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OMA Supports Governor’s PUCO Appointment

June 24, 2016

Eric Burkland, OMA president, issued the following statement today supporting Governor Kasich’s decision to appoint M. Howard Petricoff to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio:

“Petricoff’s appointment to the PUCO is positive and welcome news for Ohio manufacturers. He brings to his new post at the Commission more than three decades of valuable institutional history and deep industry expertise that will enable him to fairly and effectively balance the needs of energy customers and energy suppliers alike. We look forward to working with Commissioner Petricoff on the energy issues that matter to manufacturers.”

Read more from OMA.

Ohio is Attracting New Power Generation

June 24, 2016

AEP Ohio, FirstEnergy and Dayton Power & Light argue that if Ohio does not act to approve their proposed above-market cost riders pending at the PUCO, their affiliated generation facilities will shut down, threatening the availability and affordability of electricity for Ohioans. They claim that adequate supplies of generation can be assured only if customers pay certain above-market charges to subsidize continued operation of their unprofitable power plants.

The truth of the matter is that major new power plant projects are in various stages of development throughout Ohio.  Nearly 65 GW of new generation has been built some 2000, and more than 25 GW is committed to be built in the next four years.

Here’s a look at those investments.

OMA Goes to FERC (again) to Block FirstEnergy

June 24, 2016

The OMA Energy Group again filed comments before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which had previously blocked the Ohio-approved power purchase agreements (PPA) from going into effect.  Since that decision in late April, FirstEnergy has modified its subsidy proposal to remove the problematic affiliate PPA and replace it with a virtual PPA.  OMA Energy Group continues to oppose FirstEnergy’s unlawful attempts to collect subsidies from ratepayers.

“The implementation of the virtual PPA will bestow upon FirstEnergy Ohio regulated utilities and likely their parent company and/or FirstEnergy’s Ohio market-regulated affiliates at least $3.6 billion in revenues from Ohio customers,” said OMA Energy Group counsel Kimberly Bojko of Carpenter Lipps & Leland in the OMA motion to intervene.

PUCO Nominating Council Narrows Field

June 17, 2016

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Nominating Council this week submitted the names of four finalists to be considered by Gov. John Kasich for the position of commissioner to fill an unexpired term ending April 10, 2020.

The Nominating Council recommended the following individuals: Sam Gerhardstein, Dave Hall, M. Howard Petricoff, and Gregory Williams.

The PUCO Nominating Council is a broad-based 12-member panel charged with screening candidates for the position of commissioner.

$8 Billion in Above-Market Charges, Already

June 10, 2016

Take a look at this infographic that shows that FirstEnergy and AEP have collected – or will collect – more than $8 billion in above-market charges from their customers from 2001-2018 as the generation market moved through the deregulation process.  That is, by regulatory fiat their customers paid, or will pay, $8 billion above the market.

This is no way to have a competitive, job-producing industrial economy.

Now, as you know, FirstEnergy and AEP Ohio continue to attempt to secure more non-bypassable customer subsidization of the utilities’ uneconomic power plants.  What they asked for would have resulted in another $6 billion in above-market charges.

Isn’t it time to stop punishing customers and allow the markets to work?

Shell Commits to Western PA Cracker

June 10, 2016

In big news for the region, Shell this week announced its commitment to build an ethane cracker in western Pennsylvania on the Ohio River.  The announcement comes five years after Shell initially indicated the plant’s potential siting in the region.

The company expects to begin construction in 18 months and production in the early 2020s.  Shell indicates the plant will produce annually 1.6 million tons of polyethylene from ethane coming from the Marcellus and Utica shales.  It’s a multi-billion dollar project is projected to create 6,000 construction jobs and 600 permanent jobs at the cracker.

Upcoming: Webinar about NEXUS Gas Pipeline Project

June 10, 2016

The NEXUS Pipeline stands to benefit manufacturers in Ohio and throughout the Midwest.  Access to reliable, affordable energy is a big competitive issue for Ohio manufacturers.

OMA is hosting a webinar with OMA Connections Partner, NEXUS, on Thursday, June 16 to brief manufacturers about the proposed project and how manufacturers can supply NEXUS project needs; whenever possible, NEXUS is commtted to using local suppliers.  Details here.  

Threats to Ohio’s Competitive Market for Electricity

June 3, 2016

Ongoing efforts by FirstEnergy (FE) and AEP Ohio (AEP) to secure non-bypassable customer subsidization of the utilities’ uneconomic power plants put the benefits of Ohio’s and the region’s electricity markets at risk.

In continuing its opposition to the utilities’ proposals to secure guaranteed profits for their uneconomic generation assets, the OMA Energy Group is standing up to protect energy markets.  The utilities’ efforts to add non-bypassable charges to the market-based price of power would cause electricity customers to pay above market prices, undermining the competitiveness of the state’s industrial economy.

Read an issue brief here.  Contact OMA’s Ryan Augsburger for more information.

AEP Asks PUCO to Extend Rate Plan

June 3, 2016

On May 13, AEP filed an application to extend and revise its current electric security plan (ESP) through May 2024.  This amended ESP proposal is an outgrowth of AEP’s PPA settlement case.

OMA Energy Counsel Kim Bojko of Carpenter Lipps & Leland has prepared a summary of AEP’s proposal.

Rover Pipeline Hearings: Chance to Support

June 3, 2016

Ohio EPA will hold five public information sessions/hearings regarding seven draft air permits related to the installation and operation of compressor stations in Carroll, Crawford, Defiance, Harrison, Monroe, Noble and Wayne counties.  The compressor stations are intended to facilitate delivery of natural gas along the proposed Rover pipeline.

The pipeline project is important to the development Ohio’s energy resources.

Citizens may testify at the public hearings or submit comments in writing to Ohio EPA prior to the close of the public comment periods.  Contact OMA’s Ryan Augsburger for more information.

Here is an Ohio EPA factsheet detailing the agency’s role in issuing air permits and considerations related to natural gas compressor station emissions.