Rachael Belz testimony on HB 6 to the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee, May 8, 2019

COLUMBUS -- "While there have been some changes to the bill, the focus of the legislation remains the same—utilizing a creative approach to disguise a consumer-funded bailout of two old, outdated nuclear plants as a comprehensive energy policy to reduce carbon emissions. Every ratepayer in Ohio would be charged a monthly fee to subsidize FirstEnergy’s failing investments.

At the same time, however, the bill sets limits, exemptions, and restrictions for renewable energy and energy efficiency programs that make it nearly impossible for real participation in the Ohio Clean Air Program. If that were not enough of a disincentive for clean energy development in Ohio, the legislation effectively repeals the state’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards, tying the hands of new technology companies that are creating jobs and saving consumers money. If consumers wish to continue their participation in these programs, they would have to opt-in to those efforts. They will now pay to support the clean energy standards they believe in and the monthly charge to bailout the state’s nuclear power plants, serving up a double whammy to those consumers who truly want clean air and clean energy in Ohio.

As we all know, the cheapest form of energy is the energy we never use, which is the beauty of energy efficiency. Energy efficiency has not run its course in Ohio. According to the 2019 Midwest Clean Energy Jobs report, 81, 676 Ohioans are employed in the energy efficiency sector, an increase of 2.5 percent over 2018, making it the largest sector of clean energy jobs in the state. Turning our backs on energy efficiency means consumer bills will increase—period."

-- Rachael Belz, Project Director, Ohio Consumers Power Alliance

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