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Lawmakers Propose Natural Gas Infrastructure Incentives

April 19, 2024

A plan to establish loans for local governments and a tax break for natural gas companies to extend the fossil fuel to more Ohio communities is currently under consideration in the Ohio House.

House Bill 349, sponsored by State Reps. Tim Barhorst (R-Fort Loramie) and Don Jones (R-Freeport) would allocate $20 million for a revolving loan program to aid local governments with acquiring natural gas pipeline easements in such zones. 4/17/2024

Former PUCO Chairman Sam Randazzo Found Dead

April 12, 2024

On Tuesday, Apr. 9, former Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Chairman Sam Randazzo was found dead from apparent suicide.

Randazzo had been indicted in both federal and state courts for taking bribes from FirstEnergy while serving as PUCO Chair. FirstEnergy had admitted to the bribe during a deferred prosecution agreement.

This is the second suicide to follow the ongoing House Bill 6 investigation. Neil Clark, a longtime Columbus lobbyist, was found dead by a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 2021 at his home in Florida.

Former Speaker of the Ohio House Larry Householder was also convicted in June and is currently serving a 20 year sentence. 4/09/2024

Investigation Sheds Further Light on Cozy Relationship Between Sam Randazzo, First Energy

April 5, 2024

The ongoing investigation of House Bill 6 and trial of former Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) chairman Sam Randazzo has shed new light on the cozy relationship between the former regulator and First Energy.

Court records filed last Friday show the close relationship the former PUCO chair had with executives at First Energy. This includes attending Christmas parties with FirstEnergy executives, sending memes celebrating the passage of bills benefiting the energy company, and most infamously, Randazzo dressing as a superhero (pictured above) and texting the picture to FirstEnergy’s then-senior Vice President of External Affairs Michael Dowling among others.

Randazzo is accused of being paid $4.3 million to work on FirstEnergy’s behalf to save the utility money and pass House Bill 6, which bailed out two FirstEnergy-owned nuclear power plants.

Randazzo is also accused of skimming money off side deals he crafted between utilities, including FirstEnergy and American Electric Power, and his large industrial user clients. 4/02/2024

PUCO Authorizes AEP Electric Security Plan

April 5, 2024

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) this week approved a settlement agreement authorizing AEP Ohio to implement a 4-year electric security plan (ESP), beginning Jun. 1, 2024.

According to the PUCO release, AEP Ohio will, under the new agreement, continue to source electricity for its customers through a competitive bidding process.

In addition to significantly reducing the over $4 billion in new and increased charges to customers that AEP initially proposed, the settlement expands participation for both the Basic Transmission Cost Rider (BTCR) Pilot and the interruptible program.

The OMA Energy Group’s successful negotiations ensured continued Pilot participation for members that participated during ESP IV or under a reasonable arrangement at all sites, with an opt-out option in the ESP’s second year and the ability to replace members who opt out with different members. The negotiations also secured continued interruptible program participation for members who participated during ESP IV.

The OMA will be discussing the settlement at the next Energy Group Committee on May 8. 4/03/2024

OPSB Approves Largest Solar Power Project in Ohio

April 5, 2024

The Ohio Power Sitting Board recently approved Oak Run Solar’s proposal despite heavy local government pushback.

The 800-megawatt facility and an accompanying 300-megawatt battery energy storage system in Madison County is the largest solar project approved in Ohio to date and represents the nation’s largest agrivoltaics project. 4/03/2024

Former Speaker Larry Householder Indicted on 10 Additional Charges

March 29, 2024

Former Ohio Speaker of the House Larry Householder was indicted this week on 10 additional felony charges relating to the ongoing HB 6 scandal, including one that would bar him from holding any public office.

On Monday, a Cuyahoga County grand jury indicted Householder on additional charges, which include alleged misuse of campaign funds, ethics violations, and theft in office.

Householder served two separate terms as speaker, in addition to holding county office. 3/25/2024

Bricker Graydon LLP to Host Energy Exchange

March 29, 2024

On April 2, OMA Connections Partner Bricker Graydon LLP will host their Energy Exchange, discussing insights and the impact of interconnection reform at PJM and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) on all forms of energy development throughout Ohio.

Headlining the event will be Mike Volpe, Senior Vice President, Open Road Renewables; Ronald Paryl, Director, Markets and Risk Management, Advanced Power; and Devin Parram, Partner and Energy Practice Group Chair, Bricker Graydon. 3/25/2024

Former PUCU Chair Sam Randazzo Could Lose Law License

March 22, 2024

The former chair of Ohio’s Public Utilities Commission (PUCO) could be stripped of his license after a complaint was filed by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel regarding his connection to the ongoing House Bill 6 scandal.

The OMA is continuing to monitor the HB6 scandal and fallout as the investigation proceeds. 3/20/2024

OMA Preparing for Annual Energy Conference in September

March 15, 2024

The OMA is preparing for its 2024 Ohio Manufacturers’ Energy Conference on September 19th located at the Quest Conference Center.

Sponsorship packages are available for the conference. Contact Nick Miller for more information. 3/13/2024

Utility Master Plan Reveals Schemes to Fleece Ohio Customers

March 15, 2024

Newly obtained documents released in the HB 6 corruption investigation reveal that Ohio utilities produced a wish list of reforms, many of which were included in HB 6, and many that have been the subject of legislative or PUCO proposals since HB 6. The March 19, 2019 email that originated from an AEP executive to FirstEnergy Senior Vice President Mike Dowling, who was indicted under state corruption charges in February, suggests that utilities assembled a master plan to redistribute funds from customers to regulated monopoly utilities.

The AEP email that appears to have been used for a meeting with Larry Householder and FirstEnergy in April 2019 makes numerous suggestions for customer-funded subsidies for new utility-owned generation. The plan also schemes ways and charts out methods to further pillage customers to fund infrastructure beyond traditional ratemaking models. Finally, the plan allows utilities to own and control behind-the-meter technologies and rate base EV charging stations, authorize utilities to operate broadband networks, and pursue formula rates, known as alternative rate mechanisms, a concept contained in Senate Bill 102 (Wilkin) now pending in the Ohio Senate.

The document begs many questions and connects the dots on why all Ohio utilities supported HB 6. The OMA has obtained other related emails that will be included and discussed at the upcoming OMA Energy Committee on May 8. 3/7/2024