Aug 15 Hearing on Impact on Your Electric Bill

by Chamber Admin on August 10th, 2012

Public Hearing on proposed EPA regulations to be held from 6-8 pm, Tuesday, August 15 at Cochise College Benson Center.

The following letter of explanation is from Geoff Oldfather, AEPCO Communications and Public Relations Manager. Please attend the public hearing or contact Geoff (contact information at bottom) for more information.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed regulations that could seriously impact you, your family, your businesses, the economic future of your community and everyone in the region. It’s why we’re reaching out to you in this way for the first time – because we need your help.

Please find time to attend an EPA hearing to be held the evening of August 15 in Benson. The details of the meeting are on the next page, but first here is a brief look at what the EPA proposes and why it could deal a crippling blow to our rural economies.

The EPA has said it may require Arizona Electric Power Cooperative (AEPCO) and the Apache Generating Station south of Willcox to install what’s called “selective catalytic reduction” (SCR) technology on the plant’s two coal-fired generators.

Why? Because of “regional haze.” Simply put, the EPA says SCR technology on the Apache Generating Station and at two other plants in the state owned by other companies would cut down on haze that theoretically impairs the view at the Grand Canyon and other national parks and wilderness areas.

But the cost to install SCR equipment at Apache Generating Station is mind-boggling – estimated at up to $218 million dollars. For a not-for-profit electric cooperative like AEPCO it represents a tremendous economic burden, one that would be passed to our distribution cooperative owners and the end-use consumer. It could add $27.7 million in annual operating expenses, which would translate to an 18-percent hike in wholesale power costs. That’s a minimum 12-percent increase in your electric bill. AEPCO operates on extremely narrow margins to begin with, and the yearly cost of this is almost 30 times AEPCO’s annual margins. Bottom line - it will dramatically impact the economic viability of Apache’s steam units and one or both could be shut down. AEPCO pays the largest property tax bill in Cochise County and that income to the county would be impacted. Jobs would be lost, not just at the plant but at businesses that support its operations. The ripple effect would be extensive and ongoing. Our rural economies, already reeling from the ongoing recession, would be permanently damaged.

And our position is that SCR technology is simply not necessary. AEPCO has, since 2007, been part of a dynamic and ongoing process to install “low NOx burner and Overfire Air” equipment on the units that would achieve the same result – at a fraction of the cost. Even the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality – a strict regulating agency – has said the technology we propose is more than adequate and that the EPA mandate would result in an “imperceptible” benefit.
Please read the talking points on the next page and, based on what you read, decide how you feel this federal government agency’s overreaching mandate would impact you and your family and neighbors. Then attend the hearing and make your voice heard.

Thank you for your support.

Best regards,

Geoff Oldfather
Communications and Public Relations Manager
(520) 586-5465
(520) 444-3473 (cell)

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