GVP tells customers bills could go up 47%

Carbon legislation to have direct effect on electricity costs, local utility says

Legislation before Congress could drive up electricity bills by as much as 47 percent,

Grand Valley Power is telling customers in a letter.

Grand Valley Power sent the letter as a part of a national effort by electrical associations around the state and country to alert their ratepayers to the potential costs of cap-and-trade legislation, which is due for a vote in the House of Representatives.

The costs of cap and trade “will directly affect your electric bill,” Grand Valley Power said, urging customers to contact federal officials “on this significant ‘tax’ on your electric bill.”

Those who stand to be most affected, “of course are the ones who can afford it the least,” Grand Valley Power spokesman Bill Byers said. “We think people need to be aware and voice their concerns if they have any.”

The cap-and-trade measure is contained in a 946-page bill, H.R. 2454, sponsored by Democratic Reps. Ed Markey and Henry Waxman of Massachusetts and California, respectively.

Under cap and trade, Congress would set a national limit on the number of tons of carbon-dioxide emissions allowed each year, and the Environmental Protection Agency would issue emission permits by auction or allocation.

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association estimates that if Congress adopts a $20-per-ton price or tax on carbon-dioxide emissions, ratepayers would see their bills go up 19 percent. Setting a $50-per-ton price on emissions would drive up bills by 47 percent, the association said.

The measure has passed the House Energy Commerce Committee and is next due for a vote on the floor of the full House before going to the Senate.

U.S. Rep. John Salazar, D-Colo., has concerns about the measure because of its effect on utility prices and on rural co-ops but said he is hopeful a measure he can support will be worked out, said his Washington, D.C., spokesman.

The cap-and-trade measure is driven by fears that carbon-dioxide emissions are causing global warming, but Grand Valley Power chose to focus only on the possible costs of the legislation to its customers, Byers said.


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