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News and Analysis

How a Single Streetlight Spotlights Ohio’s Pricey Problem with Utility Riders

October 4, 2019

In case you missed it, this week published an article about a single streetlight in Cleveland that has illuminated “an abusive system of surcharges” resulting in “billions of dollars in subsidies for the state’s utilities.” The electricity bill for this streetlight — owned by a neighborhood association — has soared from around $8 in July 2008 to nearly $70 in July 2019, with only 38 cents of the total being for electricity.

Because the Ohio Legislature in 2008 authorized the use of “electric security plans” — which permit the addition of riders that go beyond the basic costs of distribution services and investment — Ohio ratepayers have paid $15 billion in subsidies to electric utilities since 1999, according one expert. Of course, this problem only gets worse under House Bill 6, the nuclear bailout plan passed and signed in July. 10/1/2019

This Week Showed Why Customer Load Management is Critical to Electric Grid Reliability

October 4, 2019

PJM this week issued an emergency demand response call to certain areas of the region’s electric grid, including AEP territory, as unseasonably warm temperatures combined with offline power plants to create electric capacity concerns. While Wednesday’s electrical load was not a peak event, many power plants were offline to conduct seasonal maintenance. The PJM service area experienced its highest October load since 2007 and issued emergency demand response alerts to AEP, Baltimore Gas and Electric, Dominion, and Pepco zones. DP&L, Duke, and FirstEnergy customers were not in the emergency area. Demand response calls went to curtailment service providers and customers on utility interruptible tariffs. Customer demand response was credited with keeping the power system up and running.

Demand response programs create voluntary revenue streams for manufacturers and other customers, while preventing the need to build costly power plants, which may only be needed for a few hours every few years — thereby keeping electricity prices lower for all customers. This week’s event highlights the importance of flexible power resources to maintain grid reliability. Contact OMA’s energy engineer John Seryak if you have questions regarding demand response, or concerns you experienced with Wednesday’s event. 10/3/2019

Shale Natural Gas Production Expected to Keep Growing

October 4, 2019

Steve Nalley, a top official with the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), recently briefed the National Conference of State Legislatures on the country’s natural gas outlook. The EIA projects the U.S. will export more energy than it imports in 2020 due in part to continued drilling for shale natural gas, particularly in the east. The growth in natural gas production — and the lower prices that result — will continue to provide competitive incentives for increased electrical power generation. Natural gas used for electric generation overtook coal in 2016. See Nalley’s PowerPoint presentation.10/1/2019

Ohioans Paying Higher Electric Bills — Even As Generation Costs Fall

September 27, 2019

This week, the Energy News Network and the Ohio Center for Investigative Journalism launched a series of reports on how Ohio utilities continue to reap windfalls from the public. This despite the promise of free-market competition made by policymakers more than a decade ago. The reporters chronicle increased distribution and transmission costs paid by customers to monopoly distribution utility companies — concluding that “utility-friendly lawmakers and regulators have shielded Ohio utility power plant affiliates from competition at customers’ expense.” Read the story.

The OMA has supported legislation to curtail the abuses, while the OMA Energy Group routinely engages in cases at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to protect the manufacturing sector. If you’re not already engaged, now is the time. Contact OMA staff to learn how. 9/25/2019

Ohio is a Leader in Energy Efficiency Jobs

September 27, 2019

Ohio is among the nation’s top states for careers in energy efficiency, according to a new report called “Energy Efficiency Jobs in America.” Published by E4TheFuture and the non-partisan business group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), the study ranks Ohio as ninth best, with 81,676 full-time energy efficiency jobs — excluding jobs in retail, vehicle efficiency-related work, and jobs tied to efficient manufacturing processes.

It’s estimated that more than 10,200 energy-efficiency businesses operate in Ohio, with a majority involved in manufacturing or construction. The report summary notes that nationwide, energy efficiency is the energy sector’s fastest-growing jobs producer, accounting for roughly half of the industry’s new jobs (151,700) last year. Meanwhile, the number of U.S. manufacturing jobs in energy efficiency stood at more than 321,000 — a 10% jump from 2017. 9/23/2019

Fake Petitions, More Ads: The Latest Tactics in Attempt to Stop HB 6 Referendum

September 27, 2019

Signatures continue to be collected to place a referendum on Ohio’s ballot to overturn House Bill 6 — the recently enacted law that forces Ohio customers to subsidize nuclear and other power plants. As we reported earlier this month, pro-HB 6 defenders are utilizing “blockers” to deter voters from signing the referendum petition.

This week, the pro-HB 6 defenders began circulating their own non-binding petition forms to further confuse voters. Also, they have begun airing yet another TV and radio advertisement that inaccurately portrays the Chinese government as the opponent to HB 6 — similar to the first ad.

The Energy News Network this week published a story on who is behind the Chinese conspiracy ads and the attempt to stop Ohio’s HB 6 referendum. 9/26/2019

Manufacturers Can Act to Overturn House Bill 6

September 20, 2019

At their quarterly board meeting this week, OMA leaders reacted to the misleading commercials being aired by a group seeking to block a referendum that could overturn House Bill 6 — the anti-market, nuclear power subsidy law. OMA members are reminded that if they support the referendum campaign to repeal HB 6, they can contribute to the Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts campaign and host a signature gathering at their facilities. Manufacturers can ask OMA staff how to arrange for signatures to be collected at your plant or office to foster the referendum and protect Ohio’s competitive power markets. 9/18/2019

Stay Informed with the OMA’s Energy Guide

September 20, 2019

Nuclear power bailouts. Utility riders. Changes in the wholesale electricity and natural gas markets. There’s a lot happening in Ohio’s energy world — and all of it affects manufacturers. Stay informed by reading the latest post in the OMA’s Energy Guide. 9/17/2019

HB 6 Referendum Gets Physical

September 13, 2019

As if the citizen-initiated repeal of Ohio’s nuclear power bailout (House Bill 6) wasn’t supercharged enough — thanks to millions of dollars spent on misleading advertising — the group defending the law went a step further this week. The beneficiaries of the HB 6 subsidies have hired field agents to “educate” voters who are being asked to sign petitions. Referendum supporters must gather 265,774 signatures from registered Ohio voters by Oct. 21 to place the question of HB 6 repeal on the November 2020 ballot.

This week, an altercation ensued in which a petition circulator appears to have been assaulted by a pro-HB 6 agent. Soon after, anti-HB 6 Ohio Citizen Action issued a cease and desist letter to pro-HB 6 Ohioans for Energy Security, with the former saying they would not be intimidated by “threats.”

Numerous OMA members have contacted staff inquiring how to support the referendum effort. Manufacturers can take action by contributing to the campaign. Also, manufacturers who are willing to allow signatures to be collected at the workplace may contact staff to invite a circulator. 9/12/2019

Ohio’s Oil & Gas Production Soars in Q2

September 6, 2019

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is reporting that oil production from Ohio’s horizontal shale wells jumped 29.54% during the second quarter of 2019, compared to a year ago. Natural gas production was up 10.81%. The wells produced 5,813,755 barrels of oil and 614,218,362 Mcf (614 billion cubic feet) of natural gas, according to the ODNR report.

At last check, the U.S. Energy Information Administration has Ohio ranked as the nation’s fifth-largest producer of natural gas and the 12th largest producer of crude oil. 9/3/2019