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Illinois Country Living

Doug Rye, licensed architect and the popular host of the "Home Remedies" radio show

Energy Solutions

Take it slow on changing energy policies
Doug gets on his political soapbox for just one month

Happy springtime! It will soon change, though. It will soon be summer and that means it will be hot. I’ve got some good tips in the next few months to help you get through the summer, but first things first.

I have been writing this column for six years. I must tell you that I love to do it. Based on the hundreds of calls that I receive from you folks about the column, it appears that we are helping you. I love it when you call and tell me that the information has helped make your energy situation better. I really love it when you tell me to keep up the good work and how important it is to have someone who really cares about the average Joe. Let me remind you that this is made possible by your electric co-op, which also cares about you. Please don’t hesitate to say thank you to your co-op.

I have decided not to give you an energy tip in this column. Instead, I would rather share with you a great concern that I have about some issues that could affect every one of us.

We live in a great country that seems to be changing at an extremely rapid pace. As I have written before, while we may all be reluctant to change, change is often good. However, changes that result from actions that are not well thought out can be disastrous.

The leaders of our nation are now considering several proposals related to the generation of electricity. These proposals are related to renewable energy, carbon emissions and climate change. Some of the proposals call for placing caps on the emission of carbon dioxide from power plants (and other industries, as well as cars, trucks, etc.) and charging utilities to pay at an auction for the right (allowances) to emit CO2.

This system will no doubt raise electricity rates for Americans, perhaps significantly, at a time when the nation is in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Other proposals would require utilities to generate a certain amount of electricity from renewable energy. While I support using renewable energy whenever possible, it isn’t wise to set unrealistic targets for the use of such energy. Doing so will only raise electricity costs and could even threaten the reliability of the electric grid.

Simply stated, these are very serious proposals and must be thoroughly considered. I think rapid decisions on these issues could lead to a gigantic new tax or taxes on the average Joe. Folks, I am not a politician nor am I an expert on climate change. I am an energy efficiency consultant. But I know that this is a very serious matter. I think we must let our voices be heard.

If you have a computer and Internet access, please visit the grassroots co-op member “Our Energy, Our Future” Web site sponsored by the nation’s electric cooperatives at

You can communicate with your congressional delegation through this site about the critical energy issues now under consideration. If you don’t have access to a computer, please write your representatives and senators and ask them to listen to the electric cooperative members as they consider the major energy policies before them.

The cooperatives are acting on behalf of their member-owners with regard to these issues, as they always do. Their mission, as it has been for more than 70 years, is to provide affordable and reliable electricity to you. They now need you to help them continue their mission. If you will do this, I promise to return to my normal self next month and help you get ready for summer!

More Information:

Doug Rye, the “Doctor of Energy Efficiency-the King of Caulk and Talk” can be heard on several different Illinois radio stations. Or you can go to his Web site at, e-mail him at, or call 888-Doug-Rye or 501-653-7931. You can also sign up for a free newsletter and order his “how to” videotapes.


© 2016 Illinois Country Living Magazine.
Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives

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