Overwhelming Majority of Americans Concerned Over Rising Electricity Rates

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Eighty-five percent of Americans say they are concerned about rising electricity rates, according to new polling conducted by Morning Consult for the National Mining Association (NMA). This comes on the back of recent polling that found that more than half of Americans are unwilling to pay more in their electricity bills to support energy and climate plans that have been debated in the presidential race.

“Americans are clearly concerned about electricity affordability in the midst of so much economic uncertainty,” said Rich Nolan, NMA president and CEO. “There is growing frustration that energy affordability and reliability are being given a backseat by utilities and policymakers when voters continue to say they are top priorities.”

The polling found that concern over rising electricity rates is shared by both Democrats and Republicans. More than 50 percent of registered voters from both parties who voted in the 2018 midterms were “very concerned” over rising rates.

With renewed focus on electricity affordability, it’s worth considering which states are holding electricity prices in check. States that are maintaining a balanced electricity mix with higher percentages of coal generation have some of the lowest prices per kilowatt hour for retail electricity.

The pivot away from well-operating baseload power is coming with increased costs. According to the most recent data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in 2018 nearly half of all regulated utilities filed to increase customer rates, the highest number in 30 years.

While the cost of electricity from renewable sources of power is falling, the system costs of integrating these intermittent sources of energy is rising. New infrastructure costs, reduced efficiency of existing generating capacity as well as the cost of curtailment and backup dispatchable capacity are just a few examples of the hidden costs of the pivot away from baseload power now showing up on ratepayer bills.

study from the University of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute found that electricity prices increase substantially after renewable portfolio standard (RPS) adoption. The report found that “in the 7th year after passage average retail electricity prices are 11 percent higher, totaling about $30 billion in the RPS states compared to non-RPS states. And, 12 years later they are even higher at 17 percent more.”

The polling was conducted July 29, 2020, of 1,845 registered voters and carries a margin of error of +/-2 percent.

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