SIKESTON, MO (KFVS) - Talk of a possible 80 percent rate increase on electric bills because of coal plant regulations has many people on the Heartland worried.
Officials at the Sikeston Power Plant, which is a coal-plant, say government regulations are bringing big changes to operations. That could also mean big changes to electric bills.
80 percent of Missouri's power comes from coal.
Sikeston Power Plant Manager Rick Landers says the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is imposing new rules.
"What they've done is attacked is every component to the coal plant," Landers said.
Those rules, Landers says, will cost the plant big time.
"The MATS rule will add a million dollars a year of operating costs, which will be passed on," Landers said.
He is referring to a specific regulation that is aimed at cutting down on mercury emissions. According to the EPA, mercury and other chemicals are harmful to the environment.
"What we are basically dealing with is not regulation, it's over regulation," Landers said.
They are regulations that electric officials say don't stop at the power plant.
"As regulations go up, and it's harder to generate with coal, it's going to cost our members more," CEO of SEMO Electric Cooperative Sean Vanslyke said.
That news is what really hits home for locals.
"[It is] very scary," Dexter resident Lola Smith said. "How are we going to make it?"
Vanslyke says they already use power sources other than coal like wind and solar power.
"We are doing a lot of renewable energy. It's just that the majority of our electricity is generated with coal right now," Vanslyke said.
Landers says the more costly the regulations, the more likely coal will become a thing of the past. He says the most immediate regulation goes into effect next year.
Vanslyke says if you'd like to voice your concern about the possible rate increases, visit action.coop
He is also encouraging SEMO Electric Cooperative members to fill out the card regarding this issue you received with your bill and return it to the office.