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Consumers Union: Withdrawing the Clean Power Plan Means Higher Costs for Consumers

March 28, 2017

Washington D.C. – Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization arm of Consumer Reports, today responded to the White House announcement of an executive order withdrawing the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.

Consumers Union is a longtime supporter of the Clean Power Plan, which aims to reduce carbon pollution from power plants, improve public health, and promote energy efficiency programs that help save consumers money on their energy bills.

Shannon Baker-Branstetter, policy counsel for Consumers Union, said, “Withdrawing the Clean Power Plan is a mistake that will cost consumers more in the long run, in the form of higher energy and health care bills.

“The Clean Power Plan offers states a flexible approach to reduce emissions, expand clean and renewable energy, and boost energy efficiency efforts. Meeting the goals of the Plan would save the average U.S. household nearly $161 a year on their energy bills in 2030, according to a recent Georgia Tech study. Overall consumer savings would total $250 billion in the 15 years that follow full implementation of the Plan.”

One of the provisions of the executive order may prohibit the government from measuring the social cost of carbon emissions. This measurement is used to calculate the benefit of policies that reduce emissions and is important for accurate cost-benefit analyses.

Baker-Branstetter said, “Zeroing out the social cost of carbon will also harm consumers. This cost takes into account damages from climate change, including higher food prices, property damage, higher insurance premiums, and higher energy costs. When federal decisions ignore these costs to consumers, they shift the cost of pollution and climate change away from polluters and onto families and individuals.

“The reality is that states and energy markets are already moving in the direction of clean energy. Rather than slowing down this progress, the federal government should be encouraging states to boost renewables and energy efficiency to help lower utility bills for consumers, reduce pollution, and expand economic growth.”