Arlington, VA., January 18, 2013 —The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) today praised the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to allow the use reciprocating internal combustion engines (RICE) for emergency demand response, while expressing disappointment over the decision to eliminate beneficial peak shaving provisions by May 3, 2014.
Cooperatives support environmental policies that both protect health and the environment, and maintain affordable and reliable electric service. NRECA, along with member cooperatives, submitted extensive comments explaining how RICE units are used by cooperative consumer-members to protect electric reliability.
Specifically, the ruling allows use of emergency units for up to 100 hours annually and 50 of those hours can be used to avoid interruption of power supply in an area or region. EPA highlighted that the new language in the demand response provision was crafted to address the unique issues faced by NRECA members.
“We appreciate the EPA’s willingness to hear our concerns and revise the rule to accommodate the unique reliability needs of electric cooperatives and their consumer members,” said NRECA CEO Glenn English.
At the same time, the ruling could lead to higher bills for some co-op members: EPA will require expensive retrofits for RICE units used to reduce demand during peak events when power is most expensive. The agency justification argued that unless units are used for reliability purposes, they will not meet EPA’s criteria for emergency use, thus eliminating the beneficial peak shaving provisions by May 3, 2014.
“Not-for-profit, member-owned electric cooperatives use these RICE units as a means to control power costs by avoiding excessive electricity cost during periods of extreme demand – far less than the 100 hours allowed for emergency demand response. Cooperatives are disappointed that even though EPA acknowledged these limited hours would not adversely affect human health or the environment, in the end, the agency chose to eliminate the beneficial peak shaving provisions by May 3, 2014,” English said.
“Over the next weeks, NRECA will be examining the final rule and conferring with our members to determine more precisely the impact on cost and, potentially, on reliability,” said English.
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.