As we’ve seen for months now, Ohio’s landmark energy efficiency and renewable energy law—S.B. 221—is not going to mean much unless it is enforced. Right now, we’re still trying to make sure that electric utilities are required to meet the energy efficiency benchmarks established by the law. S.B. 221’s benchmarks, codified at R.C. Section 4928, require utilities to implement programs designed to achieve energy savings of 0.3 percent for 2009.
But even though this requirement is clear on the face of the law, FirstEnergy is trying to avoid the benchmark requirements for 2009, arguing that it cannot meet them due to extenuating circumstances beyond its control.
The law does allow a utility to seek a waiver of the benchmark requirements if it can prove that it “cannot reasonably achieve the benchmarks.” But we think it’s clear that FE has not met this standard, nor has the company made a good faith effort to comply with this part of the law. (For example, one of FE’s efforts to comply with the efficiency benchmarks was its notorious CFL program, a program that was poorly planned and widely criticized from the start.)
If we let utilities avoid the law’s benchmarks, it could set a very bad precedent at the PUCO and threaten the effectiveness of Ohio’s advanced energy and energy efficiency standards.
Ohio is SO CLOSE to being a national leader in clean energy! We’re going to stay vigilant at the PUCO to make sure that the law is enforced and that Ohioans reap the benefits of S.B. 221.
Click here to view the docket in the case, which has not been set for hearing.