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OH Governor: Zap High Electric Prices Before They Happen

January 14, 2008

Cleveland, OH – Ohio Governor Ted Strickland will deliver "juice" to his energy plans this week, including electricity cost regulation, energy efficiency promotion and the recent moratorium on disconnecting energy to low-income families. He is in Cleveland today to energize the public behind his ideas.

Ohio's current electricity price regulations expire at the end of this year. Strickland says it's vital that the state have a new plan in place when that happens, in order to avoid the big increases in utility bills that have hit other states in similar situations.

"We must protect our families, our businesses. We must make it possible for Ohio to have competitively-priced electricity."

The governor also is promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency. His stops today in Cleveland include a home weatherization project. Strickland recommends insulation, weatherstripping and efficient appliances as good ways for Ohioans to "insulate" themselves from rising energy costs.

"We want to become efficient in our use of energy, and do everything we can to make our homes and our businesses energy efficient."

Strickland wants citizens to know about the new statewide moratorium on utility disconnections during the winter, too. He says many low-income families could qualify for help paying energy bills, but to be eligible they must apply for the Home Energy Assistance Program.

"It's not available to everyone; it depends upon the financial need of the family. But we hope that all families in Ohio can be safe and warm. That's the purpose of the moratorium."

The governor's energy plan passed the Ohio Senate unanimously, and he's now working to drum up support in the House. Its critics say the plan doesn't allow market forces enough room to set prices, but Strickland argues that state regulation is necessary to prevent out-of-control rates and price-gouging.

Rob Ferrett/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - OH