Credits Community Choice Aggregation As Key to Making Ohio's Electricity Market Successful
by Paul Fenn The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) issued a report to the Ohio General Assembly on May 28 updating it on the status of Ohio's competitive electric market based on official switching statistics and a summary of market developments currently facing the Commission.
The PUCO report declared that Community Choice aggregation "continues to be the success story of Ohio's electric choice program." More than 150 local governments passed ballot issues and received PUCO certification to band together and purchase electricity, in bulk, for their residents. According to the report, Community Choice aggregation programs account for nearly 93 percent of residential customer switching, more than 88 percent of commercial customer switching, and nearly 20 percent of industrial customer switching.
Governor Bob Taft signed Senate Bill 3 (SB 3) on July 6, 1999, which ushered into Ohio a sweeping restructuring of the electric industry and included provisions allowing municipalities to aggregate their residents and businesses on an opt-out basis. Modeled on Massachusetts' 1997 Electric Restructuring Law, the dramatic successes of Community Choice in Ohio bolstered efforts to pass similar laws in California (2002) and New Jersey (2003).
The first major aggregation in Ohio and the largest public aggregation in the nation was achieved by the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council, which has combined the purchasing power 600,000 customers, switching them from coal and nuclear power to a blend of natural gas and renewable energy sources offered by Green Mountain Energy, reportedly a 75% pollution reduction and a 33% greenhouse gas reduction in their electricity, with a guaranteed 6% savings in the energy portion of NOPEC customers' electric bills.
"Of the twenty-four states in the United States that have adopted electric choice, Ohio's experience has been among the best," PUCO Chairman Alan R. Schriber stated. "While it is difficult to argue that electric choice has been pervasive anywhere, under the circumstances, Ohio's program has so far been a success."
For more information, visit http://www.local.org. The official electric choice statistics are available in the PUCO report, The Ohio Retail Electric Choice Programs Report of Market Activity 2001-2002, which is available on the PUCO Web site, www.PUCO.ohio.gov.
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Founder and Director of Local Power, Paul Fenn is author of California's Community Choice law, Chapter 838 of 2002, which allows municipalities to switch their communities to alternative energy providers - as well as author of San Francisco's 2001 voter-approved "Solar Bond" authority, as well as a plan to use H Bonds and Community Choice aggregation to build the world's largest solar power plant in San Francisco starting next year. Mr. Fenn is also author of new state "Solar Networking" legislation, Senate 697, sponsored by Pomona Senator Nell Soto. Local Power is based in Oakland, California and may be found at www.local.org
Copyright 2003 by Local Power.