Why Are Wyoming Utilities Asking For Such A Big Rate Increase?
The Wyoming Public Service Commission held a comment hearing in Rock Springs on Rocky Mountain Power's proposal to increase rates by more than 20%.
Rob Joyce of the Sierra Club's Wyoming Chapter said 97% of the increase will cover the Net Power Costs of coal and natural gas:
"Groups like Sierra Club have been saying, 'This is a risky investment. Fuel costs are going to change and likely go up in the future. We should make the transition to renewable energy now,'" said Joyce. "They didn't listen, and now us the ratepayers are kind of on the hook."
But the rising costs of coal, natural gasses, and oil are due to government red tape. Not natural market forces.
Pennsylvania, for example, has seen productivity declines due to permitting issues and roadblocks in the courts caused by environmental groups' lawsuits.
"Productivity declines and limits on natural gas takeaway capacity resulted in a 0.4 (billion cubic feet per day) decrease in Pennsylvania’s total natural gas production in 2022," the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported. "Until last year, output had increased every year since 2013 on the back of drilling efficiency gains."
More production means lower prices. It's a basic law of supply and demand.
"Pennsylvania can provide the affordable and reliable energy that our nation and the world needs but permitting red tape and overreaching courts are preventing the development of critical infrastructure to safely move more natural gas to consumers," Marcellus Shale Coalition President David Callahan said.
The same situation is true here in Wyoming.
While government clears away bureaucracy for wind and solar, it piles it on for coal, gasses, and oil.
Wind and solar receive government subsidies. Coal, gasses, and oil do not.
This makes for an unfair market, as government agencies try to bury one industry under red tape and fees while clearing bureaucracy and giving money to another.
"It shouldn’t take an act of Congress to permit the build-out of essential infrastructure," he said. "Meaningful permitting reform is desperately needed to ensure we’re growing our economy, creating good-paying jobs, and strengthening America’s global environmental and security leadership role."
When it comes to the hottest days of summer or the coldest days of winter, folks will need affordable, reliable energy.
Wind and solar have been neither of those things as shown in European countries and California, parts of the world suffering from blackouts and brownouts when they need the energy most.