by Jon Sanders
Director of the Center for Food, Power, and Life, Research Editor | John Locke Foundation
Politicians and media cheered the passage into law of Senate Bill 305, which would allow the North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency to sell its ownership in four power plants to Duke Energy Progress for $1.2 billion, reducing NCEMPA’s $1.7 billion debt to $480 million.
The bill is expected to yield rate reductions for electricity consumers in the 32 NCEMPA cities and towns, reportedly by around 10 percent.
WRAL offers a glimpse at those who would be helped — i.e., from whose necks that boot would be lifted. It’s worth keeping in mind their struggles when talking about the state’s renewable portfolio standards (RPS) mandates, which currently cost consumers an extra $252 million per year, a cost that isn’t a great deal more solely because of cost caps that are in increasing tension with the demands of the RPS mandate.
These are examples of consumers who the renewable-energy lobby want legislators to overlook as they beg for never-ending state support of their industry:
“It costs me an arm and a leg – and somebody else’s body parts, too. It’s a lot,” said Shannon Taylor, an unemployed mother of three. “If I didn’t use any heat, my bill was still like $600 or $700. That’s like triple my rent.”
Retiree Gary Nevins, 72, pays $316 a month for electricity in his 1,000-square-foot apartment.
“Do I stay warm or eat?” Nevins said of the dilemma he often faced. “That’s a big choice.”
Eddie Hopkins, a veteran on disability, said his March bill was $849.
“Honestly, who uses that much electricity in a month’s time?” Hopkins asked. “All of us are not making the same mistakes. All of us are not intentionally running our light bills up.”