Higher Utility Bills? Thank the New Coal-Fired Power Plant

Fossil fuels are on their way to becoming obsolete. Coal and oil are finite resources, and with a global population over 7 billion, supply simply can’t keep up with the demand for much longer. Still, the fossil fuel industry is so deeply embedded into the American government and economy, we give billions in subsidies each year to prop it up and suppress price.

It seems that King Coal’s tired motto of “cheaper and domestically-produced” might be on its last leg, however. A new report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) says that electricity produced by a new Peabody Energy coal-fired power plant is likely to result in a 40-100 percent rate hike for 2.5 million American utility customers.

The report, ”The Prairie State Coal Plant: The Reality vs. the Promise” [PDF] unravels the sordid tale of the Prairie State Energy Campus (PSEC): a 1,600-megawatt, coal-fired electrical power station and coal mine under construction near Marissa, Illinois. Peabody Energy promised utility companies and electric membership cooperatives in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia that the plant would provide affordable, low cost electricity for the next 30-50 years.

However, the PSEC project is now behind schedule, well over budget (with construction costs estimated as high as $4.9 billion versus the original $1.8 billion projection), and not yet producing power as promised, according to the new report. The IEEFA estimates annual losses per community through 2025 will range from $3 million to $56 million.

Even worse is damning evidence that suggests Peabody Energy knew the coal-fired power plant would never deliver on its promises, and took action to transfer the costs from itself to the public. Until 2007, Peabody Energy was 100 percent owner of the project, but since then it has shifted 95 percent of its risk in the PSEC onto the backs of local communities and co-ops.

“The time has long since passed for Hoosier ratepayers to know the truth about Prairie State and for Indiana to end our love affair with coal and shift investments to energy efficiency and truly renewable resources, like wind and solar, which are cleaner, less risky, and far cheaper,” said Kerwin Olson, executive director, Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana.

Related Reading:

Coal Industry Gets Desperate For Friends

28 New Coal Ash Water Pollution Sites Revealed

Coal Miners Forced To Attend Romney Event, Lose A Day’s Pay

Image via Thinkstock

Love This? Never Miss Another Story.


Bartley Deason
Bartley Deason2 years ago

Elaine A. wrote:
"Not! If your utilities are higher then you can gladly thank this administration!!!

OK, Elaine, would you care to expand on that statement? Got proof? Any data to back up what is obviously nothing but YOUR opinion? And please, don't go ballistically psycho on me.

Duane B.
.2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Wendy Schroeder
Wendy Schroeder3 years ago

We need to stop subsidies to the coal and oil industres. They make a big profit as it is. It's time to invest in solar and wind technology.

Monica D.
Monica D.3 years ago

We need to stop the construction of this plant. Go wind and solar!

Elaine A.
Elaine Al Meqdad3 years ago

Not! If your utilities are higher then you can gladly thank this administration!!!

Christine C.
Christine C.3 years ago

My utility bills have actually never been lower this summer.

Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers3 years ago

A really retrograde step in this day and age.

Winn Adams
Winn Adams3 years ago

Thanks for the info.

change twentytwelve

Wow! The big ad I've seen for coal is that it is a clean source of energy,and that the U.S. has vast amounts of this DIRTY FUEL. Yet, the project described above is more than doubled in budget, and 95% of the Company has been sold off because FACTS show this plant will raise the cost of electricity, on top of already bilking the Federal and State governments out of nearly another 2 billion dollars. And surprise, this will supply more expensive, dirty energy, rather than a more efficient, clean energy. The green movement, and the move to a greener, cleaner,& leaner is something the petroleum, coal, and the Dirty Energy corporations Will Do Everything to prevent the World from beginning to Seriously wean off dependence on dirty, destructive, energy supplied by inhumane, unethical, and intellectual lying thieves.

Nils Lunde