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News and Analysis

Key Points on Carbon Rules

August 15, 2014

The Partnership for a Better Energy Future (PBEF) has developed a useful document that summarizes key points about the aggressive U.S. EPA’s proposed carbon regulations.

The document is designed to communicate simply the issues raised by the regulations:  legal problems, economic impacts, electricity reliability, global context, process and timeline, lack of flexibility, technological achievability, use of 2012 as a baseline, and follow-up regulations on other industries.

It is a good document to share with elected officials.

FirstEnergy Calls for Regulation

August 15, 2014

In it Q2 earnings call, FirstEnergy announced a retreat from the Ohio retail market and a plan to ask the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to reregulate some of its generation plants.

FirstEnergy CEO Tony Alexander said:  “(W)e intend to exit the medium commercial and industrial or MCI and mass market retail channels as existing contracts expire, but we will continue to serve strategic large industrial and commercial customers as well as our governmental aggregation…”

Leila Vespoli, Executive Vice President, Markets and Chief Legal Officer, discussed the company’s recent PUCO filing to provide electric service for a three-year term from June 1, 2016 through May 31, 2019.

She said:  “We have named this plan, Powering Ohio’s Progress, as it provides numerous benefits that support reliable electric service, uplift our customers from volatility and retail price increases and encourages growth and development of the State’s economy.

A highlight of the plan is the Economic Stability Program which provides for a rider to cover the cost associated with the proposed purchase power agreement between the Ohio utilities and FirstEnergy Solutions.

The proposed PPA would dedicate the output of Davis-Besse, SAMA and a portion of OVEC for approximately 3,200 megawatt or an average of approximately 23 terawatt hours annually beginning in June 2016 and running through May 2031.”

In other words, the company would like to return to a regulated rate for that load, paid for by a rider on customer bills. 

PJM and PUCO Leaders Visit OMA Energy Group

August 1, 2014

Members of the OMA Energy Group this week held a discussion with Kerry Stroup of PJM Interconnection and Tom Johnson, Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.  Stroup described trends in electricity capacity and generation pricing.  Chairman Johnson discussed with the group the operation of the commission, as well as the state process for responding to the federally proposed carbon regulations of power plants.

PBEF Asks U.S. EPA to go Back to Drawing Board on Proposed Carbon Rules

July 25, 2014

The Partnership for a Better Energy Future (PBEF), of which OMA is a member, sent this letter this week to U.S. EPA’s Administrator Gina McCarthy laying out five high-level concerns with the proposed carbon standards for existing power plants.  This letter was sent in advance of a press call with executives from the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), U.S. Chamber, and other PBEF members.

The letter makes the following requests to EPA: 1) Go back to the drawing board on the proposed rule, and 2) At a minimum, expand the public outreach beyond the four scheduled hearings and extend the comment deadline by 60 days.

The five concerns expressed in the letter: 1) The rule will increase electricity prices and negatively impact the economy; 2) The method for calculating the proposed standards exceed EPA’s statutory authority; 3) EPA has failed to demonstrate that the targets and “building blocks” are technologically achievable; 4) The rule sets bad precedent for future regulation of other sectors; and 5) There has been inadequate public engagement and the agency is adhering to a rushed and arbitrary rulemaking deadline. 

Large-Scale Interstate Natural Gas Pipeline Planned

July 25, 2014

A major interstate natural gas transmission pipeline has been proposed that would transport product from Marcellus and Utica formations to delivery points in Ohio, Michigan and Ontario, Canada.

The ET Rover Pipeline, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners, is in the pre-filing process with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The Rover Pipeline Project as currently proposed will consist of approximately 380 miles of 36-inch and 42-inch diameter mainline pipeline, with capacity up to 3.25 billion cubic feet per day.

Here’s more information; see also map on page 4 of this document

Ohio Energy Standards: What Elected Leaders Said This Week

July 18, 2014

Following passage earlier this summer of legislation that revises Ohio’s energy standards (SB 310), state officials made comments this week hinting at things to come.  SB 310 froze energy efficiency and renewable energy standards and created a panel of legislators to study the costs and benefits of the standards.

Ohio Speaker of the House William Batchelder told Hannah News Service that he expects swift action on the SB 310 study committee, implying that appointments could come as soon as September.

In responding to reporters’ questions, Governor John Kasich defended his commitment to “green energy” telling an audience of regional chamber of commerce members near Mansfield that critics of the energy standards have two years to come up with an alternative.  The Columbus Dispatch reported that the governor said “If they don’t give us something that works, we go back to the old standards.”