By Dick Welle | The congressional panel posed a straightforward question.
The Sept. 19 hearing asked, “Are excessive energy regulations and policies limiting energy independence, killing jobs and increasing prices for consumers?”
I answered with an emphatic “yes.”
I was honored with an opportunity to testify before the House Small Business Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade at the field hearing on Colorado’s Western Slope, near where the rural electric cooperative I manage, White River Electric Association, is located.
In my comments I discussed the sense of responsibility our co-op feels to its member-consumers, noting that no regulation or mandate is more persuasive than the pledge we give to our neighbors to provide them with reliable and responsible electric power at a reasonable rate.
But excessive government mandates can threaten those reasonable rates. As much as 15% of our residential rates can be attributed to the cost of regulatory compliance.
Surveys of our members demonstrate that they care about the environment but simply cannot afford to see their electric rates increase.
Just as I urge my granddaughters to “think before they act or speak” I asked the committee members to “think before you vote.” All lawmakers should ensure that they vote for further regulations only when they are necessary, based on common sense, allow for industry innovation and excellence, and don’t punish the consumer and the economy.
I was proud to be able to represent the member-consumers of White River Electric Association on this important issue.