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Utilities Commission Chair Doesn't Take Sides On Energy Bill

FirstEnergy Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in Oak Harbor, Ohio.
Ron Schwane

The chair of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio says judging the pros and cons of the "clean energy" bill, which some have called a nuclear power plant bailout, depends on any given goal.

Sam Randazzo, the chair of Ohio’s regulatory authority for electricity, stood before a House committee to talk about the bill that would create a fund that could bailout the state’s two nuclear power plants.

Randazzo would not say if he’s for or against the plan, which would charge all ratepayers $2.50 to subsidize nuclear power among other non-carbon emitting power generators.

“What is your objective? If you have the objective of reducing CO2 emissions, as I said earlier, the sub bill is much more purposefully directed to that objective,” says Randazzo.

Environmental groups argue the opposite is true since the bill would get rid of the requirements for utilities to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

But Randazzo says the proposed “clean air” program would create a bigger pool of money compared to the current standards.

Randazzo had previously lobbied for industrial energy users, and has been critical of efficiency programs. He told lawmakers he questions the savings they bring and says there’s still room for efficiency in the marketplace if the bill were enacted.

The Ohio House Energy and Natural Resources Committee accepted changes proposed in the substitute bill that would delay the implementation of some of the bill's provisions.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.