Energy efficiency advocates are holding a rally in Columbus Monday. They want to keep pressure on legislators to maintain requirements for utilities to cut the amount of electricity that customers consume and increase their use of alternative energy sources. Ideastream’s Michelle Kanu reports.
In 2008, Ohio enacted a law that requires electric utilities reduce their energy use by 22 percent by 2025.
But, if Ohio’s largest power company—First Energy Corp—has its way, the state will freeze or even lower that standard. The power giant says the programs they’ve implemented to incentive customers to reduce electricity use are getting too expensive.
Doug Colafella, is a spokesman for First Energy.
Colafella: “As these programs become more aggressive, as the goals become more difficult to achieve, the costs for these programs are undoubtedly going to increase.”
Now, energy efficiency advocates are pushing back, urging legislators to keep the standards high. Midwest Energy Alliance, a group of private utilities, manufacturers and environmentalists, will use today's rally to draw the public’s attention to the benefits of energy efficiency.
Deputy Director Stacey Paradis says the group wants to ensure that lawmakers’ discussions about the state’s energy standards don’t fly under the public’s radar.
Paradis: “The one thing that happens a lot in lame duck legislatures after the election is there’s a lot of opportunity to rush through legislation and there’s not an opportunity to get strong public hearings on it. Things are attached to other bills and things like that.”
Paradis says high energy efficiency standards mean manufacturers have to make more products that keep energy costs low, and that creates jobs. Many utilities argue that it is switching to green energy that increases customer costs and raises the price of production.
So far, no legislation has been formally proposed to amend the energy standards.