Energy Efficiency

Midwest Energy News: ELPC’s Kelter says FirstEnergy’s Changes to Energy Efficiency Program is Improvement From Plan Before Ohio Freeze on Clean Energy Standards

Midwest-Energy-News-LogoOhio Utility’s Efficiency Programs to Move Forward Under Settlement
January 5, 2017
By Kathiann M. Kowalski

As 2016 drew to a close, key environmental groups signed onto FirstEnergy’s revised energy efficiency plan for its Ohio utility customers.

The December 8 stipulation addresses major objections to FirstEnergy’s earlier plan, including elimination of terms that would have let the company profit from energy-saving activities it played no part in.

FirstEnergy’s revised energy efficiency plan “comes on the heels of the thaw on Ohio’s previously frozen clean energy standards, and the growing acknowledgement across Ohio’s utilities of the value of energy efficiency for customers,” said Samantha Williams at the Natural Resources Defense Council, which is one of the settling parties.

While other Ohio utilities continued to offer a range of money-saving efficiency programs during the recent two-year freeze on the state’s clean energy standards, FirstEnergy moved to gut most of its efficiency programs in 2014.

“Thankfully, the programs are back, and we’re very encouraged by the progress we’ve made with the utility in working towards more extensive, innovative options,” said Williams.

“The plan will allow our customers to participate in energy-saving programs through 2019, and strives to achieve energy savings each year that will meet or exceed Ohio’s annual reduction targets,” FirstEnergy spokesperson Doug Colafella said.

Not all parties have joined in the settlement, however, and the revised plan still requires approval by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. A hearing is scheduled for January 23.

‘A Big Change’

Provisions of the revised plan “are quite similar” to ones outlined in previous filings, Colafella said, “with some tweaks based on input from stakeholders who signed onto the plan, including key environmental groups.”

Yet those changes matter a lot to Williams and the NRDC, as well as the Environmental Law & Policy Center, Ohio Environmental Council and Environmental Defense Fund.

Among other things, FirstEnergy will not get shared savings profits from cuts in electricity usage that result from customer actions in which the company played no role.

“Keeping ‘non-programs’ like these off the shared savings ledger means utilities will be more focused on other programs that are actively designed to provide new, cost-effective benefits to consumers,” Williams said.

“That’s a big change,” agreed Rob Kelter of the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “To their credit, FirstEnergy has come up with what we feel is a very reasonable program. And it’s certainly a big improvement on what they were running before the freeze.”

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Press Release: ELPC Responds to Ohio Gov. Kasich Veto of State Energy Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

STATEMENT BY ROB KELTER
Environmental Law & Policy Center

COLUMBUS, OHIO — Rob Kelter, senior attorney for the Environmental Law & Policy Center, said in response to Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s veto of a bill passed by the Ohio State Legislature that would have made standards for energy efficiency and renewable energy voluntary for the next two years:

“The governor’s veto today is a positive step towards a clean energy future for Ohio. Ohio needs a balanced energy policy that includes renewable energy and energy efficiency. Business owners  in the state’s renewable energy sector and energy efficiency sectors need certainty about Ohio’s direction so they can continue to invest in the state and create jobs. This balanced approach also benefits Ohio utility customers because it will help lower their bills.”

“Opponents of clean energy have distorted this debate from the start. The standards that Ohio is reinstating with the governor’s veto represent a positive, but modest, step towards a clean energy future for its citizens. Ohio is still heavily dependent on coal and nuclear energy, but now we’re back on track to a more balanced energy future.”

Cleveland Plain Dealer: ELPC’s Kelter Calls Ohio Gov. Kasich’s Veto of State Energy Bill Positive Step Forward

Plain_Dealer_mastheadKasich Wins Strong Support from Environmentalists for Green Mandates
December 27, 2016
By John Funk

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Gov. John Kasich broke ranks with the legislature’s GOP leadership  Tuesday, vetoing a bill crafted by some of the state’s most conservative lawmakers, who believe wind and solar companies should compete against the state’s entrenched power companies on their own.

Kasich’s veto follows a campaign by environmental, business and consumer groups opposing the legislation.

Many of them celebrated the veto on Tuesday. Here are some of their comments.

The League of Women Voters of Ohio:

“While states such as Michigan and Illinois go forward with renewable energy, the Ohio Legislature seems determined to anchor us in the last century,” said Al Rosenfield, the league’s lobbyist. “We are pleased that HB 554 has been vetoed by Governor Kasich. We urge the General Assembly to sustain the veto, so that Ohio can move forward.”

Advanced Energy Economy: 

Today, Governor Kasich’s principled leadership has given Ohio an opportunity to get back on track,” said J.R. Tolbert, vice president for state policy. “He stood behind his commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency, allowing Ohio to regain its competitive advantage nationally. “Governor Kasich understands that renewable energy and energy efficiency create jobs and save money. That’s a formula that is good for business and good for every Ohioan.”

“The two-year freeze has cost Ohio jobs and investments. In the last three years, while Ohio has been idling, Michigan has attracted over $1.1 billion in renewable energy investments,” said Ted Ford, president of Ohio Advanced Energy Economy.

The Environmental Defense Fund:

“Today Governor Kasich put economic growth over politics, and stood up for a cleaner, healthier energy future for Ohio. With the state’s renewable and efficiency standards back in place, Ohio can reclaim its spot as a clean energy leader, clearing the way for well-paying jobs, millions in investment, and healthier air for all. Ohioans should cheer – it may be winter, but the clean energy freeze has finally thawed,” said Dick Munson, director, Midwest Clean Energy.

The Sierra Club Ohio Chapter:

We commend Gov.Kasich for vetoing the Ohio Legislature’s attempt to tie our state to outdated, dirty, and expensive energy sources. The world is doubling down on wind, solar, and energy efficiency, and Ohio’s robust manufacturing base is now in a better position to maximize that opportunity,” said Jenn Miller, director. “The return of energy efficiency and renewable energy standards will benefit all Ohioans, as Ohio’s clean energy programs result in lower energy costs, job creation, and improved air quality. We encourage Gov. Kasich to continue to move forward with clean energy policies that will benefit our state for years to come.”

The Union of Concerned Scientists:

Governor Kasich showed real leadership today. By vetoing House Bill 554, he has sent a strong message to the clean energy market that Ohio is serious about creating jobs and spurring investment in that industry,” said Melanie Moore, Midwest field director.

“The Union of Concerned Scientists has been working in coordination with local experts and activists for several years to lift the renewable energy standard freeze to create a win-win situation for the state’s economy and the environment. Governor Kasich’s actions have shown that he too believes Ohio families and businesses benefit when the state’s energy policy includes strong renewable energy and energy efficiency commitments.

EDP Renewables

“This courageous decision by the Governor is a positive step towards reaping a critical economic benefit for Ohio,” said Ryan Brown, executive vice president for eastern U.S. and Canada. “Reforming siting rules to allow Ohio communities that want to host wind farms to do so is the next step in taking advantage of this local resource.” EDPR is a Madrid-based international solar developer, which is completing a 100 megawatt project in Paulding County. The wind farm will power Amazon’s new data center in central Ohio.

The National Audubon Society:

“Conservative politics and profitable clean energy go hand-in-hand. Governor Kasich gets it and Ohioans owe him a big thanks,” said David Yarnold, Audubon president and CEO.

“Audubon has long supported the reinstatement of Ohio’s clean energy standards,” said Marnie Urso, Audubon’s senior program manager in Ohio. “Energy efficiency and renewable energy are vital components to protecting Ohio’s birds, wildlife and people from the threats of pollution and climate change.”

The Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund:

“I applaud Gov. Kasich for showing true leadership and vetoing this bill. HB 554 is a sloppy piece of legislation that could increase electric bills and clog our air with pollution while hampering innovation and job growth,” said Heather Taylor-Miesle, president. “We urge legislators to follow Gov. Kasich’s lead and allow Ohio’s clean energy potential to be unleashed.”

 MOMS Clean Air Force:

“The 40,000 members of Moms Clean Air Force in Ohio are so proud of Governor Kasich for standing by his pledge to veto legislation that stifled clean energy development in our state,” sai Laura Burns, Ohio coordinator,

“We know there is a connection between an investment in clean energy technologies and a reduction in harmful emissions. By vetoing House Bill 554, Gov Kasich has not only demonstrated his commitment to a clean energy economy in Ohio, but he has also ensured that our children will be protected from air pollution. We thank Governor Kasich for his leadership.”

The Environmental Law & Policy Center:

“The governor’s veto today is a positive step towards a clean energy future for Ohio. Ohio needs a balanced energy policy that includes renewable energy and energy efficiency. Business owners in the state’s renewable energy sector and energy efficiency sectors need certainty about Ohio’s direction so they can continue to invest in the state and create jobs,” said Rob Kelter, senior attorney.

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ClimateWire: ELPC’s Learner Sees More Wind, Solar in Illinois’ Future

Midwestern Lawmakers Green The Grid, Slightly
Benjamin Storrow, E&E News Reporter

Midwestern state capitals buzzed with energy legislation in the dying days of 2016.

In Illinois, legislators handed out $2.4 billion in subsidies to two nuclear plants, bolstered the state’s renewable energy mandates and gave utilities added financial incentive to pursue energy efficiency measures. Michigan lawmakers haggled over how much of the state’s power market should be open to competition but ultimately made few major changes. And in Ohio, legislators passed a plan to effectively make the Buckeye State’s renewable power standards optional. The measure’s fate now hinges on Gov. John Kasich (R), who has voiced his displeasure with the plan.

The net impact of all that paper-pushing: a slightly greener grid in one of America’s most coal-dependent regions.

How much credit, or derision, lawmakers can claim is unclear. Coal was already under siege from cheap natural gas in the Midwest. Wind, too, has made inroads — especially in Illinois, where it accounts for the majority of new capacity.

“On the margin, some of the legislation will have an impact,” said Travis Miller, an analyst who tracks the power sector at the investment research firm Morningstar. “But these are very large power markets, and at the end of the day, economics are going to drive what type of generation is in the energy mix.”

That’s not to dismiss the entirety of what lawmakers did, particularly in Illinois. Subsidies for Exelon Corp.’s two nuclear plants make the economic landscape for Dynegy Inc.’s coal plants even more challenging, analysts said. The Illinois Power Generating Co., an Dynegy subsidiary, filed for bankruptcy a few days after the bill passed.

Lawmakers in Springfield, Ill., provided a fix to Illinois’ renewable portfolio standard, ensuring an annual budget of $200 million in renewable energy credits. Greens are especially excited that roughly half of that sum will go toward distributed and community solar.

“Illinois will have more wind power and solar energy, as they receive policy support and are increasingly economic in the marketplace,” said Howard Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center in Chicago. “The public wants more clean renewable energy, and the public is going to get more clean renewable energy.”

Read the full story at: http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/2016/12/19/stories/1060047392

 

Energy Wire: Howard Lauds Renewable Energy Victories In Illinois Legislation

EnergyWire

Exelon Nuclear Plants Get Bailout in Sweeping Energy Bill
December 2, 2016
By Jeffrey Tomich

Years of sagging energy prices and eroding electricity demand pushed two Illinois nuclear plants to the brink of closure. A procedural assist in the final hours of the legislative calendar spared the plants from a knockout blow.

In the end, lawmakers approved the most significant rewrite of state energy policy in two decades. Among other things, it authorizes up to $2.4 billion in subsidies over the next decade to keep Exelon Corp.’s Clinton and Quad Cities nuclear plants running.

The bill, which will also trigger billions of dollars for wind, solar and energy efficiency, was helped by a last-minute maneuver removing the effective date. The seemingly innocuous change lowered the threshold for passage in the House, where it ultimately passed by just three votes.

The “Future Energy Jobs Bill” now goes to Gov. Bruce Rauner (R), who issued a statement late yesterday evening indicating he’ll sign it.

“This legislation will save thousands of jobs. It protects ratepayers, through guaranteed caps, from large rate increases in years to come. It also ensures taxpayers are not on the hook to keep the power plants open and online,” Rauner said in a statement.

The stakes in the battle over S.B. 2814 were high, especially for Chicago-based Exelon, the nation’s largest nuclear operator, which has been pushing for state aid for money-losing nuclear plants for the past two years (EnergyWire, June 3). The company threatened to take “irreversible” steps to shut down the plants if the Legislature didn’t pass the bill yesterday.

It’s also a win for clean energy advocates. The measure strengthens the state’s energy efficiency standard and includes a fix for Illinois’ long-broken renewable standard. Specifically, it requires development of enough new wind and solar energy to power 1 million homes by 2030.

Exelon went head-to-head with a coalition of wind and solar groups for much of the past two years over the future of Illinois’ energy mix (EnergyWire, Feb. 27, 2015). The state’s largest energy company and green groups finally reached a compromise last week.

“This forward-looking energy policy levels the playing field and values all carbon-free energy equally, positions Illinois as a national leader in advancing clean energy, and will provide a major boost to the Illinois economy,” Exelon’s chief executive, Chris Crane, said in a statement.

For opponents, including the state’s biggest energy users, the outcome is a setback.

Manufacturers, chemical plants and owners of Chicago skyscrapers repeatedly warned legislators that the bill will increase electric costs, undoing the benefits of competition that grew from deregulation in the late 1990s.

“Beware when you hear Exelon telling you what’s good for the customers,” an official from the Building Owners and Managers Association of Chicago told a Senate committee in a hearing Wednesday. “We’re the customers.”

Power plant owner Dynegy Inc., which has shut down 20 percent of the generating capacity in downstate Illinois in the past six months, also lobbied hard to kill the bill in the final days.

Dynegy supported it until last week, when the sponsor pulled a convoluted provision that would have generated millions of dollars in additional capacity payments for the Houston-based company’s coal plants (EnergyWire, Nov. 23).

A company spokesman didn’t respond to an email seeking comment last night.

Rates, Jobs at Issue

In the end, for legislators who voted on the bill yesterday evening, arguments centered on bill’s impact on electric rates and the state’s economy. And both sides came armed with conflicting data and studies as supporting evidence.

Rep. Bill Mitchell (R), whose district includes the 1,046-megawatt Clinton nuclear plant northeast of Springfield pleaded with lawmakers to spare jobs and taxes that are vital to the area.

Not only the 800 jobs at the plant but also those at nearby schools and businesses that depend on the plant were in jeopardy.

“The people of DeWitt County have been put through hell for the last six months wondering if they’ll have a job,” he said.

Opponents made equally passionate pleas to not ram through a massive, complex bill in the final hours while the state faces so many other pressing needs.

Rep. Mark Batinick (R) said the aid for Exelon was unnecessary because Illinois is a significant exporter of electricity.

“We’re going to subsidize a company so that it can sell its power out of state?” he said. “That’s supposed to be more important than a budget, than social services, than education?”

Bill supporters cited studies by Illinois agencies and another by Brattle Group consultants suggesting that Illinois electricity rates would go up if the nuclear plants shut down prematurely. Rauner pressed for rate caps for all classes of utility customers as a condition for his approval.

Including the energy savings from huge investments in energy efficiency that would be unleashed, consumers would actually see a net savings in energy costs in the long run, according to proponents including the Citizens Utility Board, a utility watchdog group.

St. Louis-based Ameren, a distribution utility that serves the southern half of Illinois, agreed and said its customers would save money even factoring in the cost of the nuclear subsidies.

Other consumer advocates, including Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) and AARP, weren’t convinced. Both fought the bill until the end and raised questions about whether the last-minute rate caps would protect all customers equally.

“We want to gamble on 50-plus lobbyists who spend a lot of money who tell us if we don’t do something, the sky’s going to fall? The sky is not falling, and rates are not guaranteed to go up,” said state Sen. Kyle McCarter (R).

State Sen. Chapin Rose (R), the bill’s lead sponsor in the state Senate, asserted that allowing the Exelon plants to close was the bigger risk. “How would you define losing 20 percent of the power on your grid? That’s a gamble,” he said.

Renewables, Efficiency Score Wins

Almost overshadowed by the drama around Exelon’s nuclear plants was the effect the bill will have on renewable energy development and energy efficiency in Illinois.

Illinois’ 25 percent renewable standard has been broken for years because of an unintended conflict in state law. S.B. 2814 resolves the conflict so the standard can be funded. It also specifically requires development of 1,300 megawatts of new wind and 300 MW of solar — a mix of utility-scale, community and rooftop projects.

The bill also strengthens Illinois’ energy efficiency standard, requiring Chicago-based Commonwealth Edison to reduce electricity usage in its service area by 21.5 percent by 2030. Ameren will be required to cut usage in its mostly rural downstate territory by 13 percent.

“This legislation should reenergize Illinois’ solar energy and wind power development bringing investments and cleaner air and water,” said Howard Learner, executive director of the Chicago-based Environmental Law & Policy Center, in a statement.

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WI State Journal: ELPC Concerned Over Use of Energy Efficiency Money On Broadband Coupons

Microsoft Word - Document1

More Broadband Money is on the Way for Rural Wisconsin
December 2, 2016
By Judy Newman

Efforts to bring high-speed internet to rural Wisconsin residents and businesses got a double-boost on Thursday, with up to $61.5 million in additional funds being funneled toward projects to expand broadband.

Gov. Scott Walker asked the state Legislature to pass a bill that would allocate an additional $35.5 million over the next three years to make broadband more accessible to rural residents and businesses.

The proposal, to be funded by a surplus in the state’s Universal Service Fund, would triple Wisconsin’s broadband and technology investments to $52 million for the 2017 through 2019 fiscal years, Walker said.

“It will allow Wisconsin communities, especially in rural areas, to compete for jobs, improve education, and provide a higher quality of life,” the governor said.

The money includes grants to expand high-speed internet access in rural areas, and for schools and libraries to upgrade their internet access and train teachers.

Also on Thursday, the state Public Service Commission approved spending up to $26 million in the 2017 and 2018 calendar years toward new programs for rural areas that couple energy efficiency projects with broadband upgrades.

The PSC action puts broadband benefits — for the first time — into the mix of incentives offered through the Focus on Energy program for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. It also calls on internet service providers, from local companies to national giants, to offer a package of energy- and internet-related incentives.

That means, for example, rural homeowners may be able to get a $50 rebate for installing high-speed internet along with a rebate for adding a smart thermostat. “Smart thermostats use the internet to adjust the energy consumption in your home,” said Bob Seitz, executive assistant to PSC chairwoman Ellen Nowak.

The plan drew some critics.

“The Public Service Commission continues to try to fit a square peg in a round hole,” Andy Olsen, senior policy advocate for the Environmental Law & Policy Center, said in a statement. “Using Focus to fund internet subscriptions only helps people who already have broadband access; it doesn’t increase access to those who could most benefit.”

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BREAKING: ELPC Statement on Illinois Energy Legislation

Illinois Energy Legislation Boosts Renewable Energy
ELPC’s Work to Protect Consumers Continues

SPRINGFIELD – After more than two years of negotiations, the Illinois General Assembly voted Thursday on a measure that should significantly improve and expand renewable energy in Illinois by modernizing the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS).

“This legislation should reenergize Illinois’ solar energy and wind power development bringing investments and cleaner air and water,” said Howard Learner, Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “Growing Illinois’ renewable energy resources is good for job creation, good for economic growth and good for the environment.”

ELPC led a coalition of environmental, consumer advocacy, low-income, faith, public health groups and solar energy businesses in negotiating improvements to the state’s broken RPS. The modernized RPS creates new programs for community solar, promotes redevelopment of brownfields as solar brightfields, spurs solar projects in lower-income communities, and should also help ramp-up wind development. These policies will expand access to renewable energy to people throughout the state. The RPS maintains existing rate caps.

ELPC continues to be concerned about large consumer subsidies provided in the legislation for two Exelon nuclear power plants which the company executives had slated for closure because they are uneconomic in the competitive power market.

ELPC is pleased with the environmentally beneficial provisions in this energy legislation that should result in significant development of new wind power and solar energy projects in Illinois, spur millions of dollars of economic development, and provide for a cleaner environment.

During hundreds of hours of bill negotiations, ELPC partnered with the Clean Jobs Coalition to advance strong clean energy legislation. Additionally we worked with public officials, consumer advocates, renewable energy developers and low-income grassroots groups to strike several controversial provisions from the bill. These include so-called “demand charges,” which would have fundamentally changed how customers are charged for electricity.

“This bill will expand new solar energy and wind power for Illinois instead of creating new barriers through unfair demand charges and proposed weakening of fair net metering compensation for consumers with solar energy panels,” added Learner.

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ELPC’s Josh Mandelbaum Named to Midwest Energy News 40 Under 40

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 28, 2016

Contact:
David Jakubiak

Environmental Law & Policy Center’s Josh Mandelbaum Named to Midwest Energy News’ 2016 40 Under 40 Class
Des Moines-based Attorney Leads Iowa Clean Energy Work On Wind Power, Solar Energy and Energy Efficiency

DES MOINES, IOWA – Josh Mandelbaum, a staff attorney with the Midwest regional environmental advocacy group the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) was named to Midwest Energy News’ 2016 40 Under 40 Class on Wednesday. Mandelbaum was among 15 emerging leaders from the clean energy sector selected for the recognition on the first of three days of announcements. The 2016 class will be honored at a reception in Chicago on November 10.

“I’m honored to be recognized for work advancing renewable energy and energy efficiency in Iowa,” Mandelbaum said. “The 2016 class is loaded with inspiring colleagues who are bringing cleaner air and water, economic development and a 21st Century electric grid to the Midwest.”

As ELPC’s lead attorney in Iowa, Mandelbaum has played a key role advancing energy efficiency policies in Iowa which allow utility customers to save money on cost saving energy efficiency improvements. His work on solar energy has helped bring solar power to homes and businesses across the state and he recently worked on an agreement which allowed the nation’s largest wind energy project to move forward, promising billions in private investments, jobs and clean energy to the state.

The Environmental Law & Policy Center is the Midwest’s leading public interest environmental legal advocacy and eco-business innovation organization, and among the nation’s leaders. We develop and lead successful strategic advocacy campaigns to improve environmental quality and protect our natural resources. We are public interest environmental entrepreneurs who engage in creative business dealmaking with diverse interests to put into practice our belief that environmental progress and economic development can be achieved together. ELPC’s multidisciplinary staff of talented and experienced public interest attorneys, environmental business specialists, public policy advocates and communications specialists brings a strong and effective combination of skills to solve environmental problems.

A 2009 graduate of the University of Iowa Law School, Mandelbaum worked as a litigation associate with the Lane & Waterman law firm in Davenport before joining ELPC. Before law school, he worked for four years as a Senior Policy Advisor for Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, and held a fellowship at the U.S. Department of Transportation in the Secretary’s Policy Office.

Learn more about ELPCs work in Iowa.

Midwest Energy News: ELPC’s Kelter Says Ohio Proposal Bad For Customers

Midwest-Energy-News-Logo

Ohio Utility Seeks to Double Its Fixed Distribution Charges

By Kathiann M. Kowalski

In response to an increasing number of customers installing solar power or opting for energy efficiency measures, American Electric Power has asked Ohio regulators to increase the share of distribution charges that all its utility customers must pay, regardless of how much electricity they use.

AEP Ohio has seen a jump in its solar net metering customers from 286 in 2011 to 983 currently, said company spokesperson Terri Flora. The company’s website says it serves nearly 1.5 million total customers.

“This increase in net metering customers is currently resulting in a shift of the recovery of fixed costs from net metering customers to non-net metering customers,” Flora said, explaining the rationale for the proposed change.
While the proposal is “revenue neutral,” according to Flora, clean energy advocates say it would more than double customers’ fixed distribution charges. That, in turn, decreases incentives for energy efficiency and solar energy.

“When you raise the fixed customer charge, what you’re doing is you’re taking control out of the customer’s hands to control their own bills by using less electricity,” said Rob Kelter at the Environmental Law & Policy Center.
A ‘huge change’

Electricity bills for Ohio consumers have two parts: a charge for regulated distribution services provided by the utility in their geographic area, and a generation charge for electricity supplied competitively by either the utility or another company.

Some charges on the distribution part of the bill are made regardless of how much electricity a customer uses. From the customer’s perspective, it’s a charge for having service available, regardless of how much or how little is used from the grid.

The rest of the distribution charge varies with the amount of electricity used by the customer. So, the more electricity that’s used, the higher the total distribution charge.

From the AEP’s perspective, though, “virtually all distribution costs are fixed costs,” Flora said.

“AEP Ohio is only proposing to move a portion of [those] costs into the fixed customer charge,” she continued. “Our average cost is $27.24 per customer, and we are proposing a customer charge of $18.40.”

That would be more than twice the current fixed charge of $8.40.

Approval of the proposal would be a “a huge change” in Ohio regulatory policy with “big ramifications for customers,” Kelter said.

Read More at http://midwestenergynews.com/2016/08/26/ohio-utility-seeks-to-double-its-fixed-distribution-charges/

Progress IL: Enviros rally & testify on clean energy justice issues in Chicago

Environmentalists from across the country were in Chicago Wednesday to testify before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about its proposed Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP).

CEIP is an optional component of the Clean Power Plan, which seeks to slash carbon emissions from existing U.S. power plants. The voluntary incentive program is meant to jump-start action to curb carbon pollution and help states comply with the Clean Power Plan.

CEIP seeks to reward early investment in energy efficiency and solar projects in low-income communities as well as zero-emitting renewable energy projects — including wind, solar, geothermal and hydropower — in all communities.

Participating states could use the emission allowances or emission rate credits distributed through the program to comply with the Clean Power Plan when it takes effect in 2022. The EPA, which released its updated CEIP plan in June, is proposing that the matching pool of allowances or emission rate credits be split evenly between low-income community projects and renewable energy projects.

Emma Lockridge, a leader with Michigan United and the People’s Action Institute, was among dozens of speakers from across the country who testified this morning in support of making CEIP mandatory and more comprehensive.

Lockridge and many other hearing attendees described themselves as living in frontline, environmental justice communities.

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