DeWine picks Columbus lawyer as new PUCO Chairman, drawing praise and criticism

COLUMBUS — “Gov. Mike DeWine has picked a Columbus attorney with a long history in the state’s energy business to lead the the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

DeWine announced on Monday that Samuel Randazzo will be chairman of the five-member commission, replacing Asim Haque as chairman, who announced Monday he was stepping down March 1 to serve in a role with Philadelphia-based PJM Interconnection.

…Renewable energy advocates are critical of the choice, expressing concern that Randazzo would oppose clean-energy investments such as solar and wind farms.

‘Ohio deserves better than Gov. DeWine’s choice of Sam Randazzo as PUCO chair,’ Rachael Belz, executive director of Ohio Citizen Action said in an email. ‘Ohio Citizen Action members will fight even harder to make sure Gov. DeWine and Mr. Randazzo hear from all of their constituents, a majority of whom favor clean energy over outdated, expensive coal and fossil fuels.’

Dave Anderson, spokesman for the Energy and Policy Institute, said the nomination ‘is further evidence of the undue influence of fossil fuel and utility interests over energy policy in Ohio.'”

— Tristan Navera, Columbus Business First

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Samuel Randazzo: PUCO candidate is an opponent of renewable energy

A screenshot from a video of Samuel Randazzo speaking at a May 31, 2018 meeting organized by the Seneca Anti-Wind Union.

COLUMBUS — “Samuel Randazzo, an attorney and lobbyist known for playing a leading role in political attacks on renewable energy and energy efficiency in Ohio, is the among the candidates vying for a seat on the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO).
Randazzo is one of nine candidates who will be interviewed by the PUCO Nominating Council on Thursday. The 12-member council will then select four candidates to recommend to Governor Mike DeWine for further consideration at the same meeting.

…As a lobbyist for the Industrial Energy Users of Ohio (IEU-Ohio), Randazzo helped to draft controversial legislation aimed at rolling back Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards.

He has represented individual IEU-Ohio member companies like Marathon Petroleum Company before the PUCO as they seek approval for so-called ‘reasonable arrangements’ with utilities. These deals allow some industrial ratepayers to pay lower rates for energy, at the expense of residential consumers.

Randazzo has also fought the development of wind power in Ohio as a lobbyist and attorney for Greenwich Neighbors United, an anti-wind group that refers to climate change as a ‘hoax’ on its website.”

— Dave Anderson, Energy and Policy Institute

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