The Ohio Senate Public Utilities Committee is conducting hearings on the provisions of Senate Bill 58, a placeholder energy bill that was introduced by Senator Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati), chairman of the committee. The purpose of the placeholder bill is to “review and possibly modify the energy efficiency, peak demand reduction, and alternative energy resource provisions established by Ohio law governing competitive retail electric service.” Ohio’s existing energy efficiency and renewable portfolio standards were passed in Senate Bill 221 in 2008 and were most recently amended in Senate Bill 315 in 2012.

Among numerous issues addressed in the placeholder energy bill, key highlights include:

  • Whether energy efficiency and peak demand reduction requirements should be frozen at a certain level, amended or repealed. If amended, should they be reduced or increased?
  • Whether the alternative energy resource requirements should be frozen at a certain level, amended or repealed. If amended, should they be reduced or increased?
  • Whether alternative compliance payments, including those for failure to meet solar energy requirements, should be amended or indexed to the Consumer Price Index.
  • Whether the three percent cost cap provision of the renewable portfolio standard has been properly interpreted by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO). Should the three percent cost cap be amended?
  • Whether Ohio’s alternative energy resource law should continue to provide separate requirements for particular forms of energy, such as solar energy, or whether the law should be changed to apply equally to all forms of energy.

On March 12, 2013, the Senate Public Utilities Committee held a hearing during which Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Todd Snitchler testified regarding the standards. The committee will continue to hold hearings to determine whether to pursue substantive legislation. Next week, the committee is set to hear from a panel of renewable energy industry executives, a utility company representative, a representative of the industrial consumer class and a think tank advocating for eliminating renewable energy standards nationwide.