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Environment


Lawmakers may be compromising on Ohio's energy standards
A two-year pause -- and an opt-out provision -- may replace a plan to shelve the renewable standards
by WKSU's ANDY CHOW


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Andy Chow
 
Supporters of the standards are talking their first look at an alternative to a bill they say could have essentially undone the renewable standards.
Courtesy of FILE PHOTO
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Changes are 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.

LISTEN: The latest on Ohio's renewable energy debate

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Ohio Senate Republicans have retooled a bill that sought to halt the state’s energy efficiency and renewable standard law. The law 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The original bill called on a freeze that essentially repealed the standards unless lawmakers put them back into place.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 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 S.B. 221 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. We all know that one of the reasons we’re looking at this is because the average Ohioans’ energy bills have 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 helps suppress energy costs. The new proposal is circulating among legislators and interested parties, and is scheduled for a vote in the Senate Public Utilities committee Wednesday. If it passes, it’s expected to go to a full Senate vote then straight to a House committee on the same day. 

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