As the November election draws near, polling shows what voters want when it comes to energy policy across both sides of the aisle – reliable, affordable and cleaner electricity through competition.
When it comes to energy and climate policy, it’s clear that both presidential candidates and political parties are looking for solutions that keep our economy moving forward while reducing emissions.
In the first presidential debate at Case Western Reserve University, more time was spent discussing energy and the environment than during all 2016 presidential debates. Tonight the vice presidential candidates will take their podiums to delve into the issues.
As the candidates lay out their respective platforms, we see that the cost to consumers and economic growth are a priority for all. And across the polls, the broader economy tops the list when it comes to voter concerns.
Competitive power markets are the bipartisan solution to achieving our nation’s shared goals: reliable energy that delivers on the promise of a cleaner future – without breaking the bank. When power generators and suppliers compete, there are more alternatives, increased pressure to keep costs low, and the incentive to innovate and deliver a better product.
As we look to the election and the year ahead, we’re tracking the energy questions at the top of voters’ minds – as well as key unfolding competitive energy policy issues. To keep our nation on the right course, policymakers should look to competitive power market solutions and avoid policies that reduce the benefits those markets provide and cede greater monopoly control to companies or utilities.
What Do Voters Want?
To better understand what voters want when it comes to energy policy, EPSA asked them directly. In a July poll conducted with Morning Consult, we asked nearly 2,000 voters questions relating to reliability, cost, power plant bailouts and emissions.
The poll results showed strong support for competition and consumer choice in electricity markets and significant opposition to policies that saddle consumers with higher bills through bailouts for power plants.
Voters overwhelmingly said they prefer reliable and affordable energy sources, with 90% of poll respondents saying it is important for the U.S. government to consider both when developing its energy strategy.
Faced with increased economic anxiety because of the COVID-19 pandemic, one-quarter of poll respondents said they could not afford an electricity bill increase of any amount. And 50% said they could not afford an electricity bill increase of $15 or less.
That point hits home in Virginia, where Dominion Energy (which holds a monopoly over power generation and customer sales) recently proposed plans to meet clean energy goals that would raise residential bills by more than $800 per year. Without competition, there is little alternative to find a more cost-effective path.
Voters have an interest in cleaner electricity sources. But they believe companies – not consumers – should bear the investment risk. That principle is the bedrock of competitive markets.
Check out the rest of our key findings here.
The question heading into 2021 is: what are the pragmatic, realistic policies that enable reliable, cleaner electricity without burdening consumers? The answer lies in a market-based approach that allows all solutions to compete to reduce emissions at the least cost to meet reliability needs.
Stay tuned for part two of our Energy & the Election series as we share how competition helps grow our economy and reduce emissions.