The Canton Repository published an op-ed this week from OMA Energy Group Chairman Brad Belden, Director, Support Services, The Belden Brick Company, the largest family-owned and operated brick company in America. He warned of “regulatory taxation” by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.
Belden wrote of the riders proposed in the AEP and FirstEnergy “purchase power agreement” (PPA) cases: “We estimate that Belden Brick’s share of the additional costs of this new rider to approach $1 million over the eight-year term of the agreement. The construction industry is still feeling the effects of the real estate collapse of several years ago, and our company is still struggling to turn a profit. Belden Brick did not have the government to turn to during this recent downturn. AEP and FirstEnergy should not have this option either …”
He said: “The markets for electricity in Ohio have been working to the benefit of consumers, but these proposed deals are a massive setback to the consumer-friendly efficiency of those markets. The impact would surely be felt by our employees and shareholders. Since Ohio deregulated its utilities, we have been able to shop for the best price on electricity generation, and that has helped keep costs down. … Lower energy prices mean more money to invest back into the business, into employee salaries and our community. That’s how the American free market works.”