Rising costs in electric consumption and retail cost to produce are set to see a near 4.8% rise in household bills this summer. Depending on which side of the debate you fall on this is either an unnecessary consequence of President Obama’s energy policy, or an essential compromise to help check the rise in carbon emissions that will, in time, lead to an overall drop in electricity costs. Both sides of the debate make compelling arguments, but certainly in the short term the simple fact seems to be that if we continue to use more power, it has to be generated somewhere – and that costs money.
Let’s start with a look at current policy. EPA regulations have removed tens of thousands of kilowatts that were previously been generated by coal fired plants out of circulation. On top of this, and clearly because this power needs to be replaced from somewhere, new plants are needing to be constructed that operate to cleaner standards and use other sources of generation. Building new plants is naturally a very expensive investment – especially in newer technologies – so in a nutshell the combination of these two factors is thought to be the root cause for higher domestic bills.
All this might seem well and good, yet it ignores the fact that coal remains more expensive (by around a third) than gas, that has seen a tremendous rise in production in recent years. So once new gas plants are constructed and operational, prices should be expected to fall again – but this will take comfortably over a decade by current estimates.
It’s worthwhile pointing out an important caveat here before we look at the baseline figures. In recent years bills have remained pretty much constant, as the climate has overall been very stable and predictable. Air conditioning uses a lot of power and with this summer being especially warm, this years rise in prices may simply be a blip.
Plus it’s worth also acknowledging that the EPA have been pretty straight-up with an expected rise in the short term price of electricity – with long term savings to be made both to the environment and ultimately the average household budget. This has met much criticism from the fossil fuel sector, most vocally from the American Coalition for Clean Coal Energy who naturally say that it is too difficult to predict price trends a decade and a half into the future, and perhaps most pertinently that if electricity consumption continues to rise then coal will simply be essential as a part of a meeting this need.
Perhaps it’ll be best to return to this topic after another couple of years and see how prices and usage have been over the recent summers as it’s too difficult to attribute prominence one way or another to climate as a stand-alone year.
But I think now would be the best time to look for solutions to find cheap, alternative and renewable energy. The first recommendation would be to How to Find the Renewable Energy Solution that Fits You, second recommendation is Choosing the Right Batteries for a solar power system, third recommendation is The Components of Solar Power System, or you could implement 30 Tips to Lower Your Electricity Bill or 7 Steps to Cut Your Energy Bill. Those are my recommendations for a home owner who does not want a heart attack when receives the electricity bill. Put these recommendations and tips in practice ASAP and soon you will start getting better results from your investment in energy. The longer you stay committed to these rules, the more money you will save. Stay green!