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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Midwest ‘Ambushed’ By EPA Ruling

Midwest ‘Ambushed’ By EPA Ruling

“The result could include “the potential of cascading blackouts... or localized rolling blackouts initiated by utilities within the SPP region, to avoid more widespread and uncontrolled blackouts”

By Dell Hill via Director Blue

“The electric grid is in grave danger thanks to the EPA's arbitrary and draconian new regulations for utilities. Oh, and that's not just according to the utilities impacted by the agency's hastily constructed rules, it's a message echoed by public utility boards and the Midwest's seven-state Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Kansas electric utility Westar Energy contends that meeting a mid-December Environmental Protection Agency deadline on new air emission regulations will result in rolling blackouts for its customers.

“We asked the EPA for more time, but they tell us they're enforcing the Dec. 15 deadline,” said Westar Energy CEO Mark Ruelle. “So we're pushing back. KCPL, Sunflower and us have asked a court to stay the rule. It's not our style, but we've sued through the court in D.C. and the Kansas Attorney General has filed his own lawsuit... We've cut sulfur by 80 percent and NOX (nitrogen oxide) by 50 percent,” Ruelle said, from highs in the years 2002 and 2003. “We've still a ways to go, but we have a plan to get there. Then this rule came out based on emissions crossing state lines. It came out in July and it says we must comply by Jan. 1. You can't.”

...The company can meet the more stringent regulations, but not until 2018, Ruelle said... A separate study by the Southwest Power Pool agrees with Westar's assessment... [the] seven-state regional transmission organization [was] mandated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure reliable supplies of power, adequate transmission infrastructure, and competitive wholesale prices of electricity for its region.

In a September letter to the EPA, which used the word concern seven times, the organization warned an initial “reliability analysis” of utility operations under the EPA timeline pointed to hundreds of potential system overloads in the region and more than a thousand cases of system voltages going too low to meet mandated levels.

The result, the letter advised, could include “the potential of cascading blackouts... or localized rolling blackouts initiated by utilities within the SPP region, to avoid more widespread and uncontrolled blackouts and to remain in compliance with reliability standards... SPP encourages the EPA to work with generation owners to develop flexible compliance schedules to ensure equipment installation is completed in a timely, safe, reliable and cost-effective manner without an arbitrary deadline..."

...Even the Citizens' Utility Ratepayer Board, which represents customers in utility rate requests, voiced sympathy to Westar's situation... “The EPA really kind of ambushed the utility, in terms of the process,” said David Springe, CURB's consumer counsel. “Clearly they're all working toward reducing emissions to the level the EPA wants. In their final order they were really radically different than the preliminary. They changed the mark they were supposed to hit and made it under a timeline that is simply not reasonable.”

Whether the EPA sticks with its deadline or works with utilities, it's ultimately the consumer that pays, Springe said... “Whether it's January or 2015, they have to retrofit the plants and rates will go up,” he said. “I don't know that I've seen a full rate estimate, but it won't be small.”

Read the entire post by clicking right here.

...And, as you can plainly see, Barack Obama will “get right on this issue” right after her putts out.

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