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PUCO reviews advanced energy options

Marc Lefkowitz  |  09/25/06 @ 5:10pm

Last week, staffers at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) released a report calling for the state agency to adopt new policies that promote more sustainable energy options in Ohio.

PUCO listened to critics from around the state who argued that deregulation had failed to provide choices for consumers and opportunities for innovation, including renewable energy.   

The staff's recommendations mirror those of leaders from around the state, including the Cleveland Foundation's BP Fellow for Energy and Environmental Advancement, Richard Stuebi, who concludes:

...it is clear that the status quo in the Ohio electricity industry is unacceptable. Changes must be made. Without a move towards more progressive electricity industry regulation, Ohio faces the distinct possibility of a worsening economic and environmental future, as companies and citizens perish or leave the state for places that offer stronger prospects and a cleaner, healthier environment in which to live and work.

The changes don’t require legislation, just adopting policies that, for example, allow providers to buy surplus power from a homeowner with a solar panel on her roof or from a manufacturer with micro wind turbines (via net metering, one of the recommendations).

The staff at PUCO also wants to see more uniform charges and better market options for stand-by power — stand-by rates tend to be much higher, prohibiting companies from buying from smaller sources such as combined heat and power, biomass, and wind farms.

The Commission reviewed the options and held public meetings to gather comments earlier this year. The staff is accepting comments until September 18, 2006 on its report. Read more here.

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