Use Less - Pay Less

Dr. Luis Contreras

October 6, 2014

 

The climate has changed. Gradual changes over many years are easy to ignore. We were not paying attention and some did not want to hear the warning signs. Like the story of the frog placed in a pot filled with cool water on a stove, slowly heating the water the frog swims happily while the water gets warm until the water boils, too late to jump out of the pot. We don’t have the option to jump, but we can use less energy to reduce carbon dioxide pollution from coal-fired power plants.

 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) using the Clean Air Act section 111d, proposed carbon dioxide pollution reduction for coal-fired power plants by 2030. The coal industry opposes change.

 

Good news: We have control over the amount of energy we use. There are many simple low cost changes you can make to use less and pay less. We can send public comments to EPA in support of the Clean Power Plan, and cast our vote in the upcoming elections.

 

Bad news: Arkansas generates 30 percent more than the energy demand for Arkansas, with SWEPCO coal-fired power plant exports to Texas and Louisiana. The EPA target is to reduce carbon dioxide pollution 45% by 2013. Eliminating SWEPCO coal power exports is a logical solution; only AEP shareholders benefit, Arkansas gets polluted.

 

What can you do to use less energy?

SWEPCO and Carroll Electric offer free Energy Audits. SWEPCO has a $300 rebate for energy efficiency improvements. Please call today, or visit their website. Additional energy efficiency information is available at EPA ENERGY STAR, www.energystar.gov

 

Here are some quick ideas to pay less:

  • Turn off the lights you don’t need.

  • Change the temperature setting of your thermostat when you leave your house.

  • Save over $200 per year on heating and cooling. Check for signs of air leakage around windows and doors. Use caulk and weather-stripping to seal leaks. Replace your HVAC air filters every three months to improve airflow.

  • Stay healthy this winter and save time and money. Consider HVAC air filters electrostatically charged to attract and capture microscopic allergens like pollen, mold spores, and pet dander.

  • Save $180 per year on lights. How many incandescent light bulbs do you have? Replace them with LED light bulbs, using 80 percent less energy and lasting 25 times longer.

 

Arkansas utilities oppose EPA

To maintain control over energy prices and energy generation, Arkansas utilities oppose EPA pollution standards. Using lobbyists and media they are setting the stage for higher electric rates, replacing coal with natural gas, excluding solar local generation as part of the mix. SWEPCO plans to increase electric bills to recover the cost of natural gas. The Arkansas Electric Cooperatives (AECC) Arkansas Living Magazine editorials tell members to oppose EPA carbon dioxide emissions. Otherwise, rates will be increased by 20 to 40%, “which could lead to illness and death among the elderly.”

 

Coming Clean

The clock is running; there is no time for denials, delays or deceptions. We need to face the facts and be part of the solution.

Unlike distribution cooperatives serving homes and businesses, the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas (AECC) is a power generation and transmission utility, supplying wholesale electricity to most Arkansas distribution cooperatives. AECC owns four coal-fired power plants: 50 percent of the SWEPCO Flint Creek power plant, 12 percent of the SWEPCO Turk plant, and is part owner of two other coal-fired plants.

 

AECC wants to protect their coal investments, which explains their fierce opposition to the new EPA carbon dioxide reduction rules. After years of monthly stories by Carmie Henry, AECC Vice President of Governmental Affairs, endorsing SWEPCO and claiming carbon dioxide is good for the environment. Top AECC and SPP executives are using Arkansas Living to oppose EPA with false editorials stating:

  • EPA will raise electric rates

  • Companies will move overseas

  • Arkansans will loose many jobs

  • EPA will dismantle America's electric system

  • EPA threatens grid reliability

  • Solar PV local, community, and utility systems are unaffordable

 

Take action today

Energy policy proposed by EPA needs your support. Your voice counts, this is a numbers game. The coal industry is spending millions of dollars with professional media and lobbyists trying to create fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Please talk with your friends and family and send personal comments supporting EPA carbon reduction pollution standards: http://tinyurl.com/NoCO2