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Change Ohio’s energy efficiency program?
Some state activists and electric companies like First Energy want to see a change in the program.

Bill Cohen
In The Region:

Since 2009, Ohio electricity customers have been paying a surcharge on their monthly bills to pay for utility programs that encourage energy efficiency.

It’s part of a larger program that state legislators passed, requiring utilities to push down power usage every year, until by 2025. Ohio uses 22 percent less electricity.

Now, some consumer and environmental activists are worried that Ohio lawmakers might water down the efficiency mandate. In fact, one of the state’s largest electric companies is urging legislators to at least consider a change.

Statehouse correspondent Bill Cohen reports.

Listen to Cohen on changing Ohio’s energy efficiency program

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Buy a new energy efficient washer; get a check from your utility company. Install energy efficient heating in a mammoth factory and get a much bigger check. Those are two examples of Ohio's efficiency incentives paid for by surcharges on everyone's monthly electric bills. Backers contend for every one dollar invested, three are saved in lower utility bills. Still First Energy is calling on Ohio legislators to review the program, and the program's backers fear lawmakers might actually suspend it with a vote during the lame duck session. The utility says customers will buy energy efficient products without being offered a bonus check. Plus, the utility argues: it's unfair to charge some industrial customers a million dollars a  year in surcharges just to help competitors install energy efficient equipment. 

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