Energy Plan Reaction: Consumer Group Concerned over Conservation

Mandatory conservation measures in the U.S. energy policy could harm consumers with higher prices, according to Consumer Alert.

WASHINGTON, DC, US, 2001-05-18 <> Consumers can only benefit from expanded energy supplies and their attendant lower prices after a decade of energy-suppression policies, and the group applauded the policy’s continued resistance to price controls on electricity, which create shortages and discourage investment in new power generation, exacerbating the problem over the long term. “After years of anti-energy policies, it’s good to see a serious effort to open up the marketplace and allow consumers the opportunity to buy abundant, affordable energy,” says executive director Frances Smith. “New technologies allow for cleaner and safer oil and gas exploration over greater areas with greater yields – and there’s no reason why consumers shouldn’t benefit from that.” Forced conservation measures will come at the expense of consumers, especially those who can least afford it. “There’s nothing inherently wrong with making a personal choice to conserve,” adds policy analyst James Plummer. “Consumers are best able to decide where and how they want to cut back on energy use.” Consumer Alert welcomes increased exploration and transmission capacity measures, and says expanding nuclear energy “will, hopefully, be enough to overcome continuing market-distorting subsidies given to other – politically popular, if not economically feasible – forms of power generation” and result in lower prices to consumers.

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