No Teeth in Ohio Clean Air Program

Ohio creates the Clean Air program, which sounds really good. However, the devil’s in the details.

HB 6 narrowly passed by the House (51-43) and Senate (19-12) in late July, creating the Ohio Clean Air Program. The 35-page bill calls for Ohio utilities to collectively reach a 17.5% cumulative energy savings goal. That number is a decrease from the previous requirement of 22%.

Also, the new collective goal will almost certainly be reached by 2020. While that’s not a bad thing, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) is directed to determine the baseline, which can include existing banked savings in the calculation. (The formula they’ll use
deducts 2018 banked savings and then divides the savings over a nine-year period of 2021-2029.) That makes this legislation one that partially looks backwards, instead of being completely forward-facing.

Once the combined 17.5% energy savings is reached, utilities are then prohibited from receiving cost recovery for energy-efficiency programs. This lack of financial incentive will most likely be the death knell for those utility-managed programs.

The Ohio Clean Air Program also gives a tax break to “clean coal,” among other methods of energy generation. The bill goes into effect on October 22. It can be read in full here.