News and Analysis
The American Petroleum Institute this week released a study quantifying the economic impact of the U.S. gas and oil industry.
The study includes economic impact state reports. The Ohio fact page touts an estimated $38 billion in annual economic activity and an estimated 16,000 manufacturing jobs supported by the industry. 8/2/2017
The state’s Energy Loan Fund is now accepting applications. The fund helps entities including manufacturers implement energy efficiency improvements to lower energy use and costs. Eligible applicants receive low-interest financing to install efficiency measures that reduce energy by at least 15 percent. Technical assistance is available to facilitate the required energy audit for potential applicants.
Loan amounts vary depending on the project from $250,000 to $2.5 million. Technical assistance is also available to help eligible applicants identify energy efficiency measures for their facilities.
Learn more here. 7/25/2017
This week, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) held phase two of its PowerForward examination into aspects of grid modernization, specifically exploring technologies including distributed generation, storage and micro-grids.
UTC, GE and Honda of America were among nearly two dozen presenters before members of the PUCO. Other speakers were from electric utilities, information technology firms and others.
Here’s video of the presentations. 7/27/2017
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has added another round of speakers and presenters for PowerForward: Exploring Technologies, and the final agenda is all set.
PowerForward, July 25-27 in Columbus, Ohio, is open to all. There is no need to register and the event is free to attend. 7/14/2017
Rep. Robert Cupp (R-Lima) has been tapped to chair the House Public Utilities Committee. Serving in his second term in the House, Cupp will bring to the post his extensive experience as a leading member of the Ohio Senate, county officeholder, appellate judge and Supreme Court of Ohio justice.
Cupp succeeds Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) who was recently elevated to House Majority Floor Leader.
The Public Utilities Committee is considering multiple bills that will impact customer electric costs and affect competitive markets for power. The House is expected to convene a task force on energy policy over the summer. 7/13/2017
Earlier this week the OMA, together with AARP, NFIB, Ohio Chemistry Technology Council and the Office of Ohio’s Consumers’ Council, urged the state budget conference committee to strike language that would have created a new way for utilities to obtain consumer-paid subsidies. The conference committee did just that, protecting customers from unwarranted electricity cost increases.
The Senate had inserted language into the budget bill that would have allowed utilities to increase rates to improve their corporate credit ratings.
In a press release OMA president Eric Burkland said: “The OMA commends the Conference Committee for recognizing that enabling Ohio’s electric utilities to raise customers’ electric rates to bolster the utilities’ credit ratings is bad public policy. Eliminating this provision from the budget bill will thwart the utilities’ latest ploy to seek a financial bailout by their customers by shifting ordinary business risk from shareholders to ratepayers.” 6/29/2017
In March 2017, OMA, and others, requested that the Supreme Court of Ohio overturn a PUCO order that awarded Duke $55.5 million from customers for cleanup costs associated with two former manufactured gas plants (MGP) that have not been in operation for 50-89 years.
OMA argued that the PUCO improperly applied the ratemaking statutes in Ohio that do not permit recovery of expenses associated with plants that were not used and useful in rendering service to Duke’s distribution customers during the test year.
Last week, in a split 4:3 decision, the court affirmed the PUCO’s order authorizing Duke to recover the cost to clean up the MGP plants.
The Coalition for the Expansion of Pipeline Infrastructure (CEPI) recently released a video on construction of the Rover Pipeline and the economic benefits that the project has created in Ohio. Watch the short video here. 6/23/2017
PowerForward is the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio’s (PUCO) review of the latest in technological and regulatory innovation that could serve to enhance the consumer electricity experience. Through the series, the PUCO intends to chart a path for future grid modernization projects, innovative regulations and forward-thinking policies.
Industry experts have been invited to provide presentations that will help the commission better understand the future electric distribution grid and how technological enhancements could affect different stakeholders.
The three-day phase one, “A Glimpse of the Future,” was held in April, and is recapped here.
The agenda and slate of speakers are now posted for July’s three-day phase two, “Exploring Technologies.”
Interested parties are invited to attend all or part of the July 25-27 event in Columbus. There is no need to register and the event is free to attend. 6/26/2017
State Rep. Mark Romanchuk (R-Mansfield) presented sponsor testimony for House Bill 247 this week to a packed session of the House Public Utilities Committee. The bill would reform statutes that have led to huge above-market electricity costs for Ohio consumers.
“House Bill 247 is pro-consumer, pro-business, and pro-markets,” Rep. Romanchuk said. “It creates an environment conducive to continued business investment, economic growth and job creation.”
The OMA and a coalition of consumer groups support the legislation that would: 1) Enable customers to obtain refunds of utility charges that have been collected from customers, if the Supreme Court of Ohio finds the charges to be improper, 2) Eliminate “electric security plans” that enable utilities to charge customers above-market prices for electricity generation, and 3) Clarify in the law that utilities and their affiliate organizations cannot own generation and, therefore, cannot layer generation-related charges on consumers’ electric bills.
Here is the coalition’s summary of the bill.
Contact OMA’s Ryan Augsburger to learn how you can support the effort. 6/22/2017