Electricity Rates Increasing Caused By Global Problems - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Electricity Rates Increasing Caused By Global Problems

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NEW YORK (AP) - The price of food is rising. The price of gas is rising. Now add electricity rates to the list.

Surging coal prices are behind it.  Despite an abundance of coal in the U.S., global factors are stoking demand.

Snowstorms in China this Winter cut production there, while heavy rains flooded mines in Australia.

Australia is the world's largest coal exporter.

Meanwhile, global demand for coal is rising, especially in China and India where it's needed to power their fast-developing economies.

That's put American coal at a premium.  The Energy Department says exports jumped nearly 20 percent last year and are expected to rise another 15 this year.

Central Appalachian coal is a benchmark grade and it's widely used by power plants. Its price has more than doubled from around $40 a ton early last year to almost $90 a ton now.