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Economy and Business

Is the utility-backed rollback of Ohio's renewable energy standards losing steam?
Abrupt cancellation of a hearing today may indicate second throughts

Andy Chow
The renewable energy standards are seen as key to developing Ohio's wind and solar industries.
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After months of hearings and debates, the effort to roll back Ohio’s renewable energy standards appears to be stalled – at least  until after the holiday break.

As Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow reports, some believe the bill backed by Akron-based FirstEnergy –  is losing support.

LISTEN: Utility-backed revamp of renewable energy standards losing steam

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The energy bill that would overhaul Ohio’s renewable and efficiency policies has stalled in committee. The highly contentious issue was scheduled for a hearing and a possible vote on Wednesday, but that abruptly cancelled.

With the cancellation and the Senate prepared to go on break until the New Year, it appears the energy bill may be losing support in the Republican caucus.

Republican Sen. Bill Seitz is the committee chairman and sponsor of the legislation. He released a statement saying he canceled the meeting to give members more time to consider the provisions of the bill, nothing more.

But Sen. Lou Gentile, a top Democrat on the committee says it’s a sign that lawmakers are beginning to question the proposal.

“I think it’s lost significant momentum,” Gentile said. “I think there’s concern in both parties—both Democrats and Republicans -- because the investors and utilities are meeting their benchmarks.”

Both sides agree that the bill would make changes to a consumer’s electric bill. Supporters say the legislation would save Ohioans from exploding costs and opponents say ratepayers would be forced to dish out more money that would pad the pockets of utilities.

Doug Colafella with FirstEnergy, a major supporter of the bill, says he continues to see increased support outside of the Statehouse.

“In terms of legislative support — I don’t want to comment on that. But what I can tell you is that the number of businesses that are stepping forward and supporting the bill grows every day,” Colafella said.

Related WKSU Stories

Legislative fight could impact electric bills
Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Green energy standards under scrutiny
Wednesday, October 9, 2013

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