Coal Rules Blamed for Power Rate Hikes

Power rates will rise.  That’s the bottom line of testimony in Frankfort on the costs of meeting new federal environmental standards for coal-fired utilities in Kentucky.  Representatives of several coal-fired utilities in Kentucky say meeting federal clean air standards already in the pipeline will require investments of billions of dollars.  John Voyles of LG&E and KU says their capital costs could rise by four billion dollars over the next ten years

This does not deal with the water rules.  It does not deal with renewable portfolio standards of any kind.  And it certainly does not deal with any climate change rules that might still be legislated in the future,” said Voyles.

Voyles, and representatives of Big Rivers, East Kentucky Power Cooperative, Kentucky Power and Duke Energy all say significant utility rate increases in coming years will be necessary for them to comply with new federal environmental standards.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Kentucky House Natural Resources and Environment Committee is lashing out at new federal clean air standards.  Rep. Jim Gooch of Providence says the Environmental Protection Agency has declared war on Kentucky coal. 

“What they’re really doing is – if they don’t like the types of utilities that we use, then they can continue to change the rules until they just put us out of business.  And that’s what they seem to be trying to do here,” said Gooch.

Gooch was reacting to testimony from representatives of coal-fired utilities in Kentucky, who say significant rate increases will be needed in coming years to meet federal clean air standards.  Compliance dates for various environmental regulations range from 2012 to 2017.