Climate change bills have been floating between the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate and many electric cooperatives are unsupportive of them including Howell-Oregon Electric.
One climate change bill would propose a cap-and-trade system for global warming reduction.
Supporters of the bill believe the bill will reduce economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent by 2020 and encourage businesses to use renewable energy and will form renewable requirements for utilities, studies and incentives on new carbon capture technology. The goal of the bill is also to include energy efficency incentives for homes and business and grants for green jobs.
Howell-Oregon Electric workers, however, believe such a climate change bill would increase the cost of members' utilities.
"As the senate begins debate on its version of a climate change bill, the nation's electric cooperatives are asking them to include guarantees that new legislation will not cause electric bills to skyrocket," said John Thomason, marketing-member services representative at Howell-Oregon Electric.
"The truth is, electric hike estimates performed by different groups in D.C. are all over the board. We brought together the folks in charge of generating electricity every day in Missouri, and their study shows our rates in Missouri will skyrocket without a guarantee," Barry Hart, CEO of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, said. Hart took part in the delivery of more than 50,000 postcards from Missouri coop members who want to protect electric rates.
"The thousands of cards sent in by members to Senator (Kit) Bond and Senator (Clair) McCaskill show Missourians are concerned about the consequences of this debate," Hart said.
Hart met with Missouri's senators and asked them to ensure the fairness of the bill to protect consumers if the bill is passed.
"Electric cooperatives are encouraging their members to continue contacting senators on this issue, asking them to work with the electric cooperatives to ensure electricity does not become a luxury only the wealthy can afford," Thomason said.