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News and Analysis

Electric Security Plan Repeal Drastically Amended

September 24, 2021

This week, the House Public Utilities Committee accepted a revised version of House Bill 317, legislation originally introduced to repeal Ohio’s Electric Security Plan (ESP) law.

The latest version of HB 317 would still repeal ESPs, but replace them with a model called the Competitive Power Plan (CPP). On first review, the CPP shares some of the characteristics of the ESP process. The substitute bill would also provide a refund plan for customers if a charge were deemed inappropriate.

The OMA is reviewing all available information on HB 317; more details will be shared soon. Please contact the OMA’s Rob Brundrett with questions or thoughts on the bill. 9/23/2021

OMA Supports Repeal of Remaining Subsidies Authorized by Scandal-Ridden HB 6

September 17, 2021

This week, the Ohio Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee heard further testimony on legislation to repeal House Bill 6’s $20 million in annual subsidies for five utility-scale solar projects. Senate Bill 118 is sponsored by Sen. Mark Romanchuk (R-Mansfield), who — along with Sen. Hearcel Craig (D-Columbus) — is also proposing the repeal HB 6’s generous subsidies for two Ohio Valley Electric Corp. coal plants.

During this week’s hearing on HB 118, Kim Bojko, the OMA’s energy counsel, offered proponent testimony. (See this video beginning at the 1:13:15 mark.) She told lawmakers that repeal of the HB 6 solar provision would be “the fastest and fairest way to ensure no new or increased costs are put on consumers.” 9/15/2021

Ohio Resolution Urges Preservation of Rule to Deny State-Subsidized Generation

September 17, 2021

Last month, Ohio and Pennsylvania regulators criticized PJM Interconnection’s proposed update of its minimum offer price rule (MOPR) — originally created to address unfair advantages caused by state subsidies for electricity generators that participate in the grid operator’s wholesale capacity market. Under PJM’s new proposal, state-subsidized generation would not be subject to MOPR for reasons such as “environmental attributes” or “economic development.”

Now state Sen. Mark Romanchuk (R-Ontario) has offered Senate Resolution 175, urging PJM and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to preserve the original intent of the MOPR to ensure that electricity customers in states like Ohio aren’t forced to bear increased costs caused by subsidies “associated with other states’ generation resource preferences.” The OMA this week offered its support for SR 175. 9/15/2021

Illinois Clean Energy Bill Has Ramifications for Ohio Manufacturers

September 17, 2021

Earlier this week, the Illinois General Assembly approved a landmark energy bill that will have ripple effects in Ohio and throughout the PJM power grid territory. The Illinois Manufacturers Association opposed the bill, saying it would result in the largest electricity rate hike in the state’s history.

Among provisions of interest to Ohio manufacturers are restrictions that will phase out the Prairie State Energy Campus, which supplies many of Ohio’s municipal-owned power companies. Prairie State costs have hiked customer power bills in recent years. A new report suggests customers may be better off with the plant closed; however, Ohio municipalities will continue to be obligated to service bonds even if the plant closes.

Similar to Ohio’s House Bill 6, the Illinois legislation provides for nearly $700 million in subsidies over five years to three nuclear power plants that operate within the PJM market. 9/16/2021

Ohio’s Natural Gas Advantage Keeps Growing

September 10, 2021

Dry natural gas production from shale formations in the Appalachian Basin — which spans Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio — recently set new record highs, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

On its own, the Appalachian Basin would have been the third-largest natural gas producer in the world the first half of 2021, behind Russia and the rest of the U.S. 9/8/2021

OMA Energy Committee Hears From PJM Official

September 10, 2021

This week, the OMA Energy Committee met virtually for its Q3 meeting. Members heard from Asim Haque, former chair of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) and current vice president of state and member services at PJM — the regional transmission organization (RTO) that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in all or parts of 13 states, including all of Ohio.

Haque’s presentation provided PJM’s perspective on the RTO’s minimum offer price rule (MOPR) proposal, which would allow certain state-subsidized generation to participate in capacity auctions. The proposal has drawn criticism from the PUCO, as well as Ohio lawmakers. Haque predicted federal regulators would approve the plan.

The meeting also included a natural gas market trends report from Columbia Gas of Ohio and electricity market trends report from Scioto Energy, both OMA Connections Partners. 9/9/2021

Infographic: Each State’s Electricity Generation Mix

September 3, 2021

Using 2020 data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Visual Capitalist has published this infographic highlighting sources of electricity generation in each state. Ohio’s generation mix last year was comprised of natural gas (43.5%), coal (33.1%), nuclear (15.0%), and a combination of renewables and oil. 9/1/2021

Ohio Senate Leaders to FERC: Reject Subsidies in Generation Marketplace

September 3, 2021

This week, Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) and Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee Chair Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) wrote members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), urging the agency to reject a proposal that would soften current restrictions preventing subsidized power plants from competing against non-subsidized plants.

The OMA has championed fair competition within the electric generation marketplace. The issue has been especially contentious following the passage of House Bill 6, which created nuclear generation subsidies (later banned under FERC rules).

The OMA Energy Committee will dive deeper into this topic next week at its Sept. 9 meeting. Register here. 9/2/2021

PUCO Investigation Into FirstEnergy’s HB 6 Spending Turns One Year Old

September 3, 2021

Gongwer News Service this week examined the ongoing investigation by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) into FirstEnergy’s charitable spending in the House Bill 6 scandal. According to Gongwer, the PUCO wants to “expeditiously” move forward with its one-year-old review, which is the first of four investigations into FirstEnergy’s efforts to ensure passage and implementation of HB 6. 9/1/2021

Ohio, Pennsylvania Protest PJM’s Changes Addressing Subsidized Generation

August 27, 2021

Ohio and Pennsylvania last week criticized PJM Interconnection‘s proposed update of the minimum offer price rule (MOPR), which aims to ensure that all electricity-generating resources in a region are offered into the wholesale capacity market based on their cost of doing business — not based on cost advantages due to subsidies.

Under PJM’s new proposal, state-subsidized generation would not be subject to MOPR for reasons such as “environmental attributes” or “economic development.”

As reported by Hannah News Service, Ohio and Pennsylvania officials argue their generation is market based — unlike some other states in PJM’s jurisdiction — and that the proposal to exempt renewables and other subsidized energy “unjustly transfers the consequences of a particular state’s policy preference(s) to all states and consumers within the PJM region.” 8/24/2021