Association Says Costs Simply Not Bearable for West Virginia Families

CHARLESTON — The EPA’s continued assault on coal and coal-fired power plants comes with a huge cost to consumers. According to a recently released study, the resulting shift to using more natural gas will likely cost the average family an additional $750 to $850 per year for energy use in 2020 compared to what they paid in 2012.

The study, “Energy Market Impacts of Recent Federal Regulations on the Electric Power Sector,” factors in the EPA’s proposed carbon rule and other regulations, along with the expected doubling in price of wholesale natural gas in coming years. The yearly energy cost for the average Ohioan would go from $2,022 in 2012 to $2,874 in 2020, a 42 percent increase, the study projects. For West Virginians, the yearly energy cost would go from $1,960 in 2012 to $2,710 in 2020, a 38 percent increase, the study projects. Meanwhile, nationwide, consumers and businesses would see the cost of electricity and natural gas increase by nearly $300 billion in 2020 compared with 2012.  The industrial sector will be hard hit with total electricity and natural gas cost for the sector approaching $200 billion in 2020, almost double the cost from 2012. This would stifle industrial growth and lead to higher prices for any goods produced using electricity. Overall, the study projects a $177 billion increase in electricity costs and a $107 billion increase in natural gas costs in 2020 compared with 2012 when the cumulative effects of EPA regulations and energy market impacts are analyzed.

“These costs are simply not bearable by West Virginia families and businesses, that have already seen the loss of tens of thousands of jobs and literally hundreds of millions of dollars to the state’s economy,” said Chris Hamilton, senior vice president of the West Virginia Coal Association. “We have warned about this ‘perfect storm’ for the past six years. Now the storm is no longer out there over the horizon. It is hitting us now. And it isn’t just hitting us. This storm will impact the entire country and the result will be more lasting and more catastrophic than any hurricane.”

Seth Schwartz, president of Energy Ventures Analysis, said the analysis is the first to fully examine the combined economic impacts of the EPA’s long list of proposed and finalized regulations on the electric power industry, including the MACT standards and other components of the EPA’s ongoing assault on coal-fired power generation.  Schwartz said the regulations and the EPA’s assertions that states could meet their requirements are based on flawed assumptions.

“For example, existing coal-fueled generating facilities are already operating at very efficient levels and, collectively, will not be able to achieve an additional 6-percent heat rate improvement.” Schwartz said.

Arlington, Va.-based Energy Venture Analysis Inc. performed the study.

The West Virginia Coal Association is a trade association based in Charleston, West Virginia. It represents approximately 95 percent of the state’s coal production. Founded in 1915, the West Virginia Coal Association is the largest state coal association in the nation.