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New EPA Rules Threaten Electric System Reliability

Columbus, OH—Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives and our members value the reliability of electricity—it is our #1 priority because our lives and livelihoods depend on it. Yet the EPA has released new proposed rules this week that pose the greatest threat to the reliability of our electrical grid that we’ve seen in our nation’s history.

Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives have been warning for months that electricity reliability has been under threat. Grid operators and regulators have issued the same warnings, but the EPA appears not to be listening.

The new proposed EPA rules released Thursday, May 11, would all but ban the use of fossil fuels to produce electricity by forcing most, if not all, coal and natural gas plants into early retirement, eliminating the reliable, baseload power generation that fossil fuels provide to our electrical grid. Fossil fuel power generation is the foundation of electricity production because it is always available, 24/7, 365 days a year, at an affordable cost for consumers.

“Our electric power system works on the principles of science and engineering and people of all political persuasions depend on a reliable supply of electricity for our health, safety, and security,” said Pat O’Loughlin, President, and CEO of Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives.  “Unfortunately, we will need to fight our federal government for many months and likely years to avoid the harmful effects of this unrealistic plan.  Please stay tuned.  We will need your help and support to keep the lights on.”

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) CEO Jim Matheson issued a statement in response to EPA’s latest proposed rule to regulate power plant emissions.

“This proposal will further strain America’s electric grid and undermine decades of work to reliably keep the lights on across the nation,” Matheson said. “And it is just the latest instance of EPA failing to prioritize reliable electricity as a fundamental expectation of American consumers. We’re concerned the proposal could disrupt domestic energy security, force critical always available power plants into early retirement, and make new natural gas plants exceedingly difficult to permit, site, and build.”

“Nine states experienced rolling blackouts last December as the demand for electricity exceeded the available supply. Those situations will become even more frequent if EPA continues to craft rules without any apparent consideration of impacts on electric grid reliability. American families and businesses rightfully expect the lights to stay on at a price they can afford. EPA needs to recognize the impact this proposal will have on the future of reliable energy before it’s too late.”

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