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Strickland unveils energy plan  

Protection for consumers and the development of alternative energy sources were at the heart of Gov. Ted Strickland’s energy plan unveiled today.

Strickland said state regulators must still sign off on any plans by electric utilities to change rates. That’s been the procedure since the Legislature tried to bring competition to the industry beginning in 2001.

Strickland said state regulators must still sign off on any plans by electric utilities to change rates. That’s been the procedure since the Legislature tried to bring competition to the industry beginning in 2001.

Competition hasn’t developed, and utilities remain under a regulated structure until the end of next year.

What that means to customers’ bills is not yet clear, although Strickland promised that stable prices remain a priority.

Strickland also wants a minimum of 25 percent of electricity sold in Ohio by 2025 to be generated by what he calls “advanced energy technologies.” Those include clean coal, new nuclear power technologies, fuel cells and renewable energy sources such as wind, water and solar power.

Ohio lawmakers passed an electric deregulation law in 1999 aimed at allowing competition between suppliers and lowering customers’ bills. The law required a transition period with frozen distribution rates for big utilities and a 5 percent discount on generation to allow the market to develop.

Rate stabilization plans are set to expire at the end of 2008 for Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp., Columbus-based American Electric Power Co. and Duke Energy Corp., which supplies power in southwest Ohio. Dayton Power & Light Co.’s plan expires in January 2010.

Many groups have offered solutions to the problem, including the Ohio Coalition for Affordable Power, an alliance that includes industry giants such as Ford, General Motors and Procter & Gamble.

Many of the plans offered by industrial and commercial users want a return to strict regulation.

Strickland would like legislation on his plan completed by year’s end. If the plan clears the Republican-controlled state Legislature, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio would have to find a way to implement it.

By John McCarthy

Associated Press

The Enquirer

29 August 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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