Iowa Climate Change Advisory Council Issues Final Report

Report goes to Gov. Culver; spokesman for rural electric cooperatives fears higher electric bills for Iowans.

Iowa's electric cooperatives are concerned Iowans will have higher electric bills if Iowa's state legislators adopt new energy policy based on options in the Iowa Climate Change Advisory Council's final report. The report was provided to Gov. Culver in late December.

The Iowa Climate Change Advisory Council is a governor-appointed body consisting of 23 members from various stakeholder groups. The council includes a representative of the electric cooperatives in Iowa. It also includes four nonvoting members from the Iowa General Assembly and was created by the Iowa Legislature in April 2007. The law creating the council required it to submit a proposal this month to the governor and to the Legislature. The report addresses policies, cost-effective strategies and multiple scenarios designed to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions.

Higher electric bills for Iowans feared

Brian Kading, executive vice president and general manager of the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives, says Iowa's electric co-ops do not support the report because it failed to fully and adequately examine the financial impact of the report's greenhouse gas reduction options on individual Iowans.

"The cost-effectiveness and feasibility of greenhouse gas reduction options approved by the council were not fully and adequately examined, so the true costs of options in the report have not been identified," says Kading. "At Iowa's electric cooperatives, we agree that it's important to address concerns about global climate change and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but we are concerned about the failure of this report to look at all the facts, especially on the price tag for individual Iowans.

"In an economic downturn, we believe it's even more important to stand up for individual Iowans, especially when substantially higher electric bills, which may result, cannot be justified by the report's uncertain or overstated decrease in emissions," says Kading. "Hopefully, legislators and the governor also will recognize the problem of moving forward on energy policy development without a more complete understanding of all the facts about electric reliability, affordability and investment in research."

Advisory Council report seen as flawed

The not-for-profit electric cooperatives, along with the investor-owned utilities, government-owned municipal utilities, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the Iowa Utilities Board, filed documents expressing concerns about the report, which are available at www.iaclimatechange.us/ewebeditpro/items/O90F20582.pdf and posted on the Iowa Climate Change Advisory Council's Web site www.iaclimatechange.us.

"I've heard others say that we only have one chance to get this right," notes Kading. "If that's true and we shouldn't risk being wrong, policymakers must make fully informed decisions based on the full range of facts, not just wishful thinking or half answers."

The Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives, formed in 1942, represents the interests of and provides support to the electric cooperatives that provide power in each of Iowa's 99 counties to approximately 650,000 people.

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