Rate of Return: What Will Ohio’s Utilities Get for Campaign Cash?

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Research Overview

[Update 4/22/14: SB58 has now been replaced by SB310, legislation that would effectively gut Ohio’s renewable energy standard by freezing the level of energy derived from renewable sources where it is today (2.5%), rather than at the 12.5% target originally set for 2025. Hearings are currently underway in the Ohio Senate.]

Senate Bill 58, introduced in 2013 by Senator Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) and currently before the Senate Public Utilities committee, aims to undo significant portions of Ohio’s energy efficiency and renewable energy laws that were adopted in 2008. The efficiency standards in Ohio law have been shown to have saved billions of dollars for electricity users, and have created thousands of jobs for Ohioans.

SB 58 would reverse these achievements and raise energy costs for Ohioans, in addition to creating large benefits for the utility companies. Aggressive giving to the campaigns of candidates for Statehouse and the parties that support them may be part of a coordinated strategy to enact these changes, which will cost consumers and enrich utility companies by an estimated nearly $4 billion over the next few years.

Innovation Ohio found that employees and PACs of the state’s four electric utilities contributed nearly $2.7 million to parties and candidates for offices that play a role in the lawmaking process, tilted in favor of Republicans, particularly those serving on the Senate Public Utilities Committee where the bill is currently being considered.

Read the report: “RATE OF RETURN: What Will Ohio’s Electric Utilities Get for Campaign Cash?