Date:  March 11, 2015

Co-ops Renew Reliability Concerns at FERC Conference

 (ARLINGTON, VA) — James Frauen, vice president of technical services and development at Seminole Electric Cooperative in Tampa, Florida, represented electric cooperatives and raised serious reliability concerns about the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Clean Power Plan (CPP) at today’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) regional technical conference in Washington, D.C. His full remarks submitted for the record are available at http://1.usa.gov/1AdMkRI.

“The EPA’s proposed CPP fails to recognize the critical importance of fuel diversity to Florida. It would require more than 90 percent of Florida’s coal-fired generation to shut down, including Seminole’s 1,300 megawatt plant that generates more than 50 percent of the energy we provide to our members.

“All natural gas consumed in Florida is produced outside of the state and the pipeline capacity is severely limited. A substantial amount of coal-fired electric generation must remain in Florida to ensure some level of fuel diversity and the resulting reliability benefits. To remove more than 90 percent of coal capacity from Florida would have the state relying solely on ‘just in time’ inventory for nearly all of its fuel supply, with reliability consequences for any disruptions in the supply chain.

“Shutting down Seminole’s plant prematurely also would leave 1.4 million consumer members and businesses with the financial burden for a plant with nearly 30 years of remaining life. We’ve been proactively updating and upgrading to meet previous requirements and have invested more than $530 million, including more than $260 million in the past nine years, for environmental regulations.

“As a not-for-profit utility, our members and the folks at the end of the line will bear the brunt of any and all expenses. Unfortunately, many already cannot afford it. Based on a 2011 survey, residential consumers served by our member cooperatives are predominantly rural and approximately one-third have household incomes below the poverty level. More than 75 percent have household incomes less than $75,000. Any change in rates as a result of the proposed rule will impact them disproportionately.”

Jo Ann Emerson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), echoed Frauen’s concerns, “EPA’s scheme is just plain unfair to Florida and other states that will be faced with serious reliability and affordability impacts. Florida’s two natural gas pipelines are at near capacity and ditto for the one in the planning stages. Compounding this challenge, the CPP will prematurely retire 8,700 megawatts of generation in the state. That’s the equivalent of 4.35 million homes. So it’s critical to ask, where will the power come from for Floridians and how much will it cost, especially for those who least can afford it?”

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.

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Senate Committee Rightly Focuses on State Concerns about Clean Power Plan

 (ARLINGTON, VA) — National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) CEO Jo Ann Emerson welcomed a hearing by the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works focusing on state perspectives of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan (CPP).

“It’s critical to hear directly from the states about the potential impact of this proposed rule. EPA said the states will have great flexibility in crafting a plan, but one glance at Florida seriously questions that claim.

“As noted in comments from Seminole Electric Cooperative given today, just down the street at the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission’s regional technical conference, 8,700 megawatts of generation will be forced to retire prematurely in Florida – including Seminole’s 1,300 megawatt plant that generates more than 50 percent of its energy needs.

“What impact will these closures have on reliability, especially when the state’s natural gas pipelines are at near capacity? 8,700 megawatts is the equivalent to 4.35 million homes – places people need electricity to live. What will replace that power, how much will it cost and who will pay for it?

“Regulations set in Washington have serious consequences for the people at the end of the line – and they deserve answers to these questions and many more. We appreciate Chairman Inhofe and the Senate soliciting input from the states.”

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.

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