OHCEF concerned about effect of proposed PPA on Ohio taxpayers

(Columbus, OH, December 8, 2015) – The Ohio Conservative Energy Forum today expressed concern with the recent power purchase agreement between FirstEnergy and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, saying that it is counter to the work by the General Assembly and the Administration to create a better business environment and reduce tax burdens on Ohio families.

“State leaders have done exceptional work on behalf of Ohio businesses and families through income tax cuts, eliminating tax burdens on small business, elimination of the estate tax, and other efforts,” said Mike Hartley, the group’s executive director.  “As a result, Ohio is a more predictable and more attractive place to live, to work, and to do business.”

Hartley said the OHCEF does not want to see an Ohio company struggle, but there are more innovative, forward-thinking ways to advance the energy industry in Ohio.  He encouraged state legislators to take a close look at the power purchase agreement.

By conservative estimates this deal will cost 2 million Ohio ratepayers an additional $3.25 a month, or more than $400 million over the next two and a half years – but some analysts predict it could cost into the billions. Those ratepayers, Hartley pointed out, are Ohio’s small businesses that create jobs and drive the economy, in addition to individual households.  The OHCEF recognizes the power purchase agreement includes energy efficiency and renewable energy provisions.  Unfortunately, these provisions are unenforceable.

“This is a high price for Ohioans to pay to keep two outdated power plants afloat, when better, cleaner, more efficient options exist,” Hartley said. Hartley compared the deal to the current alternative energy rider levied on ratepayers.  According to the Energy Mandate Study Committee report, the rider varies anywhere from 27 cents per month to $1.31 per month depending on the service provider – at least one-third the cost of the proposed power purchase agreement.

Alternative energy development helps put the state on a path to energy security and independence, and continued economic growth through energy innovation.  These are key reasons the OHCEF supports an all of the above approach to energy reforms. In contrast, the proposed power purchase agreement does little to advance Ohio’s energy position, rather it levies additional costs on Ohio taxpayers simply to maintain the status quo.

“As conservatives, we’re advocating for common-sense solutions to energy security that reduce financial burdens on taxpayers while strengthening our economy and energy independence,” Hartley said.

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