Latest posts by H. Sterling Burnett (see all)
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Seniors in particular and those on fixed incomes in general, will be devastated should the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s carbon-dioxide regulations currently under consideration for new and existing power plants ultimately become law. This is the conclusion of several state level analyses that have been conducted by the 60 Plus Association. 60 Plus was founded in 1992 as a non-partisan seniors advocacy group promoting a free enterprise, less government, less taxes approach to seniors issues.
Energy, like food and housing, is an indispensable necessity of life. In many states, including Alabama and Florida, the hot climate dictates that air conditioning is essential to the survival of many elderly and infirm citizens. Thus, EPA regulations would disproportionately affect seniors. 60 Plus’s national report revealed that EPA regulations would increase the price of electricity across America at rates above the general inflation rate and as much as 20% in some states.
This at a time when rising energy prices due to current regulations and renewable fuel mandates are forcing many seniors are to decide between spending their fixed incomes on food, heat or air-conditioning, or medicine. 60 Plus finds that the he President’s newly proposed EPA regulations will only make Seniors’ dire situation even worse. Among the key findings from 60 Plus’s analysis of nationwide impact of the EPA’s proposed regulations upon seniors are:
- The United States has 27 million households aged 65 or more (“65+”), representing nearly one-quarter of the nation’s 116 million households. Low and fixed income seniors are among the most vulnerable to electric rate and other energy price increases.
- Current and pending EPA regulations will increase the price of electricity in America at rates above the general rate, by as much as 20% percent in some states, of inflation and shut down numerous traditional plants.
- Future energy price increases, driven in large measure by petroleum supply and demand trends and by current and pending U.S. EPA regulations, are likely to outstrip real household incomes among the 63% of America’s 65+ households with gross annual incomes less than $50,000.
Not all states are equal however. Because of climate conditions, regular heat and humidity, seniors in states like Alabama and Florida will suffer to a greater than average degree from the Obama administration’s CO2 regulations.
Alabama has 447,000 households aged 65 or more (“65+”). Future energy cost increases, driven in large measure current and pending U.S. EPA regulations are likely to outstrip real household incomes among the 70% of Alabama’s 65+ households with gross annual incomes less than $50,000.
- The average pre‐tax household income of 65+ households in Alabama was $46,141 in 2012, 20% below the average
- For Alabama’s 447,000 65+ households, electricity represents 74% of their total residential bills.
- Even before any new EPA regulations, the price of electricity per kilowatt‐hour (kWh) in Alabama has increased by 41% since 2005, more than twice the 19% rate of inflation in the Consumer Price Index, due in part to higher fuel costs and the costs of compliance with EPA regulations.
According to 60 Plus’s analysis, seniors in Florida face similar problems.
- Florida has 2.1 million households aged 65 or more (“65+”), representing 29% of the state’s 7.2 million households. More than 40% of Florida’s 65+ households had gross annual incomes below $30,000 in 2012, with an average pre‐tax household income of $16,919, or $1,410 per month.
- Energy cost increases, resulting from current and pending U.S. EPA regulations, are likely to outstrip real household incomes among the 64% of Florida’s 65+ households with gross annual incomes below $50,000.
- For Florida’s 2.1 million 65+ households, electricity represents 90% of total residential utility bills.
- The price of electricity per kilowatt‐hour (kWh) in Florida has already increased by 46% since 2000, well above the 37% increase in inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index. This increase is due in part to higher fuel costs and the costs of compliance with environmental regulations.
The energy situation and the hard choices will only get worse for seniors if the EPA’s proposed CO2 regulations become law.
Other studies confirm what 60 Plus has found. Higher energy prices always the poor and those on fixed incomes the most since they spend a higher percentage of their incomes on food and fuel.
Seniors vote at a higher percentage rate than most segments of the population. When they vote they should consider how their votes will affect the price they pay for electricity and gasoline.