The OMA testified this week in the House Public Utilities Committee to oppose SB 310, which passed the Senate in the early hours of last Thursday. The OMA made specific recommendations for improvement.
OMA Energy Committee chairman Brad Belden of The Belden Brick Company detailed his company’s savings from AEP’s program implementing the standards: “So from the perspective of The Belden Brick Company – based on firsthand experience – Ohio’s energy efficiency standards and policies are producing documented, quantifiable benefits in the form of significant reductions in our electricity costs.”
OMA’s consulting energy engineer John Seryak of Go Sustainable Energy described how just one provision of the bill could “create unprecedented costs”: “(U)nder SB 310, energy savings that result from federal appliance standards and building codes would count toward utility compliance with their efficiency benchmarks. Savings from these federal standards already occur with no influence of utility efficiency programs. With this provision, utilities could meet their annual benchmark requirement with little effort. In doing so, they would provide no value to ratepayers, but they would not be precluded from taking profit. This would create unprecedented costs to consumers. Put another way, this provision would allow utilities to count “savings”, and take profit, from even the least efficient choice a consumer can make for most appliances.”
OMA energy counsel Kim Bojko of Carpenter Lipps & Leland noted that current law “contains some provisions that tilt the state’s regulatory framework in favor of the monopoly electric distribution utilities at the expense of consumers and consumer protection. The result in the ratemaking process is higher electricity prices for consumers and higher profits for the utilities…SB 310 does not address these cost-increasing features of current Ohio law.” Bojko outlined six OMA recommended areas for improvement of the bill.