Fast House action expected on energy mandates bill

The Ohio House Public Utilities Committee continued to fast track House Bill 114, legislation that would make significant changes to Ohio’s energy mandates. In particular, the bill would, among other things, convert Ohio’s renewable energy requirements into goals, expand what counts for purposes of energy efficiency savings and reduce the ultimate reduction in electricity sales required from 22 percent to 17 percent under the baseline.

The committee heard from supporters, opponents and interested parties, including the Ohio Chamber of Commerce. The Ohio Chamber in testimony reiterated our long standing support of reforming Ohio’s expensive and heavy handed energy efficiency mandates. The best way to accomplish the important goal of efficiency is to allow businesses to access market-based energy saving solutions. HB 114 would make important progress in this regard by allowing more businesses to opt-out of the state’s required energy efficiency programs, expanding their ability to allow market forces to drive their investment decisions.

Importantly, HB 114 would also expand what efficiency activities count for compliance with the law. This expansion is critical to holding down the costs of the program. Water treatment is an energy-intensive activity that, in some states, uses as much as 20 percent of all electricity consumed. Reductions in consumer water usage and improvements in the water treatment process translate directly into less energy used. By recognizing this and other energy saving activities, HB 114 would encourage comprehensive efforts to reduce energy usage wherever possible.

The chair of the House Public Utilities Committee publically committed to voting the legislation out and to the full House next week. For more information on HB 114, read our March 17 blog post.