News and Analysis
All members are invited to the OMA Energy Committee meeting on Wednesday, February 25 from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at the OMA office (with lunch provided by OMA). A call-in option is available.
Here are just several of the planned agenda items: There will be a member spotlight on General Motors, which has a major energy project planned for its Lordstown facility; and we’ll cover utility Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) proposals before the PUCO – what they are and how they could impact consumers; and we’ll get up-to-date natural gas and electricity market reports.
The Energy Mandates Study Committee, a legislative body created by SB 310 last session, last week heard testimony from Ohio EPA and the PUCO, primarily about state analyses of federal proposals to regulate power plant emissions.
The committee is charged with making recommendations by September 30.
Michael Zimmer, Executive in Residence with the Voinovich School for Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University, shared perspectives on energy with the Governing Board of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel recently. Zimmer described how policy changes are stunting Ohio’s transition to a competitive electricity marketplace and slowing technological advancement.
At the request of staff of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), a hearing officer extended the time for analysis and review of the pending FirstEnergy rate case by 37 days. Staff had asked for 45 days; FirstEnergy objected, and asked for no more than 30 days; the hearing officer split the difference.
Hearings on the case are to begin April 13. In the case FirstEnergy asks the PUCO to require customers to take on the financial risk of operation of two generating units that are, according to the company, “uneconomical” in the market.
The American Shale & Manufacturing Partnership (ASMP), an informal group of organizations, held workshops across the country in 2013 and 2014 to examine the impact of abundant natural gas and oil due to shale development on U.S. manufacturing and to explore how to enhance the nation’s global competitiveness.
The ASMP supports the premise of an “American manufacturing renaissance through responsible shale development.” The resulting report, “Ideas to Empower America’s Emerging Shale-Based Manufacturing Renaissance,” suggests steps toward achieving the goal of a manufacturing renaissance.
AEP is making several changes to its energy-efficiency programs that are of interest to manufacturers.
First, AEP is expanding its successful Continuous Energy Improvement (CEI) program for small and medium manufacturers. The CEI program pays incentives to manufacturers to reduce energy use through low-to-no cost improvements, at a rate of 2 cents/kWh saved per year for three years.
Second, AEP is capping custom and prescriptive rebates at $25,000 per project. Manufacturers with projects larger than this can continue to apply for a larger rebate, but must do so through the auction-based Bid4Efficiency program. Many manufacturing efficiency projects receive greater than a $25,000 rebate. To avoid the project rebate cap for your project, make sure to apply through the Bid4Efficiency program.
Lastly, AEP has partnered with Key Bank to offer financing for energy-efficiency projects. If you are interested in the CEI program, Bid4Efficiency, project financing, or just need advice on how to get started with your efficiency projects, contact OMA energy consultant John Seryak.
The Energy Mandates Study Committee created by S.B. 310 last session will meet on February 5. An updated committee membership list reflects the addition of Rep. Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson), whom Speaker Rosenberger has appointed as co-chair.
FirstEnergy has suspended its energy-efficiency programs for 2015 and 2016 as provided for in S.B. 310. As a result, rebates for energy-efficiency projects are no longer available to FirstEnergy customers. However, customers will still be charged for the program via a rider unless they earn a rider exemption through the “Self-Direct” option (or exercise an opt-out option which is available only to very large “above-Primary voltage” electric service customers).
OMA urges manufacturers served by FirstEnergy to evaluate the Self-Direct out-out option to see if they qualify for a rider exemption.
Additionally, manufacturers can still receive incentives from PJM (the regional electric grid operator) for contributing their qualifying energy-efficiency projects to the capacity market through certain third party providers.
Contact OMA energy consultant John Seryak to see if your company can qualify for the FirstEnergy Self-Direct option, and to determine your eligibility for PJM capacity incentives. Self-Direct applications are available on FirstEnergy’s website (see Mercantile Customer Program). Please use OMA administrator code 50941 when applying for the Self-Direct exemption.
This week the returning co-chair of the Energy Mandates Study Committee created by SB 310, Sen.Troy Balderson (R – Zanesville), in an interview with Gongwer News Service announced plans for upcoming hearings of the legislative panel.
The sponsor of SB 310, Balderson said he intends to dive into 111(d) – the U.S. EPA proposal under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and other stationary sources – by inviting presentations from Ohio EPA and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. The agencies made public comment to the U.S. EPA in opposition to the proposal on behalf of the state of Ohio.
A formal committee announcement has not yet been issued nor has Speaker Rosenberger appointed a House co-chair of the study committee.
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Nominating Council met this week to interview applicants for the position of commissioner of the PUCO to fill a five-year term commencing on April 11, 2015.
As a result, the Nominating Council submitted these four finalists to Gov. John Kasich for his consideration: John W. Honabarger, Lancaster; Steven D. Lesser, Bexley; Andre T. Porter, Gahanna: and Tom Waniewski, Toledo.
Gov. Kasich has 30 days to select a nominee or request a new list of names from the Nominating Council. The governor’s appointment is subject to confirmation by the Ohio Senate.
The PUCO Nominating Council is a broad-based 12-member panel charged with screening candidates for the position of commissioner.