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Mountain Electtic manager urges residents to contact the EPA

Dear Editor:

At Mountain Electric Cooperative, we know that low-cost reliable electricity is essential for our communities. Success for us means that the lights come on when you flip that switch and when you get your bill, we want it to be affordable – especially during the upcoming winter months as the weather turns cold and energy consumption increases.
The Environmental Protection Agency recently proposed new, far-reaching regulations for power plants. These are the very power plants that we depend on for the electricity that powers your home and community. The regulations seek to limit carbon dioxide – greenhouse gas emissions – from existing power plants.
The EPA and the current administration has repeatedly said that it supports an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy. But the EPA’s proposal to regulate these greenhouse gas emissions is an “all-but-one” approach. It virtually eliminates coal as a source for fuel.
And that’s a big deal. Here’s why.
TVA and MEC had its’ highest demand for electricity last winter. TVA used every available option to provide enough electricity to keep the region warm. On the morning of January 7, 2014 temperatures dropped below zero across MEC’s entire service area. On this day, 28% of the electricity generated was from coal. If coal wasn’t available, we simply wouldn’t have had enough power.
Electric co-ops support clean renewable energy, and we know you also rely on us to keep the lights on. To do that, we need every available source of generation. TVA and electric cooperatives nationwide have pursued a true “all-of-the-above” strategy by spending billions of dollars on clean and efficient energy. Since 2005, TVA has reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 30%, without any mandates from Washington.
As EPA proposes these new regulations, TVA is in the process of developing their Integrated Resource Plan. TVA has made great strides in providing stability and diversity by taking a balanced approach in their generation mix that includes hydro, coal, natural gas, nuclear and renewable resources. With EPA and other outside groups pressuring TVA to change their generation mix based on “their” criteria, it’s time that MEC-served residents provide their input on the matter.
We need your help to tell the EPA that they shouldn’t hurt our ability to deliver affordable and reliable electricity with new costly regulations. That’s why we’re asking everyone to speak out and tell the EPA that you don’t want to pay more for your electricity and help TVA to develop a resource plan that addresses our member’s needs.
We’ve made it easy to send a message to Washington, DC. Simply go to www.takeactionTN.com and send a message to the EPA and TVA. We’re asking that the EPA work with electric cooperatives on a common sense solution that balances energy needs and environmental concerns.
It is critically important that we have every available weapon in our arsenal. Electricity is the lifeblood of our community. It powers our homes and businesses, and none of us can afford an increase in our monthly utility bill. The impact of these new regulations will mean that the cost for electricity will rise. Limits on fuel sources will also mean that we just won’t have enough power.
That’s not a theory, its simple math.

Joseph A. Thacker, III, PE
General Manager
Mountain Electric Cooperative