This week, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) released their final recommendations on how electric utilities, as a result of Senate Bill 310, must disclose an accurate reflection of the costs actually being borne by all customers related to energy efficiency, peak demand reduction, and renewable energy resource mandates. This cost disclosure portion of SB 310’s energy mandate reforms was strongly supported by the Ohio Chamber.
Over the course of the energy reform debate, even competing economic studies and organized interest groups agreed the mandates do have a financial impact on customers. The final rules proposed by the PUCO this week included revisions that recommended disclosing the cost of these riders through three separate line items on monthly utility bills. This information will help all customers understand the financial obligation tied to these mandates and allow end-users to make informed decisions about their own investments in energy efficiency.
For the largest energy customers who receive service above primary voltage levels, are self-assessing, or consume more than 45 million kWh per year, this disclosure will provide transparency that is critical when deciding whether or not your business can make effective use of the mandate programs. An example would be a customer in First Energy service territory wishing to “opt-out” of the mandate programs. They may do so effective January 1, 2015 by submitting an application to the PUCO. Those same industrial level energy customers from other service territories will have the same “opt-out” ability beginning January 1, 2017.
Soon residents and businesses will know what they are actually paying to satisfy these state mandates. All customers should receive a notice from their utility company and expect to start seeing the disclosed mandate charges on their bills in a few months.