CEO’s Report: The impact of a new administration

November 30, 2016

President-Elect Donald Trump vows to scrap Clean Power Plan, end war on coal

As we enter the final month of 2016 and look forward to a new year, I am optimistic about things to come. I’m sure we can all agree we’re happy the election has concluded, although the continuous news coverage and talk of recounts makes it seem as though it will never truly end.

A new administration will have a serious impact on our industry. Whether your favorite candidate won or lost, whether you are interested in politics or not, we all must look at what this change means for both utilities and ratepayers.

It is our job as electricity providers to provide reliable, affordable service. Sometimes those aspects are affected by components out of our control.

While it is unknown exactly what changes will take place after President-Elect Donald Trump assumes his position in the White House, or how those changes will affect the production and sale of electricity, we are hopeful the changes will be positive. The Clean Power Plan remains under judicial review as the Supreme Court stayed its implementation back in February.

According to his transitionary website, President-Elect Trump has vowed to “scrap the $5 trillion dollar Obama-Clinton Climate Action Plan and the Clean Power Plan and prevent these unilateral plans from increasing monthly electric bills by double-digits without any measurable effect on Earth’s climate.” He has also pledged to end the war on coal and conduct a top-down review of all anti-coal regulations issued by the Obama Administration.

President-Elect Trump has also stated a commitment to conserving our natural resources and habitats. He wants to refocus the EPA on its core mission of ensuring clean air, and clean, safe drinking water. He will rely on true specialists in conservation and is promising a future of more jobs and lower energy prices.

The ideas President-Elect Trump is promoting are ones we can get on board with. As a wholesale electricity provider invested in coal generation, the Clean Power Plan has the potential to drive electricity prices up substantially and force early retirement of several coal plants.

This comes after we, as well as several other energy providers across the country, have made investments in these plants to make them as environmentally friendly as possible. We care about the environment and keeping it clean for future generations. We also care about providing electricity people can afford to pay for.

While he will certainly look at several, one option President-Elect Trump has regarding the Clean Power Plan is to wait and see whether the Supreme Court decides to consider the regulation. There is currently a vacancy on the Supreme Court that he will fill and that nominee could be the deciding vote on whether the plan is even legal. The plan is currently being reviewed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Once they make a decision, the losing side would most likely appeal to the Supreme Court.

Back in January, I wrote about New Year’s Resolutions and challenged you to a few simple ones that I hope you took some time to accomplish in 2016. The first one was to stay educated. The second was to be an active voice. These two tasks go hand in hand as we can’t advocate on behalf of our customers if we don’t understand the issues at hand.

Regulation affects reliability and affordability of electricity and it is our duty to let those in charge know those are our top two priorities. With transition taking place in just over a month, now is the perfect time to get involved.

As we enter the New Year, I am once again challenging you to take an active role. Be an active voice. While we may have an idea, it is unknown what the new administration will mean for us, but it is our hope the change will be positive. Be part of the positive change by making your voice heard. If you need ideas on where to start, we are more than happy to help.