The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has learned that Plain Township trustee Louis Giavasis is leading an effort to undo legislative crafting that American Electric Power (AEP) and First Energy (FE) lobbied the Ohio General Assembly to include in SB 221.
What is the object of Giavasis' work: a veto power (to AEP/FE and the like) over the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) modification of a AEP/FE or any other electric utility submitted Electric Security Plan (ESP) for a rate increase.
The veto power was not included in the original Ohio Senate version of SB 221.
It is only when Ohio Speaker of the House Jon Husted and his political, servile minion - Stark Countian John P. Hagan (R - 50th, now term-limited out) - in his capacity as chair of the Ohio House Public Utilities Committee got their hands on the bill, did the veto power get included.
As written about by The Report in previous posts, Stark County connected legislators were "asleep at the switch" and failed to notice that the utility company veto power was in SB 221.
Here is the test of an e-mail sent by Giavasis to Stark legislators: (in yellow)
To: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: State Legislators Senate Bill 221
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 2009 11:35:07 -0500
January 20, 2008
Honorable State Senators: Kirk Schuring and Joseph Schiavoni
Honorable State Representatives: Steven Slesnick, W. Scott Oelslager, Todd Snitchler, Mark D. Okey
I am writing to you in regard to S.B. 221 and but specifically I would like to discuss with you defect in this bill that needs immediate attention.
On April 10, 2008 The Coalition for Affordable Energy Law Committee questioned and pointed out this defect in submitted testimony to the House Public Utilities Committee before the bills final approval. “This bill is worse for consumers than S.B. 3. Taken as a whole, this bill could lead to circumstances where Ohio ratepayers will be paying rates higher than market rates. When multiple surcharges are layered on top of rates, which could start at levels close to market, Ohio consumers could be put in the worst of all worlds.” If that was not enough t raise a red flag to the House Committee this part should have, Absolute Utility ESP Veto Power, ”The bill at lines 1073 to 1086 gives the utility an absolute veto over any changes made by the PUCO to an ESP as filed, allowing the utility to go to the MRO whenever the PUCO modifies the utility’s desired ESP. This invests the utility with enormous bargaining power.”
They concluded their testimony by stating, “All told, Sub. S.B. 221 would cause the rates of Ohio Power to go from about the lowest in the United States to the highest. The economic effect from this massive transfer of wealth from Ohio ratepayers of approximately $800,000,000 per year by the end of year five, to Ohio Power’s shareholders would be significant.”
Giving the energy companies ABSOLUTE VETO AUTHORITY to withdraw a filed ESP in the event the PUCO modifies it and go to the open market in my opinion goes against what I have been told was the original intent of this bill and it must be corrected. AEP is asking for a 15% annual increase for the next three years, when this is compounded the residents in my community will be realizing a 52% increase in electric rates. If the PUCO tries to modify this request, AEP is open to withdraw and take their rates to the open market. I do not believe that any of you that voted for S.B 221 in good conscience thought this was the intent of the bill.
Our residents are asking for a unified coalition of the Stark County Legislators get together to protect them and initiate legislation to remove the Absolute Veto Authority from S.B 221. Time is of the essence because First Energy is already going to the open Market because the PUCO modified their filed ESP, not one of our residents can afford to wait for someone else in the legislature to figure out this bill as written is going to harm everyone in Ohio.
Louis P. Giavasis
President, Plain Township Board of Trustees
CC. Ron Ponder WHBC
The Repository has only devoted "token" attention to the effort by AEP/Ohio Power to get a huge 52% (residential), 62% (business) increase over three years. One has to wonder why. Very strange indeed.
Readers of The Report can help Giavasis by e-mailing all of the public officials (see the Giavasis e-mail for their e-mail addresses) insisting that the Giavasis requested correction to SB 221 be made.