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War on Rural CO: Economic impact of SB 252

The impact of SB 252, a bill to raise the renewable mandate on rural electric cooperatives, will be devastating to rural Colorado according to Dr. Roger Bezdek, Founder and President of Management Information Services, Inc. Bezdek released a report titled “The Economic and Jobs Impact of the Proposed Colorado RES” that predicts that, if passed, SB 252 will raise significantly the state’s unemployment rate and electric rates, which directly contradicts what bill sponsors Senate President John Morse and Senator Gail Schwartz have been arguing.

According to Bezdek’s report:

  • At present, Colorado’s unemployment rate is below the U.S. average.
  • With the RES, the state’s unemployment rate would increase to about 15% above the U.S. average.
  • However, job losses resulting from the RES, would be largely concentrated in the predominately rural areas served by the electric coops – many of which are already suffering economically.
  • The unemployment rate in these areas would increase substantially and would be more than 1/3 higher than the state average and more than 50% higher than the national unemployment rate.
  • At present, Colorado’s average electric rate is below the U.S. average.
  • With the RES, the state’s overall average would increase to above the U.S. average.
  • However, with the RES, the average rate to the predominately rural customers served by the electric coops would increase significantly and would be about 14% higher than the national average.

Bezdek draws on 30 years of experience in “research and management in the energy, utility, environmental, and regulatory areas, serving in private industry, academia and the federal government” and provides a grim forecast for those co-op members living on a fixed income. They will see their residential rates go up $20 per month.

Sure seems like a war on rural Colorado.

Colorado RES Impacts 4-12-13 (1) by Amy Oliver