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News and Analysis

Cleveland-Cliffs CEO, Lt. Gov. Husted to Speak at Manufacturers’ Energy Conference, September 13

July 28, 2023

If you haven’t already, it’s time to register for the 2023 Ohio Manufacturers’ Energy Conference, set for Sept. 13 in Westerville. This event will feature energy insights and best practices from manufacturers and other experts. Topics will include efficiency, reliability, on-site generation, and much more.

Among this year’s keynote speakers will be Lourenco Goncalves, chairman, president and CEO of Cleveland-Cliffs, as well as Lt. Gov. Jon Husted. The event’s speakers list will be updated as details are finalized. 7/25/2023

Study: Electric Riders Have Eroded Ohio Customer Savings

July 28, 2023

A new study by Ohio researchers reveals more than 20 years of deregulated electricity markets have meant lower generation costs for Ohio customers — but these savings have been negated by riders added to electricity bills. Moreover, the riders have not been directly related to generation, transmission, or distribution. Read the study.

Published by Utilities Policy, a peer-reviewed academic publication, the study examined electricity prices in three states with restructured generation markets (Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania), comparing them to three other states that did not deregulate (Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin). Despite the benefits from restructuring, Ohio’s cost advantage — when compared to the other deregulated states — deteriorated from 2013 to 2020, according to the study. 7/24/2023

Automakers Join Forces on EV Charging Network

July 28, 2023

Seven major global automakers — including OMA members Honda, General Motors, and Stellantis — have announced they will create an unprecedented new charging network to significantly expand access to high-powered EV charging across North America. According to this news release, at least 30,000 high-powered charge points will be installed in urban and highway locations, with the first stations set to open next summer. 7/27/2023

FirstEnergy CEO: HB 6 Scandal Is Behind Us

July 28, 2023

Brian Tierney, FirstEnergy’s third CEO since Chuck Jones was fired in October 2020, tells news media the company is moving on from the House Bill 6 scandal. Tierney says FirstEnergy is now focused mainly on transmission instead of generation, while trying to “admit what we did, put it behind us, and focus on the future.”

In 2021, the energy giant at the center of the $60 million HB 6 bribery scheme agreed to pay $230 million and to other conditions so prosecutors wouldn’t pursue a criminal case against the company. 7/24/2023

Power Siting Board Finalizes Rule Revisions

July 28, 2023

Bricker Graydon, the OMA’s general counsel, reports that the Ohio Power Siting Board has issued its final determination on revisions to rules governing the board’s siting criteria. The rules will affect everyone from utility-scale solar developers to independent power producers to traditional public utilities, according to Bricker’s summary. 7/24/2023

Ohio Awarded $14.2 Million in Grid Resilience Funding

July 28, 2023

Gov. Mike DeWine recently announced that the State of Ohio will receive a $14.2 million Grid Resilience Formula Grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to modernize the electric grid and reduce the impacts of extreme weather. The grants aim to ensure the reliability of power sector infrastructure, according to the governor’s press release. 7/24/2023

Editorial Praises OMA-Requested Utility Veto

July 21, 2023

In its July 14 editorial, The Toledo Blade commends Gov. Mike DeWine for striking anti-consumer language from the state’s two-year budget earlier this month. The OMA urged the veto of the provision, which would have allowed gas and electric companies “to charge customers for the cost of infrastructure in speculative economic development sites.” 7/18/2023

Willis Named Next Consumers’ Counsel

July 21, 2023

The Ohio Consumers’ Counsel (OCC) Governing Board voted unanimously this week to appoint OCC veteran Maureen Willis as the next Ohio consumers’ counsel. She will assume office Oct. 1, with retiring Consumers’ Counsel Bruce Weston remaining on the job until the end of September. Read Gongwer’s story. 7/18/2023

Waiting for the Other HB 6 Shoe to Drop

July 21, 2023

Following the conviction and sentencing of former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder for his role in the House Bill 6 scandal, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Parker says the case isn’t over.

According to this report by The Columbus Dispatch, Parker isn’t saying who else might face criminal charges or when indictments might be coming. But the story notes that FirstEnergy and Energy Harbor executives and former executives have been identified as co-conspirators in the scheme, and have admitted to bribing former PUCO Chair Sam Randazzo, who has denied any wrongdoing. 7/18/2023

In the Spotlight: DeWine’s Veto of Utility Provisions

July 14, 2023

As state policymakers finalized Ohio’s new two-year budget, OMA advocacy helped ensure some noteworthy victories for manufacturers — not the least of which was the governor’s veto (see item 12) of language that would have imposed new customer charges on utility bills.

The Plain Dealer and Cleveland.com have published this story spotlighting the significance of the veto for energy customers. 7/11/2023