Ohio Consumers Power Alliance launches campaign to demand the resignation of Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Chair Sam Randazzo
Columbus – Today, Ohio Consumers Power Alliance launched a campaign encouraging Ohioans to speak out against the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Chair Sam Randazzo and demand Gov. Mike DeWine remove him from the PUCO. Sam Randazzo has deep connections to FirstEnergy.
- Sam Randazzo’s company was on the payroll at FirstEnergy Solutions. He owns Sustainability Funding Alliance of Ohio which turned up as a company used by FirstEnergy Solutions for professional services in their bankruptcy filings.
- Former Speaker Larry Householder, now indicted in a $61 million bribery scandal involving FirstEnergy, put Sam Randazzo’s colleague on the PUCO Nominating Council just before Randazzo was nominated. Then, Randazzo gave his business partner a job at the PUCO.
- The chair of the PUCO Nominating Council who appointed Randazzo, Michael Koren, was a FirstEnergy and Boich Companies lobbyist.
Ohioans will be able to contact Governor Mike DeWine directly through a website to express their support of removing Randazzo.
In the past year, Randazzo has issued several decisions to hamstring the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in favor of polluting energy sources that are bad for our economy, climate and health.
His recent vote has possibly dealt a fatal blow to the Icebreaker Wind project in Cleveland. This project would have been the first freshwater turbine farm in the United States. The project would inject $253 million into the local economy and create more than 500 jobs.
“At a time when Ohio’s economy is already suffering and local governments need funding sources and jobs, Randazzo prioritized his own agenda over what's best for Ohioans,” said Rachael Belz, Director, Ohio Consumers Power Alliance.
Randazzo is not new to Ohio’s energy scene. Until his appointment by Governor Mike DeWine, Randazzo was an anti-clean energy lobbyist and lawyer fighting to destroy renewable energy development in Ohio.
“When Randazzo was appointed by Governor Mike DeWine in 2019, we released a statement expressing our concerns,” said Belz. “We warned of his bias against renewable energy and his history in fighting wind development. We had hoped maybe something would change, but that clearly has not been the case. Randazzo is hurting Ohio’s economy, jobs and future. His continued bias will put Ohio further behind. While our neighboring states embrace renewable energy, he continues to close the door on development here at home. We can’t stand back and allow this to continue, especially now.”
Ohio Consumers Power Alliance is a non-partisan, statewide consumer advocacy alliance focused on keeping rates low by diversifying Ohio’s energy portfolio.
Members of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio meet in March 2018. photo: PUCO
COLUMBUS — “Randazzo himself raised the question of recusals when he opposed Democrat Howard Petricoff for a seat on the PUCO in 2016. Petricoff had represented wind industry clients, as well as some companies that favor a shift to renewable energy.
…The issue is broader in Randazzo’s case. As PUCO chair, he would have both a vote and a leadership role in setting the commission’s agenda. Ohio law would also make Randazzo chair of the Ohio Power Siting Board, giving him a say in which renewable energy projects can be built.
Similar notices in additional cases reflect recent representation of companies such as U.S. Steel, Timken, Cleveland Thermal and more. Some of those cases are “reasonable arrangement” cases that seek regulators’ blessing for special deals for large industrial customers. Such deals can shift more utility costs to consumers.”
— Kathiann M Kowalski, Midwest Energy News
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