RALEIGH — The “concept” announced today by Gov. Mike Easley and legislative leaders for the proposed Clean Smokestacks Bill would effectively impose hundreds of millions of dollars a year in higher electric rates on consumers, according to a preliminary analysis by the John Locke Foundation.
At a press conference today, Easley and other officials said that utilities operating the coal-fired power plants impacted by the legislation would be allowed to write off the compliance costs using accelerated depreciation.
Locke Vice President for Research Roy Cordato observed that while the concept envisions a five-year freeze on electric rates, the increased cost-basis suggests that rates would decrease without the new regulations.
“The $2.5 billion in compliance costs over the next decade have to come from somewhere, and in this case it will come primarily from customers,” he said. “These include not only households but also schools, hospitals, manufacturers, and other large users of electric power.”
The details of the legislation have yet to be worked out or released to the public, but Cordato noted that any increased cost to consumers from the regulations will not be justified by environmental benefits.
“The bill will not improve visibility in the mountains or impact public health,” he said. “The junk science employed by lobbyists for these regulations should not be allowed to trump economic concerns or common sense.”
The John Locke Foundation, founded in 1990, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute devoted to state and local public policy issues in North Carolina. The organization is named after the distinguished 17th century educator, statesman, and philosopher of liberty John Locke, who also wrote the first constitution for the colony of Carolina. For more information about the Foundation’s environmental research, call Dr. Roy Cordato or John Hood at 919-828-3876.