FirstEnergy Aims to Scuttle Ohio Efficiency Rules

by | Mar 19, 2013

Ohio-based FirstEnergy Corp. has begun a behind-the-scenes push to get rid of state energy efficiency standards that are denting its profits, reports The Plain Dealer.

The Akron power company is sending a form letter to some of its larger customers asking them to fill in their name and send it to the Ohio Senate – which is considering changing the efficiency rules – by Friday, the Cleveland paper reports.

Hospitals received a version of the letter that argues that complying with efficiency rules is hurting their bottom line. The Ohio Hospital Association has publicly backed the state efficiency rules since they were launched five years ago, the paper reports.

Ohio’s efficiency rules require electric utilities to help customers reduce power consumption through improved energy efficiency. The rules aim to cut the state’s overall energy consumption by 22 percent by 2025 compared to 2009 levels.

FirstEnergy defended its moves against the standards in a prepared statement: “FirstEnergy remains concerned that meeting the state’s energy efficiency goals will continue to place burdensome costs on our customers, particularly Ohio businesses.”

In February, the company reported that it sold $15.3 billion worth of power in 2012, compared to $16.1 billion in 2011.

This is not the first time the Akron-based company has targeted the efficiency rules. Just prior to Christmas 2012, FirstEnergy asked lawmakers to slip in an amendment that would have frozen or put an end to the rules into unrelated legislation, but state politicians washed their hands of the amendment once the tactic was publicly revealed, the paper reports.

Earlier this year the Louisiana Public Service Commission dropped plans for a statewide energy efficiency program. The retirement of one commission member and the subsequent appointment of a replacement swayed voting into a 3-2 decision against the initiative. New member Scott Angelle said he was concerned about the program’s cost for small businesses because utility companies would be able to charge their customers for energy efficiency initiatives.

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