Last week, State Rep. Nino Vitale (R-Urbana) unveiled a new version of House Bill 246, legislation to purportedly modernize state agencies that regulate utilities. The bill would impose new risks on manufacturers and could give utilities even more sway over the regulations that govern them. It would also provide monopoly utilities an unfair advantage against competitive energy companies, including developers of renewable energy and electric vehicle charging businesses. Other provisions of HB 246 would diminish the role and voice of customer advocates in proceedings before the PUCO.
Also, the bill would create a natural gas supply access investment program within the Ohio Public Works Commission. The Commission traditionally coordinates the construction of public buildings and infrastructure financed from state approved bonds, which does not include privately-owned energy infrastructure. This provision appears to bypass market economics.
The OMA will convey its concerns to the General Assembly in the coming weeks. View our preliminary analysis. 6/11/2020