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News and Analysis

PUCO Hears Oral Argument in AEP Power Purchase Agreement Case

December 19, 2014

This week, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) held oral argument “for the limited purpose of enabling the Commission to clarify the legal and policy implications related to the AEP’s proposed Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) rider.”

Under this proposed PPA rider, AEP customers, rather than AEP shareholders, would assume the economic risk of operating several large generating units of the company for many years.  Here is an executive summary of the case and an analysis of potential costs to manufacturers.

OMA energy counsel, Carpenter Lipps & Leland LLP offered opposing argument on behalf of the OMA Energy Group and drafted this summary of the proceeding.

Additional intervenors who presented arguments opposing Rider PPA included the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, Industrial Energy Users-Ohio, The Kroger Company, Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy/Appalachian Peace and Justice Network, the Retail Energy Supply Association, Exelon/Constellation New Energy, and the Environmental Law and Policy Center/Ohio Environmental Council.

“MGP” Amendment Stalls in General Assembly

December 12, 2014

As the 130th General Assembly winds down, a legislative amendment that would saddle customers with remediation costs of long-obsolete “manufactured gas plants” (MGPs) remains at bay.  Manufacturers have been dogged in their opposition to the proposal that has twice before surfaced during this General Assembly.

The issue remains on appeal at the Ohio Supreme Court which is expected to rule in 2015.

OMA opposes customer-paid remediation of MGPs.  Congratulations to members who engaged against MGP.

PUCO Chairman Testifies, Again, at SB 310 Study Committee

December 12, 2014

The study committee established by SB 310, which froze the state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy standards for two years, heard testimony from Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Chairman Tom Johnson again this week.

Johnson answered a number of questions the committee members had asked at the committee’s previous hearing, and submitted extensive documentation.

Regarding a question of the cost-benefit analysis of the energy efficiency standard, Johnson testified:  “The PUCO has reviewed each utility’s energy efficiency and peak demand reduction program and determined that, thus far, the programs of each utility are cost effective.  In other words, the total energy cost savings of the customers, in the aggregate, exceeds the total costs of the program.”

Gas Line Extension Bill Passes

December 12, 2014

House and Senate members voted to approve HB 319, sponsored by Rep. Cheryl Grossman (R-Grove City), which permits a natural gas company to establish a rider to fund gas infrastructure development.

Representatives of Columbia Gas, the leading proponent, engaged members of the OMA Energy Committee earlier this year.  Subsequently, OMA worked to improve the bill through a series of amendments, adopted in recent weeks, that will protect manufacturers’ costs.

PJM Announces Final Proposed Changes to Capacity Market

December 5, 2014

PJM this week announced final changes to it’s Capacity Performance proposal, which would significantly overhaul electric capacity markets.  It is PJM’s second major revision of it’s proposal in as many months.  PJM’s Capacity Performance initiative is rooted in generator performance issues during the 2014 polar vortex, during which 20% of PJM’s electric generators failed.

Capacity prices, established by PJM markets, can range from 4% to 40% of a manufacturer’s electric bill.

Capacity Performance will be transitioned in over a number of years, to be fully implemented for the 2020/21 delivery year.

Reversing a previous decision, PJM will continue to pay for Demand Response (DR) and Energy Efficiency (EE) resources in the near term.   Inclusion of DR and EE in capacity markets lowers the price of capacity for all ratepayers, and produces revenue for participating manufacturers.  Additional impacts are summarized in this memo from OMA energy consultant, RunnerStone.

The OMA Energy Group had submitted comments to PJM on its Capacity Performance proposal.  A detailed report of PJM’s proposal and the cost and reliability implications for manufacturers will be provided at the OMA Energy Committee meeting on February 25, 2015.  Register here.

FERC Hearings on Rover Pipeline Continue

December 5, 2014

Federal regulators continued “scoping” meetings in Ohio this week to consider the planned Rover pipeline to be developed by Energy Transfer.

OMA Energy Committee Chairman Brad Belden delivered testimony in support of the new pipeline that will traverse Ohio to transport natural and gas liquids from the Utica and Marcellus shale plays.

Supportive companies are urged to file a letter of support.  Contact OMA’s Ryan Augsburger for information or assistance on how to participate in the comment process.