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Tri-County Electric Cooperative Manager warns of 20-25% rate increase if Clean Energy Legislation passes

The Manager of Tri-County Electric Cooperative warned at this weekend’s annual meeting that pending Clean Energy legislation at the state or federal level could result in a 20 to 25-percent rate increase and an unreliable electrical grid.

Marsha Scott says the federal and state energy proposals to close all coal plants by 2035 is simply not achievable and keep the lights on. She also announced the cooperative would step up a ‘Take Action’ campaign to keep the state from closing the Prairie State Energy Campus in Washington County. The campaign started with members being asked to sign petitions against the bill at the Saturday meeting held at the Cooperative’s headquarters in Mt. Vernon.

Scott says all members will also be asked by mail to join the campaign.

“The premature closure of this plant will result in power being imported from neighboring states from power plants with less stringent environmental standards than Prairie State has always met. I do not understand how that will help the environment.”

Scott says cooperatives are stepping up to use more wind and solar energy at four times the level of other utilities in the state.

“Renewable power sources such as wind and solar power have their benefits. And they are great resources of intermittent power. However, these renewable energy sources are not reliable. They must have backup power sources to avoid frequent blackouts when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow.”

Scott continues to maintain a mixture of all energy sources is the best with any future changes being well rounded and built out slowly. She says the change away from coal and natural gas cannot be rushed.

Outgoing Board President Greg Vieira thanked all of the cooperative employees for doing an excellent job in completing their jobs while following COVID-19 mitigations. Scott also commended the workers and noted they have now gone almost 12 years without a lost-time injury by a full-time employee.

The cooperative members were told the complete remodel of the headquarters building had now been completed.