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Ohio Senate GOP Proposes Change to Bill Freezing Energy Standards

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There are changes in the works for a controversial plan to freeze Ohio's standards for energy efficiency and renewable resources. Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow breaks down the new plan.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at 5:40 pm

Senate Republicans have retooled a bill that sought to halt Ohio’s energy efficiency and renewable standard law. It requires utilities to achieve a certain amount of efficiency and use a certain amount of renewable sources by 2025.

The original bill called on a freeze that essentially repealed the standards unless lawmakers put them back into place. The new proposal is more of a two-year pause.

During that pause a legislative panel will perform a cost-benefit analysis of the standards. If the General Assembly wishes to make any changes it must do so through a new bill. If lawmakers don’t, then the current standards will automatically start back up in 2017.

John McClelland with the Senate Republican Caucus says there’s another provision that allows customers to opt out if their electric bills are getting too expensive. This is a change to SB221 which created the current standards.

“The original intention of 221 back in 2008 or 2009 was that this would not have an extremely negative effect on customer bills," said McClelland, "We all know that one of the reasons we’re looking at this is because the average Ohioans’ energy bills have just continued to creep up.”

McClelland says the utilities would be required to notify a consumer if their energy prices reach that threshold.

Supporters of the standards say that efficiency actually helps suppress energy costs. The new proposal is now circulating among legislators and interested parties, and is scheduled for a vote in the Senate Public Utilities committee Wednesday. If it passes then it’s expected to go to a full Senate vote -- and straight to a House committee on the same day.

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