Opinion by Bob Griffith
I also have enjoyed the experience of living with nearly 30 of my brothers in our chapter’s fraternity house. In addition to always having someone to hang out with, living in the house has taught each of us personal responsibility, like being respectful of roommates and paying our own share of the cable and electricity bills.
While this responsibility has helped us prepare for the future, it served as a pretty harsh reality check this past winter with heating costs so expensive that many of us in the house struggled to pay the bills.
We know already that costs are only going up when it comes to higher education. We’re bombarded with expenses for books, tuition and room and board while working toward a college degree. Now add higher utility bills to mix.
As a college student, I’m no stranger to doing my research, so I looked into what can be done to keep electricity costs lower.
For one, using less energy is important. It’s no secret that turning off lights when we’re not in the room, and setting the thermostat lower in the winter and higher in the summer all make a difference. But there is something else that can be done at the state and national level — and that’s using affordable energy resources we have here in the United States.
Many students and residents in general might not realize Iowa gets almost 60 percent of its electricity from coal. In large part because of this, our electricity prices in Iowa are among the lowest in the nation. But there is a concerted effort at the national level to reduce the use of coal, which could increase the price we pay for electricity. The Environmental Protection Agency, for one, wants to put regulations on coal power plants that could force many more to shut down than already have, even though they have become a lot cleaner over the years.
I agree with most in our generation that the environment should be a priority. Taking steps to be more energy efficient and reduce energy use is important. But as a college student, I am also aware that increasing costs for an education, a tighter job market and stagnant incomes don’t bode well for us, especially if basic costs like electricity continue to rise.
As our elected officials determine the best way to produce electricity in the future, it should be done in a responsible way that doesn’t burden up and coming generations with even higher costs for basic needs like electricity.
Griffith is a junior public relations and politics major and can be reached at email@example.com