Energy Consumer Choice Bill Clears House Committee

On Wednesday, the House Energy & Natural Resources Committee voted to favorably report House Bill 201 out of committee.

House Bill 201 creates safeguards for commercial and residential energy users’ access to natural gas by preventing local governments from limiting or banning the fuel source. More importantly, this bill protects customers’ ability to choose what mix of energy sources works best for their needs.

During the committee process, HB 201 picked up three amendments. The first amendment adopted by the committee clarifies that provisions related to distribution service and retail are not intended to limit a municipality from exercising authority it currently has under existing natural gas aggregation laws. The second amendment expands the natural gas pre-emption to include propane. This will protect customers who use propane to heat their homes. The third, and final, amendment clarifies that nothing in the bill can block a municipality’s right to enter into franchise agreements or limit a natural gas company’s ability to pursue new customers. Moving this bill out of committee is a victory; but, there is much more left to do. We will be advocating for continued action on this important legislation to promote consumer choice. The Ohio Chamber of Commerce looks forward to HB 201 receiving a full House vote.