Ohio House Approves Reforms To State's Energy Requirements
Pro-business bill encourages economic growth, free-market system

COLUMBUS—State Representative Louis W. Blessing III (R-Colerain) today announced that the Ohio House of Representatives has passed legislation that would make Ohio’s renewable energy standards optional, promoting business growth in the state.

House Bill 114, sponsored by Rep. Blessing, reflects some of the recommendations made in a report issued by the Energy Mandates Study Committee in 2015. The bill reforms Ohio’s law on renewable energy to remove mandates, instead making them optional. It also decreases the state’s energy efficiency benchmarks from approximately 22 percent to 17 percent. The bill allows all mercantile customers to opt out of paying for the energy efficiency mandates, and all customers to opt out of paying for the renewable energy mandates. Currently, the mandates have caused consumers’ electric bills on the electric generation part of the bill to rise by 7 to 9 percent since 2008.

“I am pleased that House Bill 114 passed with bipartisan support and look forward to more spirited discussion as it heads to the Senate,” said Rep. Blessing.

Replacing these often costly mandates with goals and incentives keeps benchmarks in place for energy companies looking to increase production of renewable energy without the influence of government. This helps reduce unnecessary costs on businesses and, ultimately, consumers.

Many companies are already beginning to shift to renewable energy sources, regardless of whether mandates are in place. Therefore, House Bill 114 frees up energy markets, making it possible to achieve a positive outcome without enforcing government mandates that often prove detrimental to Ohio’s economic interests.

House Public Utilities Committee Chairman Bill Seitz (R-Green Township) said, “Among the little-noticed provisions of this bill are sections that increase the amount spent on home energy efficiency programs for low income households and that limit utilities’ ability to profit off of energy efficiency programs that they did not help to create or execute. I am delighted that this comprehensive bill received the votes of a veto-proof majority in the Ohio House and that when the bill is fully passed, Ohio will join its neighboring states of Kentucky, Indiana, and West Virginia in having no energy mandates.”

House Bill 114, which passed with bipartisan support, now awaits consideration by the Ohio Senate.

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