Full Title: Virginia: Clean Power, Clear Savings The EPA Clean Power Plan Will Cut Virginia Electricity Bills
Author(s): Public Citizen
Publisher(s): Public Citizen
Publication Date: July 1, 2015
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This summer, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expects to finalize its first-ever rule to curb carbon pollution from existing power plants, known as the Clean Power Plan.1 This report finds that the EPA rule should lower Virginia electricity bills substantially, and that the state can and should do even better.
Detractors often argue that EPA proposal will raise electricity rates. That claim focuses on the wrong question from the standpoint of electricity customers. For a consumer or business focused on costs, the key question is what effect the Clean Power Plan will have on what they actually pay, which means electricity bills. Although the EPA projects that the retail price of electricity will rise modestly under the Clean Power Plan compared to a business-as-usual scenario, it also expects the rule to spur improvements in energy efficiency so that people use less electricity. The net result is that electricity bills will fall, not rise.
The EPA estimates that, in addition to mitigating climate change and boosting public health, the proposed Clean Power Plan will lower electricity bills nationwide by 8.4 percent by 2030 compared to a business-as-usual scenario. The agency did not conduct a state-by-state analysis of bill impacts. For this report, Public Citizen analyzed data from the EPA and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) to project the Clean Power Plan’s effect on electricity bills in Virginia. We find that by 2030, electricity bills will be 7.7 to 8.4 percent lower under the Clean Power Plan, saving the average Virginia household $135 to $147 annually. Moreover, these numbers are likely underestimates. Virginia can and should do even better. The Clean Power Plan presents a great opportunity not just to fight climate change, but to lower electricity costs for consumers.