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Testimony Today on Bill to Gut Ohio’s Clean Energy Laws

PHOTO: The Senate Utilities Commission hears final testimony today on a controversial bill to overhaul Ohio's clean energy laws. Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net.
PHOTO: The Senate Utilities Commission hears final testimony today on a controversial bill to overhaul Ohio's clean energy laws. Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net.
November 13, 2013

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The state Senate Utilities Commission is to hear final testimony today on a controversial bill to overhaul Ohio's clean-energy laws.

Dave Rinebolt, executive director of Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy, will testify at the hearing on Senate Bill 58, which would revise renewable-energy and efficiency standards for electric utilities. He said the legislation transfers the dollars-and-cents benefits of energy efficiency from customers to utilities, and would make it harder to expand renewable energy in Ohio.

"It would eliminate the incentive to build new generation in Ohio," he said. "It would reduce the amount of energy efficiency created by utility programs, and it would increase revenues to the utilities, just for doing what they are supposed to do under the law."

The legislation was introduced by Sen. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, who said the changes are needed because the five-year-old standards are too costly and burdensome.

While Rinebolt agreed that improvements to the standards are needed, he said SB 58 isn't the way to go because it would cost customers more and save less energy. A companion bill has been introduced in the Ohio House of Representatives.

According to Ohio State University researchers, the state's energy-efficiency and renewable-energy standards have helped create more than 3,000 jobs and increased clean-energy investments. Even more important to consumers, Rinebolt said, is the 1.4 percent reduction in wholesale energy prices, which has translated into lower prices for customers.

"Customers care not only about what the price of power is tomorrow, but what it's going to be in 20 years," he said. "So, if we want to stabilize power prices over the long term, we need to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy now."

The study also found Ohioans would pay more than $3.5 billion more on their electricity bills in the next 12 years if Senate Bill 58 is enacted.

The OSU research is online at aeeohioinstitute.org. The text of SB 58 is at legislature.state.oh.us.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH