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September 20, 2014
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Freezing energy mandates helps

As air conditioners run and summer travel begins—a topic on many Ohioans’ minds is the costs of energy.  Continuing government mandates on Ohio’s energy companies increases costs for Ohio consumers.   Our Ohio energy policy should promote low-cost, domestic energy resources that promises continued economic growth in Ohio.  Instead, flawed policies for the past several years made Ohio’s consumers involuntary investors in experimental and untested energy resources.

A few weeks ago the Ohio legislature put the final touches on new legislation that reduces government mandates for Ohio’s consumers and businesses and ensures that we will study the alternative energy mandates in Ohio to determine the best path for the future of our state.

Several years ago a goal was set to have 25 percent of our state’s energy come from alternative energy sources by 2025.  This became Ohio’s official energy policy and collectively it is referred to as the renewable energy portfolio mandate. This expensive government mandate made Ohio’s consumers and businesses involuntary investors in experimental and untested energy resources.

According to a study done by a major energy producer in Ohio, if the energy efficiency mandates are not changed, the amount that residential customers would have to involuntarily invest for the efficiency programs would increase by nearly $200 per year by 2025.

After witnessing this policy for the last few years, it is clear that Ohio’s consumers and businesses cannot afford to fund experimental and untested energy resources anymore.  That is why it was important to stall this government mandate.

There are two things that bring jobs: a quality labor force and affordable energy. In the west central Ohio, we already have some of the hardest working people, so ensuring that energy remains affordable is key to our economic growth.

With so much at stake, action was needed.  Initial discussions focused around a bill that would repeal the renewable energy portfolio mandate, but statesmanship prevailed and a compromise was reached with Senate Bill 310.

Senate Bill 310 stalled the renewable energy portfolio mandate until it can be further studied.  It is important to research the affect of the renewable energy portfolio mandate and determine the correct direction forward for Ohio.  One thing we know is that Ohio’s businesses and consumers could not afford to be involuntary investors in experimental and untested energy resources anymore.

A positive step was made to ensure that Ohio has access to affordable energy in the future when SB 310 passed the Ohio legislature. Ohio’s consumers and businesses win under this new policy because the big government mandate has been stalled at current levels, but we have ensured that Ohio will continue to look at ways to diversify our energy portfolio and determine the best path forward avoiding making Ohio’s consumers and businesses involuntary investors in experimental and untested energy resources anymore.

Please give me your opinion on this topic and others in the news this month by completing an online survey at tinyurl.com/buchyjune2014

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