In May, the Ohio House passed Senate Bill 310, putting a ‘freeze’ on Ohio’s escalating energy mandates through 2017. This news meant real relief for many Ohio businesses who collectively had already paid over $1 billion dollars in energy riders to comply with the mandates. It also allowed some of Ohio’s most energy intensive employers to count additional energy efficiency and renewable investments toward compliance with the mandates or choose to opt-out completely and forgo the added costs and benefits. It also created the Energy Mandates Study Committee that is tasked with studying Ohio’s renewable energy, energy efficiency, and peak demand reduction mandates. As stated in SB 310, “the intent of the Committee will be to better understand how energy mandates impact jobs and the economy in Ohio.”
Four months later, the committee is ready to begin its task. House Speaker Bill Batchelder this week announced his six appointments to the 13 member committee. This announcement follows Senate President Keith Faber’s previous six appointments he made during late September. The Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission will also serve as an ex officio, non-voting member.
Here’s the list of members from each chamber:
Peter Stautberg (R-Cincinnati), Co-chair
Ron Amstutz (R-Wooster)
Christina Hagan (R-Alliance)
Louis Blessing III (R-Cincinnati)
Jack Cera (D-Bellaire)
Mike Stinziano (D-Columbus)
Troy Balderson (R-Zanesville) (co-chair)
Cliff Hite (R-Findlay)
Bob Peterson (R-Sabina)
Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati)
Capri Cafaro (D-Warren)
Shirley Smith (D-Cleveland)
The Committee must submit a report of their findings to the General Assembly no later than September 30, 2015. The report must include a cost-benefit analysis of the mandates, a recommendation of a standard metric for future review of the mandates, recommendations regarding opt-in and opt-out systems for the mandates, and reviews and analyses of other energy and cost issues. SB 310 also states that the General Assembly intends to enact legislation in the future, after taking into account the report of the Energy Mandates Study Committee, that will reduce the renewable energy resource, Energy Efficiency, and Peak Demand Reduction mandates.
Overall, right now we know the formulation of the Committee and that they hope to begin as soon as legislators are back at the Statehouse following the election. Through the committee, we hope Ohio employers will have access to reliable and affordable energy.