Environmental activists and consumer advocates are breathing a sigh of relief. Ohio lawmakers apparently are NOT going to change the state’s energy efficiency program during the last days of the current legislative session.
The program requires electric companies to lower overall power usage by giving money to people and businesses that buy energy-saving appliances and equipment. To fund the program, all electricity customers pay a surcharge on their monthly electric bills.
The Northern Ohio utility giant, First Energy, has been pushing legislators to review the program with an eye toward dropping it, but spokesman Doug Colafella concedes no changes will happen, at least until a new legislature takes office in January.
"We have learned that the legislature is not going to move an amendment within the next couple of weeks prior to the holidays," says Colafella. "But we are going to continue to advocate for changes in the law."
Senate President Tom Niehaus won’t be returning to the legislature in January, but he says he agrees with the utility that Ohio’s energy landscape has changed a lot since the efficiency program began 4 years. So it should be reviewed to see if it’s still needed.