Ohio Falls in Energy Efficiency Ranks

Ohio has fallen in energy efficiency compared with other states, according to an annual report from a group that supports clean-energy policies.

The state ranks 27th in the country, down two spots from 2014 and down nine spots from 2013 in a scorecard published by the nonprofit American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.

“The point drops were due to stagnation on the part of Ohio,” said Annie Gilleo, the group’s state policy manager. “If one state is standing still, other states are going pass it.”

The big change in Ohio was attributed to legislation last year that placed a two-year freeze on standards for energy efficiency and renewable energy. The standards apply to electricity utilities. Some of those utilities pushed for the freeze, saying the costs of compliance were greater than the benefits.

And now, some lawmakers want to make the freeze permanent and replace requirements with voluntary incentives.

“Energy efficiency can provide great value if it is structured properly so that Ohio ratepayers pay less for electricity and the state uses less electricity overall,” according to a report issued last month by the co-chairmen of the Energy Mandates Study Committee, a joint state House-Senate panel that is asking for a permanent freeze.

Gov. John Kasich has said an indefinite freeze is “unacceptable” and it is not clear whether any plan has enough support to pass. If nothing passes, then the freeze will automatically be lifted, an outcome the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy and others would like to see.

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