(KMOV) – If you think your electric bill is high now, you may be in for a sticker shock in the future.
The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing new emission regulations for coal-fired power plants.
An Ohio-based power company is already closing five plants, hundreds of jobs have been lost, and the rate increase will be more than 35 percent.
There won’t be an answer on how Ameren will respond until the EPA finalizes its proposal and Ameren figures out the cost of compliance. But the utility is definitely plugged into this development and says industry-wide, utilities are talking of increases anywhere from 15 to 60 percent.
Ameren Missouri operates a coal-fired power plant in far South County. It’s one of four in Missouri and one of seven in Illinois. The utility operates many other plants, but they are powered by different methods: nuclear, hydroelectric or oil.
The EPA wants coal-fired plants to reduce toxic emissions within three years. The cost of bringing individual plants into compliance varies with their age, condition and differing regulations state-to-state. And even though the government hasn’t finalized its demands, rate hikes are expected by utilities nationwide.
Ameren has already begun modifying some plants, and has included those costs in a request for a rate increase which the Missouri Public Service Commission may rule on next month.
One way or the other, it is expected to be costly either to the environment or consumers’ wallets.
Once Ameren decided how it will address the EPA’s regulations, it is bound by the Securities and Exchange Commission to release it publicly in a financial document, just as the Ohio company did.