New England energy prices ‘skyrocketing’

We have all heard the quotes and predictions before, as elected officials plainly stated that under their plans to restrict carbon-based forms of energy, electricity prices would “necessarily skyrocket.”

As this mid-December NY Times article clearly shows, New Englanders are now dealing with the results of those misguided, anti-energy policies, with some residents of the area seeing their monthly energy bills exploding by 110%. The article also relayed warnings from the New England ISO stating that “pipeline constraints (are) severe and … the reliability of the system would ‘continue to be threatened’ ” through the winter.

In response, New Englanders are being forced to cut their energy use, cut employee’s hours, hold off on hiring additional employees, and are described as considering layoffs.

For October, he had paid $376. For November, with virtually no change in his volume of work and without having turned up the thermostat in his two-room shop, his bill came to $788, a staggering increase of 110 percent. “This is insane,” he said, shaking his head. “We can’t go on like this.”

For months, utility companies across New England have been warning customers to expect sharp price increases, for which the companies blame the continuing shortage of pipeline capacity to bring natural gas to the region.

Now that the higher bills are starting to arrive, many stunned customers are finding the sticker shock much worse than they imagined. Mr. York said he would have to reduce his hours, avoid hiring any new employees, cut other expenses and ultimately pass the cost on to his customers. …

In September, residential customers in New England paid an average retail price of 17.67 cents per kilowatt-hour; the national average was 12.94 cents. …

Connecticut’s rate of 19.74 cents per kilowatt-hour for September was the highest in the continental United States and twice that of energy-rich states like West Virginia and Louisiana.

The article primarily blames the price increases on a lack of natural gas pipeline capacity, which should be enough of a concern. However, near the end of the lengthy piece, they also admit the fact that EPA regulations are continuing to force the closure of coal-fueled power plants around the nation and mandating the use of less reliable and far more expensive renewable energy.

The article goes on to describe how residents have been forced to rely on ever-expanding government programs, charity, and subsidies to make it through the winter months without going broke. This is hardly a recipe for success and progress and must have our international competitors laughing all the way to the bank.

Adding to the insanity is the fact that extreme environmental groups and special interests in the region continue to present “ferocious opposition” (as the article describes it) to any other developments which would expand energy production and help to reduce energy prices. Those groups also (amazingly) continue to push area residents to become even more “aggressive in pursuing renewables” in the face of increasing prices and reduced reliability.

What the article’s author must know, but appears unwilling to admit is that the simplest way to address this issue is to allow the use of our nation’s most abundant, reliable, and increasingly clean fossil fuel resource – coal.

02. January 2015 by Jason Hayes
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