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Manufacturers Blast New Hydrogen Tax Credit Rules

December 28, 2023

The National Association of Manufacturers has criticized the Biden administration’s newly proposed regulations impacting the federal Clean Hydrogen Production Tax Credit. The rules would impose many hurdles to qualifying for the credit while blocking job-creating investments, the NAM says. 12/26/2023

Bill Aims to Alter PUCO Appointment Process

December 28, 2023

House Bill 363 has been introduced to reform the appointment process for the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. Among the changes would be a requirement that one of the five commissioners be selected by the governor from a list provided by the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel. This report by Gongwer News Service provides further details. 12/26/2023

Experts: Take Advantage of Lower Energy Prices

December 21, 2023

The El Nin͂o weather pattern has brought above-normal temperatures to much of the U.S., resulting in lower energy prices. OMA Connections Partner Scioto Energy reports that as of mid-December, natural gas and electric power prices had tumbled 28% and 10%, respectively.

Gas and electricity pricing will continue to be under pressure this winter due to lower heating demand, natural gas storage levels above the five-year average, production at all-time highs, and no increase in LNG exports expected until late 2024.

Cold weather bursts will result in price volatility, but longer-term pricing is in a sweet spot not seen since before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to Susanne Buckley, partner at Scioto Energy. This is a good time to contact your energy advisor to take advantage of this market opportunity, Buckley said. 12/20/2023

Editorial: No FirstEnergy Rate Hike

December 21, 2023

As previously reported, the OMA and the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel have asked the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to pause FirstEnergy’s proposed $1.4 billion rate hike until more is known about former PUCO Chair Sam Randazzo’s role in the FirstEnergy-House Bill 6 scandal.

In a recent editorial, The Blade (Toledo) signaled its support for the OMA’s actions, writing that the association is “paying attention and protecting economic competitiveness.” Read the editorial. 12/18/2023

Ohio Senate Slips in Utility Giveaway

December 15, 2023

The Ohio Senate this week inserted a potentially far-reaching utility giveaway into House Bill 201, legislation to prohibit local governments from enacting EV mandates.

The OMA’s energy counsel, Kim Bojko, testified in opposition to the amendment, telling lawmakers that the new language was similar to a provision added to the state budget last summer. That provision was vetoed by Gov. Mike DeWine.

The new language in HB 201 authorizes more above-market costs on business and residential customers, while stripping long-standing consumer protections.

The amended version of HB 201 has since been approved by both chambers of the legislature, despite receiving little debate. Manufacturers concerned about the authorization of these unlimited charges on their natural gas bills should contact Gov. DeWine and ask him to veto HB 201. 12/14/2023

OMA to PUCO: Pause FirstEnergy’s $1.4B Rate Hike

December 15, 2023

The OMA Energy Group has joined the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel in calling on the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to pause FirstEnergy’s proposed $1.4 billion rate hike. The increase would impact approximately two million customers.

As reported by The Blade (Toledo), this comes after last week’s federal indictment of Sam Randazzo, the former PUCO chair who has been charged with 11 counts of bribery and embezzlement crimes in connection with the investigation tied to the House Bill 6/nuclear bailout scandal. 12/12/2023

Manchin: ‘Horrible’ Hydrogen Tax Credit Rules Coming Next Week

December 15, 2023

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) told reporters this week that the U.S. Treasury Department will soon release “horrible” guidance for claiming hydrogen production tax credits, authorized by the federal Inflation Reduction Act. According to Manchin, the new rules will make it too hard to qualify. 12/14/2023

Grants Aim to Help Manufacturers Save Energy

December 15, 2023

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced a new energy savings grant that offers up to $300,000 to eligible manufacturers.

In this summary, OMA Connections Partner CliftonLarsonAllen reports that the Industrial Assessment Centers Implementation Grant Awards are aimed at small- and medium-sized manufacturers to help them save energy and reduce emissions.

The application deadline for the next review cycle is Dec. 31. 12/14/2023

Former PUCO Chair Indicted for Bribery, Embezzlement

December 8, 2023

Sam Randazzo, the former Public Utilities Commission of Ohio chair, has been charged with 11 counts of bribery and embezzlement crimes in connection with the ongoing investigation tied to the House Bill 6/nuclear bailout scandal.

On Dec. 4, Randazzo surrendered to the U.S. District Court in Cincinnati, according to this press release. He allegedly received more than $4.3 million from FirstEnergy and its affiliates to provide favorable rulings and results when he was PUCO chair from April 2019 to November 2020. If convicted as charged, Randazzo faces up to two decades in prison.

Ohio Capitol Journal details the bribery indictment and Randazzo’s “coziness” with FirstEnergy. Stay tuned for more on this development. Meanwhile, consumer advocates are saying the PUCO should investigate and review all FirstEnergy cases that were decided during former Randazzo’s time as chair. 12/6/2023

OMA Leads Opposition Against Flawed ESP Reform

December 8, 2023

Ohio’s Electric Security Plans (ESPs), authorized under a 2008 energy law, allow utilities to request customer charges that exceed market prices, thereby harming manufacturers. Two pending ESP bills are currently being considered by state lawmakers.

This week, the Ohio Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee held its fifth hearing on Senate Bill 102, which purportedly aims to overhaul the ESP ratemaking process but has drawn heavy criticism since its introduction.

As reported by Hannah News Service, Kim Bojko, the OMA’s energy counsel, led opponent testimony. (Watch the video.) She said the latest version of SB 102 would fail to end the abusive ESP process and excessive profits, while upending the traditional ratemaking process for all regulated industries — not just electric utilities. See this OMA summary.

Bojko noted that OMA-supported Senate Bill 143 offers a better way to address ESPs by actually abolishing them and pushing utilities toward market rate offers.12/5/2023