Freeze on Clean Energy

Thomas Suddes commentary: Ohioans brace for ‘post-election’ season


Ohio Statehouse

COLUMBUS — “While everyone’s watching Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton (or, most likely, football), some state issues are being quietly shaped in Columbus, waiting for the traditional, and traditionally frenzied, post-election (‘lame-duck’) session of the General Assembly.

One issue that might (or might not) be addressed is Ohio’s two-year freeze on alternative energy standards for electric utilities. The freeze is scheduled to end on Jan. 1. There appears to be a split among the legislature’s Republicans over whether to address the freeze (end it, extend it, weaken it) during the lame-duck session, or wait till 2017, when legislators elected in November will have taken their seats.

The scary thing about lame-duck sessions is that they’re when bills get passed that could never be passed before an election. What’s more, as to alternative energy, the General Assembly’s Republicans aren’t exactly life members of the environmental movement.

Also pending on Capitol Square, though at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and not in the Senate or House, is a proposed customer subsidy of Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp.’s Ohio electric utilities — the Illuminating, Ohio Edison and Toledo Edison companies. The subsidy plan is more complicated than Queen Elizabeth II’s family tree. But it’d boost electric bills. And the Office of Consumers’ Counsel, which represents residential utility customers, strongly opposes the proposal.”

— Thomas Suddes, for The Columbus Dispatch

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