulations. Michigan, already reeling from record high unemployment, has warned that further closures due to the regulations could threaten reliability in both the Upper and Lower Peninsulas. The situation is even worse in Ohio, which is now facing 6 GW of closures, the most in the entire country.

The IER report goes on to note that Northern Ohio will be hit even harder than the rest of the state.  North Ohio faces the biggest price jump in the country as a consequence of Sherrod Brown's vote:

Northern Ohio Expected to See Disproportionally High Electricity Prices. Financial analysts now expect prices to increase even higher in northern Ohio due to recent power-plant closures caused by Utility MACT. UBS projects future capacity prices in this May’s Future Capacity Auction for 2015/2016 will increase at least 60 percent in northern Ohio. According to UBS, this increase is due to significant transmission congestion caused by recently announced Utility MACT-related power-plant closures. Deutsch Bank has said that prices could increase by as much as 300 percent. Ratepayers in northern Ohio are paying a high price for EPA’s regulatory agenda.

Skyrocket, indeed.

Tell Sherrod Brown to stop voting for higher electricity prices here!