Maybe it didn’t get as much public attention as some of the other hot-button topics like abortion and gun laws, but inside the Statehouse, the energy bill was one of the most contentious issues of 2013 with an aggressive battle between Ohio’s top utilities and a variety of advocates in the debate over the state’s energy policies.
Just the rumor of changing Ohio’s energy efficiency policies at the end of 2012 set off a whirlwind of activity on Capitol Square.
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.
In 1982, I started keeping track of the time the leaves turned on the maple tree next door, and I continued for over two decades to note when its leaves turned and fell. The caretaker of the tree died some time late in the last century, and the maple declined quickly as the millennium approached. My notations from 2004 were the last I made of its leafturn and shedding trajectory.
Hundreds of thousands of Ohioans are getting a raise starting in the New Year. The state’s minimum wage will go up ten cents from $7.85 an hour to $7.95 an hour. The automatic boost comes from a policy known as indexing, which Ohio has adopted along with 11 other states. Indexing raises the minimum wage to account for increases to the cost of living.
Jack Temple, a policy analyst for the National Employment Law Project, says the extra ten cents an hour can go a long way.