Because, prior to 2008 when the renewable energy portfolio standards (REPS) mandate took effect, North Carolina’s electricity rates were decidedly lower than the national and regional averages. Since then, N.C.’s rates have been fast converging on those averages — still lower, but growing at a faster clip than both.

We’re losing that competitive advantage.

And it’s misleading to hide behind that dwindling advantage to prop up a state law, REPS, that is eroding it by driving rate hikes.

Furthermore, those rate hikes have so far occurred under the lowest threshold of the REPS mandate. As Becki Gray helpfully points out in Carolina Journal today, starting this year the REPS mandate doubles from three percent to six percent. By 2021, it’ll have more than quadrupled.

Here is the trend we have seen in retail electricity rates in North Carolina since 2008 (click the chart for the full size):

elec rate increases

Here is a look at how North Carolina’s residential electricity rates have changed since 1990. Note the long decline in rates over the 1990s prior to public policy interventions for environmental special interests: