EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSReliability Of Electricity Is Questioned If Coal Is Removed From Equation
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Kennie Bass
Videographer: John Tincher, Brad Rice
Web Producer: Kennie Bass
Reported: Sep. 17, 2013 6:19 PM EDT
Updated: Sep. 18, 2013 4:20 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Generators like this one here at Eyewitness News were humming across a 13-state region and Washington, D.C. last Wednesday, to avoid a second straight day of blackouts and brownouts caused by unexpected high demand.
Consecutive days of 90-degree temperatures caught power companies off guard during a time of year they usually schedule maintenance.
Without a program that pays customers to limit power use by cranking up their own generators, the lights would have gone out in several parts of the country.
That leaves coal supporters scratching their heads. With pressure mounting on the mining industry and coal-fired power plants, they question why you would take away the nation's most reliable energy source.
"You know, last week they had to ask people to back down on their use of electricity in certain places," Bill Raney, with the W.Va. Coal Association, said. "Well, that was just a typical summer two or three days. So, something's going on there."
"The shortage of electricity at peak time," Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin of West Virginia said. "There may be a rationing of electricity on the east coast. So, my opinion is those are the kind of things that they continue to perpetuate with the rulings that come out from the EPA."
In the last several years blackouts in America are on the rise, with estimates that they cost the country 150 million dollars annually. Critics of the president's plan to marginalize coal say putting the squeeze on power plants which use it as fuel make the potential problem much worse.
"But when you start taking all of these coal-fired plants out of the equation then you're removing a great deal of reliability," Raney said. "And everybody wants their lights to come on when they hit the switch. And it doesn't make any difference if it's five o'clock at night or five o'clock in the morning they want it to work. Coal lets you do that."
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