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Family Businesses Can’t Afford to Lose Access to Reliable Electricity

Dependable, low-cost electricity is vital to family businesses, as it is to households. Anything that compromises that, must be opposed.

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Dependable, low-cost electricity is essential to keeping the lights on for millions of American family-owned businesses. It is the type of essential item that touches nearly every aspect of our lives; the bakery relies on ovens, the repair shop on power tools, and the local grocer on refrigeration, and on and on. A consistent and affordable power source ensures that they can operate without interruption and keep prices competitive for their customers despite low margins and a fragile economy. Unfortunately, misguided federal policies now threaten to further disrupt our electric grid and could cause these business to shutter.

In the last several years, the U.S. has rapidly pivoted from a common sense, ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy to one motivated by the singular desire to eliminate fossil fuel-generated electricity. That goal of a energy change could even be somewhat defendable if not for the fact that our economy and power grid are clearly not ready for the rushed and reckless transition that federal regulators are rushing.

Like all other areas of the economy, energy markets adhere to the basic laws of supply and demand. Regulators have distorted the sector to force conventional power plants into early retirement, reducing total power generation and increasing prices. The Biden Administration has backed these actions based on the dubious claim that positive incentives for solar and wind projects will allow new arrays and wind farms to fully replace conventional power plants.

But reality eventually catches up, and while regulators been successful at pushing the margins to the point where many traditional power plants are struggling to compete financially, they have failed to create the conditions necessary for the rapid deployment of new technologies to replace these important resources. For reasons ranging from permitting to logistics to expense, thousands of renewable energy projects have been delayed for years, in some cases past the planned retirement dates of the existing plants they are meant to replace. All of this comes at a high cost to family businesses like manufactures which rely on affordable energy to keep their doors open and their workers employed.

Family businesses shouldn’t be made to – and can’t afford – to foot the bill for a haphazard and artificial shift to new and unproven technologies before our grid is ready for it. And while an eventual energy transition is inevitable, recent blackouts in Texas, California, and other parts of the country reveal just how far we are way from that occurring organically. Despite the best efforts of a small group of activist regulators, thermal power generation – coal, natural gas, and nuclear included – remain a critical part of our energy mix.

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Small businesses all over the country are hoping that keeping energy prices from further inflation could still be a rare point of bipartisan consensus in Washington. Before the situation worsens, and irreversible harm is done to the backbone of America’s economy, policymakers must realize that abandoning the “all of the above” approach before the country is prepared will result in more business closures and therefore less jobs in our communities.

This article was originally published by RealClearEnergy and made available via RealClearWire.

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Palmer Schoening is Chairman of the Family Business Coalition (FBC), a collection of over 150 associations focused on repealing the death tax and improving the tax code for family businesses. FBC was the driving force pushing Congress to increase amount of lifetime savings families may now protect from the estate tax in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a change which makes it possible for thousands more family businesses and farms to pass to the next generation. FBC has led successful campaigns to repeal death taxes in Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and improve laws in New York, Maryland, and Washington, DC. Schoening’s government affairs and consulting firm represents the Heating Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International, the National Association of Electrical Distributors, the Forest Landowners Association and his work is consistently focused on lowering taxes on America’s small businesses. Palmer is graduate of Hillsdale College where he studied economics and George Mason University’s School of Public Policy. National outlets including Forbes, Bloomberg, Reuters, and Financial News have featured Palmer’s insight on various tax policy issues.

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