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Burning the Future

In Burning the Future: Coal in America, writer/director David Novack examines the explosive forces that have set in motion a groundswell of conflict between the coal industry and residents of West Virginia.

Burning The Future: Coal in America
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Electric rate Q & A
Written by Scott Sklar   
June 09, 2008

Q:Where can I find local and national electrical rate statistics? Specifically, I'm interested in the figures for average annual rate increases to help calculate the payback on renewable energy systems. Is anyone collecting this information? - Alana N, Mount Vernon, WA

A:

Rising energy rates are now a commonly-accepted fact of life, but when I used to make speeches a dozen years ago that these increases would likely happen, it generated knowing snickers or vehement responses of increduality.  Please remember that electric rates are regulated by State Public Utility Commissions, so each State is different as is each utility service area. There are also regional differences in rates due to age and length of electric transmission and distribution lines and natural gas pipelines.

Electric rates are expressed differently, and some rates are bundled, while others resemble your cell phone bills with varied rates expressed as demand charges, peak power rates, time-of-day rates, and ratchet rates. There are entities that track these changes, but most are tied to regulatory or commercial clients.

The Energy Information Administration, an autonomous entity within the US Department of Energy does provide some information, and their chart can be retrieved here. The State of Nebraska has a great rate chart comparing States as of December 2007, and the Californua Public Utility Commission (CPUC) has several detailed charts. And if you want a taste of what the private sector can get, see the information achievable in 373 metropolitan areas.

Good luck on future predictions - they've all been wrong -- but I can assure you that electric and natural gas prices will go up - and I can stand by that prediction with absolute confidence!

- Scott Sklar

From www.RenewableEnergyWorld.com reader: Mount Vernon, WA

Last Updated ( June 09, 2008 )
 
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Programs and Tips

Energy Star is the national program that rates appliances and promotes energy savings activities. Experts at the US Environmental Protection Agency and US Department of Energy have also sorts of programs and tips. Here are three sites: