The Speaker of the House and Minority Leader of the Ohio House of Representatives recently finalized their appointment of State Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) to the Ohio House Energy Mandates Study Committee. The committee was created as a part of Senate Bill 310, a law that addressed renewable and advanced energy sources.

According to Rep. Cera, SB 310 freezes for two years state-required renewable energy and solar energy requirements that were created in 2008. The 2008 law required utility companies to start utilizing renewable energy and developing programs to help customers use less energy through efficiency upgrades. SB 310 also created the joint House and Senate study committee to further review these standards and to make recommendations to the General Assembly.

“This is an important issue where I believe my experience on the House Public Utilities Committee will prove useful. We have to move forward carefully and keep the process transparent so that we include all viewpoints. We must strive to keep rates affordable for industrial, commercial and residential rate payers while assuring reliable energy sources,” said Rep. Cera.

The question of what to do about the renewable and energy efficiency standards has been a sometimes contentious debate over the past few years, with major business groups and manufacturers split on the issue. Utility companies supported the law. Environmental groups and the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel oppose the elimination of the standards. The committee will once again try to work through the issue to come up with an energy plan that makes sense for all of Ohio.

“I believe it is important that the committee look beyond just renewables and energy efficiency issues and look at the issue of deregulation and how it has impacted the future of power plants in Ohio. Currently both AEP and First Energy have cases before the PUCO and I want to make sure that both the Sammis and Cardinal plants in Jefferson County are able to remain as part of the electric production for both companies. They both provide reliable coal-based electricity needed for Ohio,” stated Rep. Cera.

Legislative changes will be recommended after a careful review of Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards has taken place. The committee must present a report to the General Assembly no later than September 30, 2015.


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