News and Analysis
In its lame duck session, the General Assembly passed and sent to the governor HB 554, a bill that makes the implementation of the state’s energy standards optional for electric utilities, for two years.
The bill, which was purported to be needed to save electricity customers money, will likely do the reverse. It does this because of provisions that allow electric utilities to collect profit (and thus cost to customers) in new ways. These profits could be significant, and with little customer benefit.
Fortunately, the bill provides the option for most businesses to opt-out of the program and its cost, but not until January 1, 2019.
Governor Kasich is reported to be considering a veto of the measure.
Read more in this technical analysis. 12/15/2016
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Nominating Council is seeking applications for the position of commissioner of the PUCO to fill two vacancies. The first is for an unexpired term commencing upon appointment by the governor and ending on April 10, 2020, and the second for a five-year term that begins on April 11, 2017. Applications must be delivered to the Nominating Council no later than 5 p.m. EST on Jan. 12, 2017.
The PUCO Nominating Council is a broad-based 12-member panel that screens candidates for the position of PUCO commissioner. The PUCO is comprised of five commissioners appointed to rotating, five-year terms by the governor. The commissioners are responsible for regulating Ohio’s investor-owned public utilities.
Read more here. 12/13/2016
The PUCO chief of staff, Jason Rafeld, announced his resignation this week, effective the end of the year. His successor has not yet been announced.
The OMA has worked with Jason during his service at the PUCO, the Ohio Department of Education, and the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.
Best wishes on your next endeavor, Jason. 12/15/2016
The stage is set for battles at the Ohio Statehouse to roll back electricity deregulation. In one corner are two major Ohio utilities and in the other corner are the consumers and independent power plant producers. In an environment of historically low energy prices and generation technology advancements, the traditional utility generators simply cannot compete. So rather than trying to compete they would like their good old fashioned monopoly back. But what would such a move mean to consumers of energy in Ohio?
In the first known study of its kind, Cleveland State University in partnership with The Ohio State University attempted to quantify the impact electric deregulation has had on Ohio consumers. The 60-plus page study concludes that over the course of the past five years, electric deregulation has saved Ohio consumers $15 billion and is expected to continue at this same pace for the next five years.
House Bill 554 (Amstutz-R-Wooster) was revised late last week to weaken both Ohio’s efficiency and renewable energy standards and expand customers’ ability to opt-out from efficiency-related riders.
One amendment afforded utilities the ability to earn even more profit for lower performance in their energy efficiency programs. The OMA asked legislators to remove that provision.
Other amendments may be added to the bill before the final vote, which was expected late yesterday.
There is speculation (at time of this publication) that Governor Kasich could veto the entire bill. 12/8/2016
PUCO commissioner Howard Petricoff announced last week that he would step down from his position after a Senate panel recommended the rejection of Gov. John Kasich’s appointee.
The OMA had supported Petricoff’s appointment to the position. We’re disappointed in this development. 12/7/2016
Northeast Ohio Electricity Consumers: Opt Out of NOPEC Aggregation by Dec. 12 to Retain Shopping RightsDecember 9, 2016
The Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC) helps Northeast Ohio consumers save on electricity costs by selecting aggregation programs for them.
However, manufacturers may be able to negotiate better electricity prices and terms by shopping. If you are currently shopping or plan to shop your generation, you should opt-out of NOPEC aggregation to ensure your right to shop to any generation provider of your choice.
Opt out of the NOPEC aggregation by returning the NOPEC opt-out card received via mail or by calling NOPEC customer care at 855-667-3201. Also, consider adding your company to the PUCO ‘do not aggregate’ list. NOPEC must receive your opt-out by December 12.
OMA Energy Guide, an OMA member service, makes it easy to get expert energy management advice and energy quotes for your facility. Energy Guide services cost nothing for OMA members. Call (614) 888-8805 ext. 105 or email. 2/7/2016
Dayton Power & Light (DP&L) has filed a proposal with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) that, if approved, will allow it to impose more above-market charges on customers in its service area. The estimated cost of the rider is more than $1 billion over seven years. The rider will not be by-passable by shopping to another generation supplier.
Estimate your company’s potential cost here.
In 1999, Ohio moved to allow customers to shop for electricity generation in order to establish the benefits of competition. Since that time, through various riders approved by the PUCO, DP&L customers have already paid $1.8 billion in above-market charges.
The DP&L proposal will be litigated at the PUCO beginning this month. The OMA Energy Group is actively opposing the measure. OMA Energy Group member Tom Lause, VP & Treasurer, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., filed this testimony in the case.
The stakes are high. The PUCO recently approved a $1 billion subsidy for FirstEnergy that will cost its customers $204 million annually for, likely, five years.
With just a few days remaining of the 131st General Assembly, majority Republicans are rushing legislation to prevent the state’s energy standards from fully going back into effect in January.
The Senate heard hours of mostly opponent testimony this week on SB 320. In the House, after numerous witnesses, mostly opponents, offered testimony, a new substitute version of the bill was accepted. The new sub-bill contains several changes that can be viewed in this comparison document. A few amendments were also included before the committee voted the bill. The full House is expected to vote the bill on Tuesday.
Even though the governor has threated to veto a bill that weakens the energy standards or extend the freeze, the bill sponsor and Speaker Pro-Tem Ron Amstutz was quoted by Hannah News as saying, “I think that conversation is still going on, but I could say that the dynamics are leaning toward the House bill’s being the vehicle … I think it’s extremely close to the governor’s position — much closer than earlier versions.” 12/1/2016
Earlier this year Governor John Kasich appointed veteran energy attorney M. Howard Petricoff to a vacancy on the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO). These appointments are subject to Senate confirmation. This week, members of the Senate Public Utilities Committee voted along party lines to withhold support for the confirmation of Commissioner Petricoff. If the full Senate votes to withhold support for Mr. Petricoff’s appointment in the remaining days of session, then the commissioner would be unable to continue to serve.
The Senate Committee chair, Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati), said the vote against Petricoff wasn’t about his qualifications or character, but because of his past involvement in energy lobbying. The OMA supported Mr. Petricoff’s appointment. It’s the worst-kept secret around the Statehouse that utility lobbyists don’t favor Commissioner Petricoff. 12/1/2016