News and Analysis
Energy News Network reports that former top Ohio energy regulator Sam Randazzo spent much of his $4.3 million payment from FirstEnergy on taxes, mortgages, and a loan to his daughter’s restaurant. The details were revealed in a May 15 federal court filing, according to a story by Ohio Capitol Journal. 5/17/2023
OMA policy meetings help members stay informed and collaborate — and they’re a key benefit of OMA membership.
On Thursday, May 18, the OMA Energy Committee will host its Q2 meeting, with in-person and virtual attendance options. Register here. In addition to updates on energy-related issues, members will hear from Sen. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin), chair of the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee.
See the remaining 2023 meeting dates for all OMA policy committees. 5/10/2023
In that state up north, environmental activists are calling on the Biden administration to shut down the Line 5 pipeline, according to reports. Studies have shown if Line 5 were no longer operational, Ohio would bear the brunt of roughly $20.8 billion in economic losses. The OMA is on record in support of the pipeline. 5/11/2023
The U.S. Department of Energy recently proposed a rule to impose significant new energy-efficiency standards on gas stoves. According to analysis by the conservative Heritage Foundation, the new rule would require gas stoves to consume 32% less energy, meaning more than 90% of gas cooktops would need to be redesigned by 2027. DOE estimates the rule would cost consumers an extra $32 million annually. 5/9/2023
In its May 4 editorial, The Blade (Toledo) takes aim at Ohio’s House Bill 79 — a bipartisan bill whose sponsors say will promote energy efficiency.
HB 79 could add more than $1.50 each month to electric bills to fund ratepayers’ conservation efforts or weatherization upgrades. Critics of the bill question if it was introduced “as a favor to FirstEnergy,” according to a separate Blade article.
In its editorial, the newspaper states that HB 79 would add more than $400 million to electric utilities’ bottom-line — and that “no Ohioan should trust the PUCO” to monitor these charges following the commission’s oversight of House Bill 6 provisions. Watch for forthcoming analysis on this bill. 5/4/2023
Ohio isn’t the only state with bribery scandals tied to electric utilities. In Illinois, four defendants have been found guilty of bribery conspiracy in a case involving former ComEd executives, who apparently arranged jobs, contracts, and money for allies of former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D) in exchange for favorable legislation.
Illinois Republicans have called for ethics reforms to fix what they say is a culture of corruption in Springfield.
Meanwhile, the Ohio Center for Journalism has published this article highlighting proactive steps Ohio regulators could take to reduce the risk of future utility corruption scandals, like the one related to House Bill 6. 5/3/2023
Reports say federal lawmakers are working to quickly reach a compromise on a bill to overhaul the nation’s permitting process for energy projects. The White House has said it supports U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W. Va.) permitting bill, indicating a possible split among Democrats. House GOP leaders are demanding that permitting overhaul language be part of any deal to raise the federal debt ceiling. 5/3/2023
In response to electricity price spikes that will soon hit Ohio businesses and residences using a standard service offer rate (SSO), the OMA this week hosted a virtual briefing to examine steps manufacturers can take to mitigate or avoid higher electricity costs.
In this OMA letter to House leaders, the association points out that HB 33, in its current form, would increase customers’ electric bills and erode important customer protections. The OMA will continue its fight to remove these harmful provisions as the budget-writing process moves to the Senate.
The House budget also contains language to block power companies from charging customers to build new electric vehicle charging stations, as reported by The Plain Dealer. The language would, however, allow utilities to pass on costs of “make-ready infrastructure,” including hardware that provides power to the stations. The OMA supports a more preferrable EV charging infrastructure plan. For updates, plan to attend the May 18 OMA Energy Committee meeting. 4/27/2023
Renewable sources are playing a larger role in electricity generation, but intermittency issues could limit future growth. This infographic, published by Visual Capitalist, illustrates a typical week of generation and highlights ways to lessen intermittency challenges. 4/25/2023