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Testimony: Defense of Ohio’s Clean Energy Laws

Ohio Environmental Council, April 11, 2013

Submitted to the Ohio Senate Public Utilities Committee by Trish Demeter, Director of Clean Energy Campaigns, Ohio Environmental Council.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide brief comments today on Ohio Senate Bill 58; specifically, Ohio’s Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS).

As this committee reviews Ohio’s efficiency standard, and contemplates changes to the law, it is critical to return to these simple facts:

  • First, Ohio’s energy efficiency standard is saving Ohio families and Ohio businesses money on their electric bill every month.
  • Second, all four of Ohio’s investor-owned utilities are complying with the annual targets with relative ease.
  • Third, Ohio’s efficiency standard is creating jobs for Ohioans and reducing air pollution.

Lastly, and importantly, Ohio’s efficiency standard has only just begun to deliver these benefits for Ohioans. For these reasons, the OEC strongly believes that no changes to Ohio’s efficiency standard are needed at this time. My comments today will expound on these facts.

Ohio’s EERS saves all consumers money. Just a few weeks ago, Chairman Snitchler testified that all four of Ohio’s utilities have collectively saved nearly 3.1 million megawatt hours of electricity between 2009—2011.

Translated into dollars, these savings mean Ohio’s electric consumers have saved over $1.7 billion on their electric bills. How have the utilities racked up so much in megawatt hours and real dollars savings? Because energy efficiency is cost-effective: for every $1 utilities invest in energy efficiency programs, consumers save $3.

What is most compelling when comparing energy efficiency to generation resources is that, by far, the cheapest single resource across the board is energy efficiency.

Energy efficiency resources cost on average 2.5 cents per kwh, which is cheaper than coal, gas, nuclear power, wind, solar, biomass, hydroelectric power, and all other resources.

Claims that energy efficiency is costly for customers are flat wrong.

Ohio law expressly precludes the implementation of any efficiency program that may exceed the cost of electricity. Under rules adopted from O.R.C. Sec. 4928.66, no utility may propose and implement a set of programs in Ohio that do not result in net savings for all customers.

Bottom line, Ohio law requires that these programs save consumers money—period.

Energy efficiency is the best option for utility supply from a consumer standpoint, because it is by far the cheapest option; no energy source in Ohio can satisfy power needs at a consistent cost of 2.5 cents per kilowatt hour, as efficiency has consistently done year in and year out.

Additionally, while meeting rising demands for electricity by building a new power generation facility takes years, deploying energy efficiency measures can take only months.

All utilities are complying with the standard.

Click the link below to read full testimony.