News & Press
October 24, 2013
Speaker: Greg Mullis
Presented to: EPA Public Listening Session
Yesterday, Greg Mullis, VP of Energy Services at Tri-County, spoke at an EPA public listening session in Atlanta on behalf of Tri-County EMC members. The sessions were held for the EPA to gain input on the best Clean Air Act approaches to reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants.
My name is Greg Mullis. I am the Vice President of Energy Services for Tri-County EMC. I represent the 21,000 member owners of our not-for-profit cooperative. Many of our members are frustrated in having little to no voice in environmental mandates without congressional oversight. They are certainly unable to drive two hours to speak with you today.
We are greatly concerned about the impact of new carbon regulations. In some cases, we have already doubled the original investment for coal plants with emissions controls, dramatically reducing emissions but raising wholesale powers costs by nearly ten percent.
Our member customers have endured five years of recession. Now, they face the reality that increased power costs might take an additional bite out of household and business budgets. Hardest hit would be low income households.
The counties we serve have poverty rates ranging from 12 to 25 percent. These families already pay a disproportionate share of their household income for energy, in many cases as high as a two thirds of their total household budget. Higher energy costs to meet new standards could be devastating for them.
The communities we serve need a break. We need to right our economy and grow jobs. In the past, Georgia has had the advantage of low energy rates in economic development. New environmental regulations could have a chilling effect on our already weak economy and our ability to attract new businesses.
Along with other Georgia cooperatives, my utility offered the states first renewable energy program through Green Power EMC in 2003. But our members have been reluctant to spend discretionary income on green energy. Instead, they are concerned that what they pay for energy is already too high. I agree with them.
I urge the EPA to take a "go slow" approach on new emissions standards and to ensure that all fuels have a place in the energy portfolio, including coal.