If you tried to keep track of the number of campaign pledges Barack Obama has broken in his eight years in office, you’d rapidly run out of fingers and toes. One promise that he kept, however, dates back to the very beginning of his presidency. On March 18, 2009, he openly admitted that under his energy plan, “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”
Mission accomplished: The average American’s electric bill has gone up 10% since January 2009, due in large measure to regulations imposed by Obama, even though the price of generating power has declined.
Record low costs for generating electricity thanks to America’s new natural gas supplies created by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, haven’t translated into lower monthly payments for consumers due to new regulations.
The price of generating electricity in the eastern U.S. fell by half under Obama, but utilities raised monthly bills for residential customers, according to government data.
The biggest price increase in the U.S. was in Kansas, where prices rose from 8.16 cents per kilowatt-hour in January, 2009, to 11.34 cents in January, 2015. That’s a 39% increase in the price of electricity during Obama’s tenure. States like Idaho, Nebraska, Wyoming, South Dakota, Missouri, Utah, and Ohio saw enormous increases in the price of electricity as well, according to data from the Energy Information Administration.
States with large and developed natural gas and oil industries generally saw their average electric bill drop. The biggest price drop was in Texas, where prices fell by almost 10 percent during Obama’s tenure. States like Louisiana, Arkansas, Maryland, Florida, Delaware, New Jersey, Maine and the District of Columbia all saw the average electric bill fall since January 2009.
“President Obama openly ran in 2008 on a platform of making electricity rates ‘skyrocket’ and bankrupting anyone who dared to build a coal plant in the United States,” Travis Fisher, an economist at the Institute for Energy Research, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Now, more than seven years into his presidency, it should come as no surprise that his efforts have taken a widespread toll in the form of higher electricity rates for nearly every state in the union.”
Despite falling generation costs, electrical utilities are being forced by the government to pay for billions of dollars of government-mandated “improvements” and taxpayer support for new wind and solar power systems.
“The administration has subsidized our highest-cost sources of electricity – new wind and solar facilities – while shutting down a significant portion of our most economic source, which is the existing workhorse fleet of coal-fired power plants,” Fisher continued. “In fact, rates are going up when they should be going down. For example, natural gas prices reached their peak in 2008 and have since fallen by two-thirds. Coal prices are stable. What’s really behind the increase in electricity prices is an increase in subsidized and mandated wind and solar power combined with a decrease in low-cost electricity from coal.”
Most analysts agree rising residential electricity prices are also harmful to American households. Pricy power disproportionately hurts poorer families and other lower-income groups as the poor tend to spend a higher proportion of their incomes on “basic needs” like power, so any increase in prices hits them the hardest.
As essential goods like electricity becomes more expensive, the cost of producing goods and services that use electricity increases, effectively raising the price of almost everything. The higher prices are ultimately paid for by consumers, not industries.
This report, by Andrew Follett, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.