Ready For Big Increases In Utility Costs?

Just what we need in the midst of a nasty national recession. Higher utility prices, thanks to the Obama administration and the never ending stream of new regulations coming out of it.

Utilities across the country need more money for grid updates and pollution controls, and are passing the huge bill on to consumers. Laura Colarusso on why electricity bills are rising.

Already weary of high gas prices and 9.1 percent unemployment, many Americans are about to get another kick in the wallet thanks to large increases in their electricity bills.

From Alaska to Georgia and Wyoming to Florida, utilities are seeking permission to pass on hundreds of millions of dollars in new charges to customers to help upgrade aging infrastructure and build new or retrofitted power plants that comply with tougher environmental regulations, a Daily Beast review of regulatory filings has found.

Keep in mind that a lot of the costs here aren’t so much replacement of “aging infrastructure,” which sounds almost reasonable, but rather rate increases to cover the cost of green energy that is being promoted and often even mandated by the federal government.

Case in point, here in North Dakota the tens of thousands of customers who get their electricity from Montana-Dakota Utilities got hit by a rate hike which was necessitated by Montana’s green energy mandate. MDU was trying to defray the rates impact from that mandate on its Montana customers by spreading them out to North Dakota customers, and it’s costing North Dakotan’s some $7.6 million annually.

We can argue about the fairness of North Dakotans paying for something resulting from Montana policy, but the larger point is that the government’s push for “green” is driving up prices. And utility price hikes, especially, are compounded in the economy. Not only do Americans individually pay higher utility prices, but they pay higher prices for goods and services as businesses pass on the overhead from their rising utility prices to customers.

Rob Port

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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