Congressman Bruce Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, is defending the energy bill against claims by the state’s largest utility company that it will lead to higher electric bills. Braley was asked about MidAmerican’s claim the bill would lead to a 20% increase in electric bills.
Braley says groups that claim the energy bill will raise the cost to consumers are "flat wrong." He says the bill is "gonna create millions of clean energy jobs, it’s gonna reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and it’s going to lower energy bills for the middle class. And despite what MidAmerican is saying, the bill won’t increase prices for consumers, nor will they pay higher taxes for the bill."
Braley says there’s evidence in the eastern Iowa district he represents that prove MidAmerican wrong. Braley says two of MidAmerican’s customers and consumers who will be paying the most, John Deere and Alcoa are in his district and both support the bill. "And so I guess the question I would have for MidAmerican is, if two of their largest customers are supporting the bill, what is the question they’re having?," Braley asks.
Braley says MidAmerican is applying 2008 emissions standards to figuring the cost of the bill, and not taking into account any improvement in efficiencies between now and 2012. Braley says MidAmerican is ignoring the "massive incentives" for wind in the recovery act, much of which he says is going to come to the midwest.
Braley says the incentives will help improve transmission lines to help export wind power generated in Iowa to other states. He says wind has no carbon cost and that has to be subtracted out of the energy portfolio to determine the actual cost to consumers. Braley says if you look at past history of energy legislation, the Edison Electrical Institute put up some of the same arguments that MidAmerican is using now to oppose the bill.
Braley says the electric industry opposed the Clean Air Act of 1990, saying it would increase energy prices. He says the Edison Electrical Institute, which MidAmerican belongs to, is supporting this bill, but E-E-I claimed the 1990 bill would raise electric prices by 2.7% while prices fell by 31.2%.
Braley serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee which is handling the bill known as the "Clean Energy and Security Act."