Recent news

PUCO Needs Reforms

Aug 12, 2022 12:36 PM

We're finally getting more of the picture regarding what led to the House Bill 6 scandal. A trove of more than 2,000 records subpoenaed by the FBI shows how former PUCO chair Sam Randazzo, Governor Mike DeWine and others acted leading up to and during passage of HB 6.

The records also prove that, together we are a force to be reckoned with

No one exerted more influence over Ohio's corrupt energy policy than Sam Randazzo. Our Ohio Consumers Power Alliance project was correct to call for his resignation.

Thank you to the 2,467 members like you who wrote to demand Gov. Mike DeWine remove him from the PUCO.

Those that were shaping energy policy during these scandalous past few years must be held to account. Won't you please help?


We wholeheartedly agree with this editorial from Sunday's Toledo Blade:

It’s an embarrassment to the very concept of state ethics laws that a regulator could earn millions from a firm he regulated while filing Ohio financial disclosure statements.

It would be better to abolish the Ohio Ethics Commission than to allow this massive failure of process to go unfixed.


Regulators’ foot-dragging on releasing public records hides the full story behind Ohio’s utility corruption scandal. We deserve the truth.

New information comes to light every day affirming that Ohioans have been left in the dark about how our energy policy is made. But PUCO still hasn't produced all the documents from both before and after Randazzo's tenure.

We demand to know:

WHY has the PUCO mostly stayed the course with the approach Randazzo crafted for the agency’s limited and piecemeal response to the HB 6 scandal?

WHY did Gov. DeWine use his personal email to communicate with former PUCO chair Sam Randazzo about House Bill 6?

WHY has the PUCO stymied challengers’ fact-finding efforts in various HB 6-related cases, as well as delaying timelines for those cases, which won’t wrap up before DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted face re-election in the fall?

And WHAT, if anything, has DeWine told the PUCO since Randazzo left about investigating alleged corruption?


Power A Clean Future Ohio goes to Washington

On Thursday August 4, Power a Clean Future Ohio Executive Director Joe Flarida delivered expert testimony to the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs during its hearing, "Borrowed Time: The Economic Costs of Climate Change.”

Joe presented the findings from a first-of-its-kind report, The Bill is Coming Due: Calculating the Financial Cost of Climate Change to Ohio’s Local Governments, which provides a conservative estimate of the additional costs that municipalities can expect to incur due to climate change.

According to the report, local governments across Ohio will need to increase municipal spending by as much as $5.9 billion annually by midcentury to adapt to the challenges of a worsening climate crisis.


Do Better

Aug 12, 2022 12:35 PM

Thank you to everyone who has called, written, emailed, recorded a video, or made a contribution to our Our Crime with DeWine campaign!

We released another video featuring Ohioans who are sick of the lack of leadership and integrity demonstrated by the DeWine/Husted Administration in cleaning up the House Bill 6/PUCO scandal.

Disappointment and frustration over unanswered calls for change and unanswered calls on the phone are moving more Ohioans to action. They are demanding the Governor “do better.”

We hope you will take a moment to watch:


Our voices are being heard

"Coal subsidies and gutted renewable standards remain two years after Householder’s bribery arrest." It's enough to make you think you have to be living in an alternate universe. But no, just living in Ohio post House Bill 6. 

Our former Senior Advisor, Lisa Maatz commented on how the Ohio legislature have refused to pass a full repeal of HB6: 

“Consumers are getting hosed in Ohio right now and they know it... Politicians have been counting on consumers having short memories..the reality is the sting of this is lingering and we get a reminder of it every month when our bills come up.”

 


FirstEnergy’s Executive Council knew of Randazzo payout long before FBI closed in

The $4.3 million Randazzo payment was disclosed last week in a shareholder securities lawsuit

FirstEnergy's C-suite executives and senior VPs were apparently all informed of the company's plan to bribe Ohio's top utility regulator in a meeting months before they paid out the $4.3 million bribe. FirstEnergy only publicly disclosed the payout in 2020 after the FBI raided Randazzo’s home.

The timing of the alleged Executive Council meeting matters

Former FirstEnergy CEO Chuck Jones disclosed the existence of the payment to Randazzo’s private consulting firm at an Executive Council meeting in December 2018. It means that we can finally let go of the claim that Governor DeWine hand-picked Sam Randazzo to lead the Public Utilities Commission without knowing his ties to FirstEnergy.

It's further evidence how FirstEnergy works behind the scenes to protect their profits and fight the clean energy transition.


TAKE ACTION!

Did you know that we have two electric school bus manufacturers in the state of Ohio and 611 school districts, yet NOT ONE electric school bus is driven on our roads?! If you have a moment, please tell your school district leaders today that you are ready for EV buses in Ohio!


Un-happy Scandalversary

Aug 12, 2022 12:33 PM

Two years ago on July 21, FBI agents blew open the biggest bribery scheme in Ohio history with the arrests of Larry Householder and four associates on bribery and racketeering charges.

In the 24 months that followed:

  • Two men pled guilty
  • FirstEnergy fired top executives
  • Ohio's top utility regulator Sam Randazzo resigned (after the FBI raided his condo)
  • one co-defendant died by suicide
  • lawmakers expelled Householder from the Legislature
  • FirstEnergy admitted complicity in the bribery scheme and entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the federal government; and
  • Some of the tainted HB6 was repealed

BUT...Ohioans have yet to see justice fully done. 

With your help, our Crime with DeWine campaign keeps pressing for accountability in Columbus and real reform at the PUCO.

Our latest video featured Zach Bullheimer, a Columbus resident who was impacted by last month’s life-threatening AEP power shutoffs. Zach details how he was personally affected by the outages, but also how others in his neighborhood suffered because of grid vulnerabilities and a lack of advanced notice for consumers.

Governor Mike DeWine knew these outages were coming, yet did nothing to warn Ohioans. He did, however, find the time to accept $13,000 in campaign contributions from AEP in April of this year. His priorities are clear.

Ohio deserves a comprehensive energy policy built around equitable solutions that are good for our economy, our communities, and our health. We continue to call on lawmakers to immediately repeal ALL of HB 6 in order to reinstate Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards in full and stop supporting ratepayer-funded subsidies of antiquated coal facilities.


Most of us don’t have $61 million to spend

Jul 18, 2022 4:19 PM

Over the past few months, members like you have signed petitions, made phone calls, written letters, and recorded videos demanding that Gov. DeWine listen to the people and reject utility campaign contributions.

Instead, Governor DeWine and Lieutenant Governor Husted continue to take money from the same utility companies that brought us House Bill 6 and shut off the power for hundreds of thousands of families during last month’s life-threatening heat waves. Most of us don’t have $61 million to spend on campaign contributions.

In April alone, Governor DeWine took $13,000 from AEP, Ohio's largest electric utility 

Governor DeWine has the power to end this culture of corruption at the Public Utilities Commission. Instead, he chooses to profit from it while all of us are left in the dark.

Don’t let Governor DeWine off the hook 

Call him today (614) 644-4357

Even better, send us a video of you doing it (upload here)!


PUCO hearing last Wednesday

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio hosted a hearing last week about this month’s AEP blackouts. Ohioans are feeling the full impact of our state’s poor energy policy decisions. Tragically, the shutoffs and outages hit low-income, non-white neighborhoods especially hard. This is why we need the Energy Jobs & Justice Act!

AEP officials appeared before the PUCO to discuss this month's electric power outages. The meeting was open to the public and is available to watch now on the PUCO’s YouTube channel.

7 things leaders should do to get serious

Janine Migden-Ostrander, an Institute for Energy Democracy Fellow at Pace University’s Law School, Energy and Climate Center is the former Ohio Consumers’ Counsel. Janine lays out seven common-sense steps Ohio leadership can take to protect customers, assure grid reliability and make energy is more affordable:

 


No comment is NOT acceptable, Gov. DeWine

Jul 18, 2022 4:15 PM

Another installment in the Crime with DeWine corruption saga! Ohio Citizen Action’s Crime with DeWine campaign released the latest video in the series.

The new video stars real Ohioans sending a message to their Governor. Consumers are picking up the phone to call Governor Mike DeWine, urging him to stop taking campaign contributions from electric utilities and clean up the corruption at the PUCO. His silence speaks volumes. 

As the House Bill 6 scandal nears its second anniversary, we wonder what it will take to get the DeWine Administration to stand up for Ohioans and FINALLY change the culture of corruption in Ohio politics.We hope you will take a moment to watch this week’s Crime with DeWine video release.

We hope you will take a moment to call Governor DeWine and leave a message of your own

(614) 644-4357

Even better, send us a video of you doing it (upload here)!


Power A Clean Future Ohio in the New York Times

The New York Times highlighted the work we are doing in Ohio with Power a Clean Future Ohio.  The path forward in Ohio on climate change is local. Our cities and counties are the answer to increase and accelerate their climate actions. 

We won't solve this global issue rooted in environmental & economic justice without putting local solutions first.

 


Protect Ohio, not AEP, Gov. DeWine

Jun 30, 2022 2:31 PM

Thousands of Ohioans like you have contacted Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted complaining about their lack of leadership following the HB6 scandal and their refusal to reject campaign cash from regulated utilities.

This week’s Crime with DeWine video features young people reading snippets of these letters sent to the Governor and making a call of their own for the DeWine Administration to do their jobs and stand up for Ohioans.

More intentional power outages are on the horizon as temperatures climb this summer, and with the news that AEP gave Governor Mike DeWine $13,000 in campaign contributions, we need the DeWine administration to protect the public, not AEP.

Ohioans, young and old, are counting on it.

We hope you will take a moment to watch this week’s Crime with DeWine video and send Governor DeWine a message today.


University Heights joins Power A Clean Future Ohio

University Heights is officially the 32nd PCFO Community! Their city council passed the resolution on June 21 with unanimous support. 

Change truly happens at the local level! There are huge opportunities for cities to partner with Power a Clean Future Ohio to increase and accelerate their climate actions. While there is still so much to do, in many cities across Ohio this work is already underway thanks to your support.


 

We are extremely grateful to everyone who contributed to help fund our Crime with DeWine campaign so far. Because of you, we were able to raise more than $16,805 from 511 contributors to bring our message to the Governor's doorstep. 


Answer Us, Governor DeWine

Jun 22, 2022 4:40 PM

For the past three months, thousands of you have been telling the DeWine administration to reject regulated electric utility campaign contributions and spearhead real, concrete reforms at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. Thank you.

We have been saying that "enough is enough."

The Governor, however, is saying nothing.

Ohio Citizen Action CEO, Rachael Belz, issued the next video in the Crime with DeWine campaign series, demanding a response from the DeWine Administration:

“Today, on behalf of thousands of Ohioans who are supporting these efforts, I am calling directly on Governor DeWine and Lt. Gov. Husted to give us an answer once and for all,” said Ohio Citizen Action CEO Rachael Belz. “Will you pledge to reject ALL regulated electric utility contributions and stop letting utilities dictate energy policy in this state?” 

"We aren’t going away, Governor DeWine. And neither is the stink of corruption around the Ohio Statehouse. This is your chance. We will be waiting for your answer."

The Crime with DeWine effort is not tied to any election-related activities or a partisan campaign. Unlike other efforts aimed at unseating the Governor, this grassroots effort specifically asks Governor DeWine and Lt. Gov Husted to act in their current official administration roles to reduce utility corruption and enact real reforms at the PUCO.


Our "Bribery Bunch" video is still making a splash


Ohio Citizen Action Demands Answers from Governor DeWine

Jun 22, 2022 4:31 PM

Three months after launch of Crime with DeWine, Governor is still ignoring need for reform

Columbus, OH)—Three months ago, Ohio Citizen Action launched “Crime with DeWine,” a campaign calling on Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted to reject regulated electric utility campaign contributions and spearhead real, concrete reforms at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. The campaign has released a new video every Tuesday at 2pm for the last 16 weeks featuring Ohioans from every corner of the state voicing their disappointment in Governor DeWine’s lack of leadership and demanding a response to calls for change. But that response has not come.

Week after week, Ohio ratepayers are submitting videos, making phone calls, sending letters and emails to both Governor DeWine and Lt. Gov. Husted telling them to end the culture of corruption where utilities are in control of politics in Ohio.

They are saying that enough is enough. The Governor, however, is saying nothing.

Today, Ohio Citizen Action CEO Rachael Belz issued the next video in the Crime with DeWine campaign series, demanding a response from the DeWine Administration.

“Today, on behalf of thousands of Ohioans who are supporting these efforts, I am calling directly on Governor DeWine and Lt. Gov. Husted to give us an answer once and for all,” said Ohio Citizen Action CEO Rachael Belz. “Will you pledge to reject ALL regulated electric utility contributions and stop letting utilities dictate energy policy in this state? If we’ve learned anything from the recent life-threatening power outages, it’s that we cannot wait another day to take control of our energy policy and make sure it works for everyone.”

What has been seen instead are the real-life impacts that come from having no comprehensive energy policy for Ohio. House Bill 6 was bought and paid for by utilities like FirstEnergy and AEP, and it dismantled the state’s successful energy efficiency standards. These standards reduced energy usage and decreased demand. A reduction on electricity demands last week could have helped to ease the burden on AEP’s transmission system, keeping the lights and AC on for more than 200,000 customers during a stifling heatwave. It didn’t have to be this way.  

“We aren’t going away, Governor DeWine. And neither is the stink of corruption around the Ohio Statehouse,” said Belz. “This is your chance. We will be waiting for your answer.”

The Crime with DeWine effort is not tied to any election-related activities or a partisan campaign. Unlike other efforts aimed at unseating the Governor, this grassroots effort specifically asks Governor DeWine and Lt. Gov Husted to act in their current official administration roles to reduce utility corruption and enact real reforms at the PUCO.

-- press release, Rachael Belz, Ohio Citizen Action


"Pretty Shady Stuff"

Jun 15, 2022 4:33 PM

It has been a busy few weeks for our Crime with DeWine campaign!

On Wednesday, June 1, our field canvassers took to the streets around the Ohio Statehouse asking ratepayers for their reactions to Governor DeWine’s lack of leadership in the wake of the House Bill 6 scandal. With great shots of our mobile billboard, this week’s video features the responses of real Ohioans.

Governor DeWine needs to hear from you! Please send him a message today.


last week's video:

Last week’s Bribery Bunch video is making the rounds! In only one week, the video has had more than 52,000 views on YouTube, Facebook, and other platforms. Be sure to go back and watch it if you haven't yet and please share to keep it circulating. 


Register to learn: Why Ohio needs the Energy Jobs and Justice Act

This Thursday at noon! Please RSVP to discuss equity, environmental justice, and climate resilience with Rep. Casey Weinstein and Rep Juanita Brent. This will be a question and answer session, so bring your burning questions.

Register here-> http://bit.ly/EJ-Speaker1

Hope to see you there!

 


Cleveland City Council votes to punt FirstEnergy name from stadium

Jun 13, 2022 4:30 PM

Cleveland City Council calls for FirstEnergy to remove name from Browns' stadium

Cleveland City Council delivered some of the best news in recent memory Monday night as they voted 16-1 to pass a resolution asking Akron-based FirstEnergy to voluntarily remove its name from the Browns' stadium.

Councilman Brian Kazy introduced the resolution two weeks ago. Kazy said FirstEnergy has failed to acknowledge its criminal behavior by continuing to market itself using the public’s taxpayer-funded stadium.

Ironically, council noted that FirstEnergy Stadium receives its electricity from Cleveland Public Power. FirstEnergy purchased the naming rights of Cleveland’s football stadium for $107 million in 2013 as part of a 17-year deal.

This is an important first step and we'll keep you informed of any developments.


It's Ohio's most appalling scandal...

On June 7, our Crime with DeWine campaign released The Bribery Bunch,” a parody video recapping the activities stemming from the $61 million bribery and racketeering scandal surrounding House Bill 6.

The video recalls the famous Brady Bunch opening credits to specifically name those most closely related to the scandal, including both Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted.

Bribery and corruption have been tolerated in Ohio for too long. Please tell the Governor that we want the Bribery Bunch OUT.


Youngstown joins Power A Clean Future Ohio

Youngstown is now the 31st Power A Clean Future Ohio Community! And Youngstown didn't just pass a resolution to join PCFO - they also made a bold commitment to cut their greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. 

There are huge opportunities for cities to ramp up their leadership in the global fight against climate change by continuing to increase and accelerate their climate actions. While there is still so much to do, in many cities across Ohio this work is already underway thanks to your support.