The following ran in the Ohio Hannah Report; April 7, 2020

COLUMBUS, OH – Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy (OPAE) accused the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel (OCC) Tuesday of exploiting the coronavirus crisis to push its long-term goal of eliminating energy efficiency (EE) programs. Instead of saving Ohioans money, as the agency claims, OPAE says cutting EE actually would “kill jobs” and hurt consumers.

OCC has asked the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to “repurpose” Columbia Gas of Ohio and Vectren Energy of Ohio’s EE charges and shared savings for roughly $60 million in ratepayer assistance during the state of emergency. (See The Hannah Report, 4/6/20.)

“The Ohio Consumers’ Counsel may be the watchdog for Ohio’s utilities customers, but its recent proposals to kill energy efficiency programs will lead to job losses, lost energy savings and won’t address the problems faced by Ohio’s newly unemployed …,” OPAE said in a release. “These programs employ hundreds of people, and the OCC proposal would leave them permanently unemployed.”

The group says its 52 nonprofit members are the real experts in helping Ohioans pay bills, not OCC.

“We are working with the PUCO and the Ohio Development Services Agency (DSA) to develop long-term strategies for getting people out of hock to the utilities. OCC is not at the table,” says OPAE.