News and Analysis
A new comparison by WalletHub finds Ohio is among the least expensive states for residential electricity costs, coming in at 11th lowest. When factoring bills for natural gas, motor fuel, and heating oil, Ohio’s ranking went in the wrong direction to 20th most expensive.
Four years after the General Assembly’s approval of the scandal-fueled House Bill 6, former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in in the largest public corruption case in state history.
Prosecutors asked for a sentence of 16-20 years for what they called an unprecedented conspiracy due to the potential financial harm to Ohioans and the “erosion of public trust” that resulted. Prior to handing down Householder’s sentence, Judge Timothy Black told the former speaker that the voters who put him in office “trusted you to do right by them and you betrayed that trust.”
Former lobbyist Matt Borges will be sentenced at 11 a.m. Friday, June 30 for his role in the scheme.
The OMA led the opposition to House Bill 6 upon the bill’s introduction in April 2019. 6/29/2023
Following action by Ohio House leadership to preserve a House Bill 6 provision that forces electric ratepayers to subsidize 1950s-era coal plants, editorial writers at The Blade (Toledo) are urging House Democrats to remove current Speaker Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill).
“House Democrats made Jason Stephens Speaker, and they can unmake him,” says the editorial, written following the recall of House Bill 120, legislation to repeal the HB 6 subsidies for the Ohio Valley Electric Corporation (OVEC) — estimated to cost ratepayers $850 million by 2030. 6/28/2023
Cleveland.com has spotlighted controversial language added to the state budget to allow utility companies to charge customers hundreds of millions of dollars to build infrastructure for speculative economic development.
The story breaks down the potential costs to customers and quotes OMA President Ryan Augsburger, who notes that the provisions would increase customers’ bills and erode consumer protections.
The OMA this week testified against Senate Bill 102. Similar to legislation offered in the previous General Assembly, SB 102 would overhaul the state’s ratemaking landscape, but would reduce customer protections and continue to permit excessive charges.
Kim Bojko, the OMA’s energy counsel, told the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee that SB102 would continue above-market charges, awarding the electric utilities with excessive profits between rate cases. It would also “upend the traditional ratemaking process for all regulated utilities — not just electric utilities,” Bojko said.
The OMA this week submitted testimony as an interested party to House Bill 79, which purportedly aims to boost energy efficiency — although it’s questionable just how much energy the bill would save via utility-run programs. (See this article by Hannah News Service highlighting the OMA’s advocacy.)
The legislation, which has been advanced to the full House, contains harmful provisions, including language to allow electric utilities to shut down manufacturer-sited renewable energy without owner consent. It would also partially restore House Bill 6’s anti-customer decoupling policy, which was repealed by the General Assembly in 2021. 6/22/2023
Ohio House leaders this week took action to preserve current law that forces electric ratepayers to fund 1950s-era coal plants.
As reported, House Republicans voted to recall House Bill 120, which would repeal House Bill 6 subsidies for the Ohio Valley Electric Corporation (OVEC). A group of Democrat and Republican lawmakers have been attempting to take HB 120 directly to the House floor (bypassing the committee process) via a discharge petition, which requires 50 signatures.
Meanwhile, it appears utilities intend to resume collecting OVEC subsidies from customers beginning in July. A recent OMA study found Ohio customers will subsidize OVEC’s utility owners (AEP Ohio, Duke Energy, and AES) an estimated $850 million by 2030 if the subsidies aren’t repealed. 6/22/2023
On June 16, a federal court ordered Canadian oil company Enbridge to cease the flow of oil and decommission within three years a segment of its Line 5 pipeline, according to reports. Meanwhile, Michigan business leaders are urging federal regulators to approve construction of the Great Lakes Tunnel. 6/20/2023
The Ohio Manufacturers’ Energy Conference is set for Sept. 13 at the Quest Conference Center in Westerville. Members can register now.
Following last year’s successful debut of this event, the 2023 conference will showcase best practices in energy management, efficiency, and procurement; practical advice for strategic decision making; policy and regulatory updates that matter to manufacturing operations; and plenty of networking opportunities.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved power grid operator PJM Interconnection’s request to delay the upcoming capacity auctions. The move creates significant uncertainty for customers and merchant generators, according to experts. Read more. 6/14/2023