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OMA: Stop the Utility Giveaway

June 2, 2023

As previously reported, the OMA has sounded the alarm regarding a House-approved utility law proposal in the state’s two-year budget (House Bill 33), which is currently before the Senate for consideration.

The provision would erode important customer protections while allowing electric utilities to be fully compensated by ratepayers for potential “economic development” or “infrastructure” projects — regardless of whether the projects were used or came to fruition.

Kim Bojko, the OMA’s energy counsel, this week urged the Senate Finance Committee to remove the House provision when it unveils its substitute bill, expected next week. Watch and read Bojko’s testimony. 5/31/2023

They’re Here: Electricity Price Hikes

June 2, 2023

June is here — and Ohio businesses and residences using their electric utility’s standard service offer rate (SSO) will soon be feeling the effects of price spikes fueled by recent auction results for generation. (In late April, the OMA hosted this webinar to help members avoid or mitigate price increases.)

AEP Ohio customers with an SSO are expected to see a 28% increase. For FirstEnergy customers, the increase could be around 47%, reports say. 6/1/2023

What’s the Latest in the House Bill 6 Scandal?

June 2, 2023

In an update on the House Bill 6 scandal, the Ohio Capital Journal notes that two former FirstEnergy executives, who together directed more than $60 million in corporate cash to former Speaker Larry Householder’s dark money campaign, “fear they are next in line for indictment.”

Former FirstEnergy CEO Chuck Jones and former Vice President Michael Dowling were recently denied their request to postpone sworn depositions in a massive class-action suit against FirstEnergy. Read more. 5/31/2023

Permitting Reform in Federal Debt Ceiling Compromise

June 2, 2023

Important energy permitting reforms were included in the debt ceiling compromise agreed to by federal leaders this week.

The compromise includes faster reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act by requiring a single federal agency to lead environmental reviews for infrastructure projects. It also establishes a one-year deadline for agencies to issue environmental assessments and a two-year deadline for environmental impact statements.

The deal omitted transmission construction mandates, reports say. Some experts have said the U.S. needs to double the rate of transmission expansion to meet the Biden administration’s goal of a net-zero grid by 2035. 6/1/2023

OMA Opposes Latest Utility Ratemaking Bill

May 25, 2023

The OMA has long advocated for eliminating Ohio’s Electric Security Plans (ESP) ratemaking process, which has produced a windfall for electric utilities. Utilities and their supporters in the Statehouse have opposed such reform, as highlighted by a bill currently before the Ohio Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee.

Senate Bill 102, which received a second hearing this week, would continue Ohio’s above-market electricity charges while reducing customer protections. (A similar measure, House Bill 317, failed to garner adequate support late last year, largely due to OMA opposition.)

The OMA has published this three-page analysis of SB 102, concluding the bill would continue to award utilities with excessive profits while upending the traditional ratemaking process for all regulated utilities.

The OMA opposes SB 102 and encourages lawmakers to introduce language similar to 2017 legislation that would have repealed the ESP ratemaking process. 5/23/2023

AEP Ohio Seeks Another Price Hike

May 25, 2023

As Ohio manufacturers and families prepare for electricity price spikes starting in June, AEP Ohio has asked the state’s public utility commission to authorize another price hike beginning in 2024.

According to reports, if the PUCO approves AEP’s most recent Electric Security Plan application, it would increase customer costs by 2% annually between June 2024 and 2030. 5/24/2023

Report: China Is Breaking Solar Power Records

May 25, 2023

China is on pace to add more solar panels this year than the U.S. current total, reports say. The drivers of China’s solar boom are growing demand for electricity and falling costs for solar technology, according to Bloomberg. 5/23/2023

Senate Energy Leader Meets With OMA Members

May 19, 2023

The OMA Energy Committee this week held its Q2 meeting, sponsored by OMA Connections Partners Freepoint Energy Solutions, Go Sustainable Energy, and Vistra. In addition to briefings on energy-related activity at the Statehouse and PUCO, highlights included:

  • A conversation with Sen. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin), chair of the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee;
  • The energy engineer report by RunnerStone LLC, which, among other things, examined recent developments at PJM and FERC and their potential impact on Ohio; and
  • Updates on the electricity and natural gas markets.

The OMA will hold its Ohio Manufacturers’ Energy Conference on Sept. 13 at the Quest Conference Center in Westerville. More details, including how to register, will be coming soon. 5/18/2023

Michigan Seeks Emergency Shutdown of Line 5

May 19, 2023

Michigan’s attorney general has asked a federal court to close the Line 5 pipeline in Wisconsin. The pipeline operator, Enbridge, insists it’s in compliance with all applicable codes. See this report and infographic.

The OMA is on record in support of the pipeline. Studies show if Line 5 were no longer operational, Ohio would bear the brunt of roughly $20.8 billion in economic losses. 5/18/2023

As Householder Awaits Sentencing, Report Shows Who Funded His Non-Profit Supporting House Bill 6

May 19, 2023

While FirstEnergy provided most of the funding for Generation Now — former Speaker Larry Householder’s “dark money” non-profit, which was at the epicenter of Ohio’s largest corruption scandal — the utility wasn’t the only entity bankrolling the House Bill 6-related effort. reports that trade unions, nursing homes, casinos, shale gas interests, AEP, and others also helped fund Generation Now, which has admitted involvement in the bribery scheme.

Householder is scheduled to be sentenced June 29. 5/15/2023