As a small business owner, I know the importance of understanding and relating to customers. My business, which ships specialty sauces, salsa and soups around the country, is all about knowing what my customers like. But in the last few years, it's become apparent that more American families aren't as worried about whether they can afford a nice jar of salsa, they're worried about whether they can afford a gallon of milk.

To keep my business running, I need to keep costs low for my customers -- the last thing I want is to raise prices. Electricity prices are a big concern for me. And on a tight budget, I can only account for so much to go toward the electricity bill before I have to pass this cost onto my customers.

Luckily for me, I live in a state where more than 70 percent of the energy is powered by coal. Nebraska's dependence on coal has had tremendous results that businesses and families can appreciate. Our state has the 11th lowest electricity prices in the U.S.

I've recently learned how coal-generated electricity helps keep costs affordable for families and businesses like mine. When small business owners in Nebraska and around the country use electricity generated by coal power, they are using the most reliable and affordable energy source available. And as I look at coal pricing over the last few decades, I've seen one very important fact: it's stable. There is little fluctuation in the already affordable cost of coal from year to year. In our uncertain economic times, confidence in low-cost electricity is one fewer obstacle to overcome on the road to recovery.

As a country, we need to use the resources we have here at home. At the end of the day, when I flip on the lights in my warehouse, I want to power my business with something that is reliable, stable and affordable. It has become very clear to me that coal-based electricity provides all three.

Todd Westby is a small business owner who sells food products at SoupsOnline, SalsaExpress, and theMonthClubStore.