APPA’s Pugh offers advice on preparing now for regulation of CO2 emissions from power plants

In response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule on carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants, public power utilities should set up meetings (or continue to meet) with state environmental regulators and other state officials, American Public Power Association (APPA) Director of Environmental Services Theresa Pugh told attendees at APPA’s National Conference. At those meetings, public power officials should discuss their utility and the state-wide reduction targets and what that would mean in terms of electricity costs, additional renewables, and energy efficiency inside the fenceline and outside the fenceline (with customers), she said at the June 17 session. The meetings also should cover the state officials’ ability to meet their obligations administratively by 2016.

In discussing what utilities should do now, Pugh also advised them to meet state environmental regulators and state energy officers about operational and potential reliability issues associated with implementation of the proposed rule. She urged utilities to meet with state economic development agencies and local officials to discuss the potential economic impacts for factories and population growth concerns.

Utilities should look at what changes in dispatch of generation resources would mean and whether it would prevent a unit from running, Pugh said. If a utility wants to build a natural gas-fired power plant, determine whether it would be permitted, with an eye on the effect on meeting EPA’s nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions limits, she advised. It isn’t always a slam dunk to replace a coal plant with natural gas units, she noted.

Public power utilities also should get involved in the public policy debate over the proposed rule by speaking at EPA public hearings on the proposal, filing comments on the proposed rule with EPA, and helping APPA identify major issues for the association’s comments on the proposed rule, Pugh said.

*This article originally appeared in the June 26, 2014 issue of Public Power Daily from APPA.

Letter to the Editor regarding EPA’s emissions plan

The following Letter to the Editor was recently submitted to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, the Aberdeen American News and the Brookings Register.

The Environmental Protection Agency recently issued regulations for existing power plants. While cutting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 35 percent by 2030 may seem like an admirable goal, at what cost are you willing to achieve this goal?

The result of the EPA’s regulations could be more expensive electricity for South Dakotans. While the EPA would like you to believe the proposed cuts would actually lower your electric bills, in reality, these regulations will mean less money in your pocket.

At Heartland Consumers Power District, we believe that relying on diverse fuel sources for electric generation is the best way to keep electric bills affordable. We have generated electricity by coal, nuclear, solar panels and wind turbines. We take our responsibility seriously to provide reliable and affordable electricity while doing our best to protect the environment.

Each generating source has its place in a reliable portfolio. Each source has its benefits and drawbacks and working together, ensure the lights stay on in homes across South Dakota.

Utilities across the state, including Heartland, have implemented energy efficiency programs to help customers save money and use electricity more efficiently. We have also continually updated our plans to ensure they operate at peak performance with minimal impact on the environment.

These regulations will cause plants across the country to close, compromising both the reliability and affordability of electricity. Coal will not be the only victim as natural gas plants will also be impacted.

We care about the price of electricity because we’re a not-for-profit entity that looks out for our customers and their checkbooks. We’re concerned that the EPA is making a decision that could force an increase in the cost of electricity and erode the reliability of our power supply.

What’s at stake? If electricity prices rise, we’re worried that the trickle-down effect could be severe in communities served by Heartland. Higher electricity prices hurt businesses of all types, potentially leading to layoffs, or slower job growth. It is our belief that Congress, not the EPA and the Obama administration, should regulate matters that affect commerce, including the generation of electricity.

That’s why we’re encouraging everyone to speak up. Visit and tell the EPA that we can’t afford more regulations and higher electric bills.

-Russell Olson, CEO, Heartland Consumers Power District


Utility job listing in Volga, SD

ELECTRICAL SUPERINTENDENT – Volga, SD. The city of Volga, South Dakota (pop. 1,784) is seeking an Electrical Superintendent to manage the municipal electric system. Candidates for this position must have successfully completed an approved Electrical Line Worker program and have a minimum of 3-5 years of Journeyman experience (preference given to those in a supervisory capacity). This position requires a strong working knowledge of a municipal electric system, departmental budgeting, and long range electrical system planning. The Electrical Superintendent reports directly to the City Administrator. The ideal candidate will display excellent communication, leadership and supervisory skills for this position. Candidates must also demonstrate the ability to engage the general public and address any electrical outages or concerns. Candidates must possess a Class A Driver’s license and are subject to any random drug and alcohol testing. Salary range $29.00-$35.00 per hour (doq) with a competitive benefits package. To apply, submit a cover letter, resume, salary history and three work-related references to Andrew Bremseth, City Administrator, City of Volga.

Electronic: or mail to: PO Box 217, Volga, SD 57071. For more information or questions related to this position, contact Andrew Bremseth at (605) 627-9113. Resumes will be accepted until July 7 at 4:00 p.m. AA/EOE.

Heartland customers: send your classified ads to for free listing on Forward Thinking and in our monthly newsletter, The Power.