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Last week, the Missouri Public Utility Alliance released a study that says the average electric rates across Missouri could increase by as much as 50% if the current national climate change legislation passes. KSMU’s Matt Evans has more.
The Missouri Public Utility Alliance, or MPUA, performed the study by gathering information from electric service providers across the state of Missouri. The study projects rate increases of between 12% and 50% by 2012 if the federal bill on climate change passes and is signed into law. Floyd Gilzow is a spokesperson for the MPUA.
“Well if the bill is passed, citizens will be faced with either having to reduce their consumption of electricity or they’re going to be faced with increasing what they pay to their local utility.”
The reason rates could increase so much in Missouri is because the state still relies heavily on coal to produce power and the legislation is designed reduce carbon emissions. 83% of electricity in Missouri is generated by burning coal; compare that with 4% in California.
One of the reasons Missouri has stuck with coal is because it’s cheap. Wendy Anderson is the director of campus sustainability at Drury University.
“In Springfield, we have some of the cheapest electricity rates in the nation.”
Anderson thinks if the rates increase, some people around the state would conserve more electricity; and that’s something she wouldn’t mind at all.
“Missourians and particularly Springfieldians actually consume more electricity per person, per household, than the national average. And we do it because it’s cheap.”
The numbers from the MPUA study, Gilzow emphasizes, are an estimation of what could happen. The climate change legislation has already been passed through the House of Representatives and will be voted on by the Senate in October.
For KSMU News, I’m Matt Evans.