An article in the Atlanta Business Chronicle reports that Georgia ranks fourth in the country for high energy costs. Electric power rates for Georgia Power customers must be approved by the state’s Public Service Commission. Customers have an opportunity to share their ideas and concerns with the Commission before rates are set. The Commission also approves Power Purchase Agreements for Georgia Southern. Members of Washington EMC (and the majority of EMCS in our state) are not allowed to comment on power rates before they are set. If co-op member/owners raise objections to the rates they only place to voice those is with the EMC Boar which set the rates. The Public Service Commission has no oversight on our power bills. The Washington EMC Board does not require competitive bids for Power Purchase Contracts even though those contracts can span 15-30 years.“The Most Costly Thing We Can Do Is Nothing” June 2, 2014 Environmental Protection Agency Director Gina McCarthy announced proposed rules to reduce carbon pollution in the United States by 30 percent in 2030, saying, “The most costly thing we can do is nothing.” McCathy pointed out that 1 in 10 children have asthma, and reducing carbon emissions we will improve the health of our nation’s children. The proposed rules are built on comments sent in from industries, business owners, and thousands of citizens. The rules will require states to “chart their path” to reducing carbon emissioins by 30 percent, based on 2005 emissions. That level is equivalent to eliminating 2/3 of the current car and truck emissions, and is twice the amount of carbon released by coal plants in 2012. McCarthy went on to note that states can work together, as some are already, or create new partnerships to meet the proposed levels. She said “the plan doesn’t prescribe, it propels a mix and match” design created by the states. She added this plan will allow entrepeneurs and investors more options to be involved in the future of power generation of our country. McCarthy said, “Our clean energy revolution is already unfolding in front of us.” To those who say energy bills will soar as a result of reigning in carbon emissions, the EPA Director said, “They are wrong. I’ll say it again, they are wrong.” Electric co-ops were recognized during today’s announcement. McCarthy said that many are already investing in and using renewable energy resources to better serve their customers. McCarthy said “You know who you are.” Under the proposed rules the average power bill will go down eight percent (8%) by 2030. She said skeptics will use “the sky is falling” in response to the new rules, adding that many will point to the polar vortex as a reason not to act. Jobs will be created across the country in all types of energy production and related fields, jobs that “can’t be shipped overseas,” McCarthy said. “We are making a downpayment on a more efficient energy system.” The EPA will hold public comment sessions across the country in the coming weeks. There will be a session in Atlanta on July 29. You may comment in writing now. FACE will be making plans and sharing them here and on our Facebook page about how you can attend the July 29 comment session, share your concerns, and help protect the health and pocketbooks of our community from Plant Washington and other carbon polluters.