FirstEnergy Bailout Legislation Introduced

FirstEnergy’s plan to get Ohio ratepayers to subsidize its nuclear fleet was finally introduced this week.  The proposed legislation would require Ohio ratepayers to pay an additional $17 per MWH for FirstEnergy’s nuke plants – including plants outside of Ohio!  These subsidies would continue for 16 years.

The legislation further states that this increase would be capped at 5% of a customer’s bill.  However, anything over 5% would be booked as a regulatory deferral and collected later with interest!
Your customers in FirstEnergy’s territories will be hammered for decades by this legislation.  Anticompetitive proposals such at this need to be fought at Ohio’s statehouse.  Check out the EPO’s protecting customers webpage for tools on how to educate your customers and get them engaged.

Ohio’s Renewable and Energy Efficiency Requirements May Change (Again…)

Legislation recently introduced in the Ohio House of Representatives by Rep. Blessing and most of his Republican counterparts would effectively remove the requirement that Ohio’s electric distribution utilities meet certain energy efficiency and renewable energy benchmarks.

House Bill 114 would make all energy efficiency and renewable energy requirements permissive rather than requirements.  This makes the “requirements” optional for Ohio’s utilities.  With respect to Ohio’s energy efficiency benchmarks, it is likely that Ohio’s EDU’s will continue with the programs since they allow utilities to recover the full cost of the program plus a bonus called “shared savings” should the programs over-perform.

Customers will have some advanced flexibility under this plan.  All renewable energy goals will be 100% bypassable should a customer shop and the legislation would allow customers of ANY size to opt-out of a utility’s energy efficiency plan.

A detailed analysis provided by the non-partisan Legislative Service Commission can be found here.

Free markets have saved $15 billion since 2011

The EPO participated in a study largely funded by NOPEC and performed by the Cleveland State University’s Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs and Ohio State University’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs that proves deregulation works in Ohio. The study confirmed that the predicted economical effect of deregulating electricity in Ohio has been successful. Between 2011 and 2015, $15 billion dollars was saved on electricity by retail customers.  Additionally, another $15 billion is expected to be saved between today and 2020.

The report credits deregulation as the driving force for cheap electricity. Deregulation has allowed consumers to shop and compare prices, creating a competitive market and decreasing prices, causing $3 billion a year in savings. Chuck Keiper, NOPEC’s executive director said, “The study will illustrate, with hard facts and numbers, that deregulation is the driving force behind the relatively low cost of electricity in Ohio.” This study is consistent with others that have found similar, positive results about deregulating electricity.

An executive summary of the study can be found here.

COMPETE Coalition Releases Report Showing Demonstrable Benefits of Competition

The COMPETE Coalition, a group of 787 electricity stakeholders who support well-structured competitive electricity markets, released a report this month showing how competitive states have fared better than monopoly states regarding electricity prices.  In the report entitled “Evolution of the Revolution: The Sustained Success of Retail Electricity Competition” the study’s authors detail several findings based on imperial data.  They include:

  • From 1997 through 2014, prices in customer choice jurisdictions increased 4.5% less than inflation while prices in monopoly states increased 8.4% more than inflation.
  • From 2003-2013, accounts served by competitive suppliers increased 524% for commercial and industrial (C&I) customers and 636% for residential customers.
  • Generation investments in customer choice jurisdictions as a whole outperformed monopoly jurisdictions producing billions of dollars of new, more efficient generation with higher capacity factors than in monopoly states.

The full report can be found here.

Deregulation Under Attack In Ohio

Ohio’s investor owned electric distribution utilities (EDUs) have filed requests before the PUCO asking for cost-based regulation of their affiliate owned generating plants. These proposals all carry a non-bypassable rider that forces customers to subsidize the EDU’s power plants. AEP’s case is now done and awaiting a decision from the PUCO. The EPO participated in that case arguing against the proposal noting “[I]f AEP Ohio truly believes that customers can benefit from Rider PPA, the Commission should ask itself why a publicly traded company, with a fiduciary responsibility to its shareholders, giving away such a valuable asset? The only logical conclusion is that Rider PPA is not likely to benefit customers in any meaningful way and should be rejected.”

Duke Energy Ohio and FirstEnergy both have proposals before the PUCO asking for similar guarantees on its power plants. The EPO will continue to participate in these cases in an effort to protect freedom of choice for customers.

You can read EPO’s brief by clicking here.

Ohio Energy Brokers and Consultants Form Association

PUCO Hosts Group’s First Meeting

Columbus  – Ohio energy aggregators, brokers and consultants have announced the formation of Energy Professionals of Ohio. The new trade association will educate policy makers and the public on the benefits of a robust and competitive energy market. The group will also promote the common business interests of licensed energy brokers and consultants in Ohio.

“The energy marketplace works best when there is an expected and established level of expertise and responsibility in transacting energy contracts,” EPO Chairman and Scioto Energy Managing Partner Greg Bechert said. “Our self-regulating and standards-setting organization will establish a minimum expected level of expertise and responsibility in transacting energy contracts.” [Read more…]