State officials remind eligible Ohioans that they can get help managing energy costs this winter through a payment assistance program.
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio says the Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus allows eligible Ohioans to pay utility bills based on a percentage of household income.
Customers must receive their primary or secondary heat source from a company regulated by the utilities commission and have a total household income at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level to qualify.
A sketch of the proposed natural gas power plant in Middletown.
Credit NTE Energy
Plans for a new natural gas-fired power plant have been announced in Middletown. The plant would employ 300-400 people for about three years of construction, and 25-30 when it is up and running in 2018.
Middletown is part of a statewide trend towards natural gas and away from coal. From November 2012 to November 2013, energy generated from natural gas in Ohio increased 16 percent, in part because natural gas prices have become competitive with Appalachian coal.
On Monday, Governor John Kasich issued a ‘statewide energy emergency’ to deal with slowdowns in propane deliveries. Weather conditions and other factors are causing problems for fuel suppliers and their customers, and the governor’s declaration will allow propane and heating oil transporters to drive for more hours and more consecutive days than current regulations permit.
Propane production is actually up in the U.S. over the last five years, so the problem isn’t a shortage, it’s getting the gas to where it’s needed.
The state of Ohio has been investigating its competitive energy market for a year now, and the state reports electric competition is growing, which means more options for consumers.
Energy choice itself doesn’t look like much: the lights go on, the lights go off, and you pay your monthly bill the same way. But in the past, a utility company—the name that’s on most people’s electric bills—also owned the actual power plant. Electric choice, which was passed in Ohio over ten years ago, is gradually moving the market away from that system.
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is expected to privatize more energy and utility operations as it tries to offset steep cuts in the federal defense budget.
The base has already asked for bids to privately manage two water plants on the base that pump more than three millions of gallons a day out of an underground aquifer.
Base spokesman Daryl Mayer tells the Dayton Daily News that the Defense Logistics Agency also has asked for bids to maintain the base infrastructure for waste water collection and natural gas distribution at the state's largest single-site employer.