Study released as opposition claims bill will raise energy costs

MADISON — The recently amended Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) will result in lower average utility bills and save ratepayers at least $1.4 billion dollars when compared with the status quo, according to a Public Service Commission (PSC) analysis released this morning.

“The CEJA Sub is at least $1.4 billion less expensive than the status quo for Wisconsin ratepayers over the next 15 years, even if greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) are completely unregulated,” reads the PSC Analysis. “If GHGs are regulated, the ratepayer savings under the CEJA Sub are as much as $6.4 billion, compared to the status quo, over the next 15 years.”

The PSC analysis stands in direct contradiction to radio advertisements released today by the conservative lobby organization Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) that tell listeners that the Clean Energy Jobs Act will “increase your electricity bill and raise your energy tax.” The advertisements running in Eau Claire, Green Bay, Janesville and Wausau later claim, “higher unemployment, higher electricity bills. The global warming bill needs to be stopped.”

“Opponents to the bill frequently site concern over energy costs and job loss, yet the PSC analysis joins a long list of studies showing that the Clean Energy Jobs Act will reduce energy bills and create jobs,” said Peter Taglia, staff scientist at Clean Wisconsin. “Groups like WMC have resorted to perpetuating lies in an attempt to misinform the public. Today’s analysis shows that if WMC is truly concerned with keeping energy bills affordable, the organization should pull its advertisements and support this bill.”

The PSC analysis explains the dangers of the business-as-usual approach being advocated by bill opponents. “Fossil fuels are unregulated (and recently volatile) commodities. Continued and heavy reliance on those fuels means that electricity costs will continue to be linked to fluctuating fuel prices over which Wisconsin has no control,” reads the analysis.

According to data released yesterday by the Energy Information Agency, the price of Powder River Basin coal, currently Wisconsin’s single-largest source of fuel for power plants, has increased 50 percent in the last five months.

“Relying heavily on fossil fuels threatens both our economy and our environment,” said Taglia. “By reducing our dependence on dirty, out-of-state fossil fuels, the Clean Energy Jobs Act will help keep our energy bills in check, clean our environment, and create thousands of new jobs in Wisconsin.”