Federal energy bill could have you paying more - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Federal energy bill could have you paying more

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -- It's the time of year when a lot of you crank up the A.C., and now your energy bill could go even higher.

In an effort to become more environmentally friendly, the American Clean Energy Act is designed to put a limit or cap on the amount of carbon emissions companies can put off. The House of Representatives says it will do that by setting a cap and trade.

The bill sets an allowance for utility companies like MidAmerican Energy to buy, sell or trade emission credits.

"The bill -- the way it allocates allowances -- will not give you enough allowances, free allowances, beginning in 2012 to be able to reduce the amount of energy that we need to serve our customers," said Dean Crist of MidAmerican.

So, that means MidAmerican will have to buy more. Some say the Midwest will be hit hard by this bill, because we make our energy primarily by coal.

"We will have to purchase allowances in the amount of $280 million," Crist said.

But, it's really the customer that will have to pay. In fact, Crist says it could raise the average utility rate by 25%. But, that's not it.

"Then you will also have to pay over time to replace or adjust our generation to get down to emission levels that this bill has in it," Crist said.

South Dakota Senator John Thune says this isn't the right time for this kind of bill.

"It would be very, very detrimental at time when we can least afford it -- when we're trying to get the economy back on track and start creating jobs again," Thune said.

In a written statement Iowa Senator Tom Harkin said, "When the Senate takes up this issue, I will work hard to ensure that the interests of Iowans are accounted for and that the needs and concerns of agriculture and rural America are represented."

The US House of Representatives plans on voting on the bill on Friday.

Reported by: Allissa Hopkins

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