Today the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio granted OELC’s Motion to Dismiss an application filed by FirstEnergy. FirstEnergy was seeking to receive energy efficiency credit based on transmission and distribution line improvements made before the effective date of S.B. 221, which is Ohio’s new energy efficiency and renewable energy legislation. The OELC joined the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel and the National Resources Defense Council in opposing the company’s application.
The Commission found that only energy efficiency that results from new programs can be used to meet the statutory requirements:
The Commission agrees that Section 4928.66(A)(1)(a),
Revised Code, does not authorize electric utilities to rely upon
transmission and distribution improvements implemented
before January 1, 2009, to meet the statutory energy efficiency
benchmarks. The application contains projects completed
through December 31, 2008. Therefore, these projects may not
be used to meet the benchmarks set forth in Section
4928.66(A)(1)(a), Revised Code, and the application should be
In effect, the Commission’s order ensures that FirstEnergy will have to undertake NEW efficiency programs–as the General Assembly intended–to meet its requirements under the law. “This decision is a ‘win’ for energy efficiency and for all Ohioans,” said Will Reisinger, Staff Attorney for the OELC. “The Commission has essentially told utilities that they will not be allowed to avoid the statute’s mandate to implement new energy efficiency programs,” said Reisinger.
While the order represents a commonsense interpretation of the text of S.B. 221, it sets an important precedent nonetheless.
UPDATE: Read OEC’s Press Release on the Decision