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Your Support Safeguards First Amendment Rights

Nov 30, 2021 1:18 PM

As a member-supported organization, we simply could not do this work without you.

With each new and renewing member, we grow stronger. Therefore, your #GivingTuesday gift today really makes a difference. 

With the help of our members, we keep fighting for a full and complete repeal of House Bill 6. Ohio lawmakers repealed the portion of HB 6 that provided subsidies for FirstEnergy nuclear plants in March. But they've failed to repeal the OVEC coal bailouts that cost Ohioans $233,000 every day. It's time to literally get out into the street and get our money back. 

Ohio Citizen Action has a long history of protecting First Amendment rights. Every day we exercise those rights to speak for or against pressing issues in our state, whether it's through knocking on doors or peaceful assembly.

Please join us by making a special #GivingTuesday gift and stand up for the right to demand a just, equitable, clean energy future.

Thanks for standing with us,

Rachael Belz, Ohio Citizen Action
http://www.ohiocitizen.org/

P.S. Another great way to make a difference is to join us in person to demonstrate against the OVEC coal plant bailouts in Columbus on December 9th!


December 9 Rally at the Statehouse

Nov 29, 2021 2:55 PM

We need to repeal ALL of HB6 and that includes the OVEC coal plant subsidies.

The OVEC bailout costs us $233,000 a day in subsidies for two 66-year-old coal plants — including one that isn’t even in Ohio.

Ohio Citizen Action supports the peoples’ right to peacefully assemble and speak for or against pressing issues in our state. It’s more important now than ever to make our voices heard.

It's time to rally together at the statehouse to repeal the OVEC coal bailout

On Thursday, December 9 at 12:00 pm, we will meet at 1 Capitol Square, on the High Street side, in Columbus, to urge our legislators to pass SB 117 and HB 351, bipartisan legislation that will repeal one of the last pieces of corrupt House Bill 6 and refund money to consumers.

We'll give a cheer to Santa and his elves as they leave to deliver stockings with coal to legislators, and then line High Street to show our support.

Wear your festive holiday attire and ugly Christmas sweaters, and bring your homemade signs! We will have extra for those without signs.

Please dress for the weather. We will be practicing social distancing and we encourage you to wear a mask. 

RSVP here and please share this with friends and family!

See you there!

Ohio Citizen Action

http://www.ohiocitizen.org/

P.S. If you can't join us at the rally, please consider including Ohio Citizen Action in your Giving Tuesday plans this year, so that we can continue to fight back against corruption: ohiocitizen.org/givingtuesday21


New Facts Demand Investigation

Nov 11, 2021 12:18 PM

We continue to organize communities around the state to address climate change and build a clean energy economy, and...

We're calling for reform at the PUCO

FirstEnergy will refund customers more than $306 million after a long fight over the way it calculates rates and profits.

Our executive director Rachael Belz says this is further proof the PUCO needs to be reformed in order to prioritize consumers.

Belz says reform should include more consumer input, more transparency in the decision-making process, and better consumer representation on the commission.


Shocking new revelation of text exchange between FirstEnergy executives details favors delivered by Sam Randazzo

Former PUCO Chairman Sam Randazzo lobbied lawmakers to include a provision in the 2019 state budget that saved FirstEnergy millions of dollars, according to texts from FirstEnergy executives Chuck Jones and Michael Dowling. 

State law requires utilities to demonstrate to the PUCO every year that their earnings aren’t “significantly excessive.” The law doesn’t define the term and leaves it to PUCO to determine via a “significantly excessive earnings test” (SEET). Thanks to Sam Randazzo, the 2019 budget changed this formula to protect utilities structured like FirstEnergy from issuing PUCO-ordered consumer refunds.


We won't stop until we repeal all of HB6

We continue to work to repeal the OVEC coal plant bailouts that are rooted in HB 6 corruption. Please contribute and help us repeal this corrupt law once and for all.

Thanks for sticking with us!


Ohio Citizen Action


Say No to NOPEC

Nov 09, 2021 2:44 PM

 

Do you live in a NOPEC town

If you live in a NOPEC town, your Mayor and/or town council have involved your community in the smart process of electricity aggregation. This allows your community to combine its buying power to get you a better deal on your electric bill. It’s a good idea, if implemented wisely. Through this process, your community’s leaders chose NOPEC, the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council, as your community's electricity provider -- you have probably seen the name NOPEC somewhere on your electric bill. Aggregators like NOPEC effectively function as utility businesses.

Smart Community Choice Aggregation can be a great tool to fight climate change

Aggregation can do more than save you money. When utilized thoughtfully, aggregation can also help your community reduce its local carbon footprint, fight climate change, and improve our environment and public health -- but only if your town fights to include renewable energy sources in their NOPEC aggregation contract.

NOPEC does not automatically include or require even a minimum of green energy sources in their contracts -- not unless communities demand it. While a lot of towns don’t know that negotiating green contracts is even an option, some are wisely adding renewable energy requirements to their aggregation contracts. Several Ohio communities have done so, making pledges to get to 100% renewable energy by 2025. But these kinds of goals can only be met with the help of aggregation contracts that prioritize green energy in their electricity choices.

NOPEC should be regularly offering affordable renewable energy choices to all of its customers, and communities have the right to know exactly what’s in any NOPEC renewable energy program so you can be sure they’re offering the best deal.

Ohio Citizen Action, together with the Power a Clean Future Ohio campaign, is working to help communities across Ohio understand how to negotiate stronger, greener aggregation contracts for your electricity. But we need your help to make better contracts a genuine priority -- with your community and with NOPEC.

NOPEC towns just received an offer that should be refused.

If you live in a NOPEC town, NOPEC recently made a pitch to your city’s leaders about participating in their questionable renewable energy plan, and they are moving fast to get your town locked into a contract with a needlessly rushed end-of-the-year deadline. It’s questionable because they’ve left too many things up in the air that community decision makers need to know BEFORE making a decision of this magnitude. This isn’t the time for a “blind faith” approach to lowering emissions and cutting the cost of our energy bills. 

Ohio Citizen Action is very concerned that NOPEC is trying to rush your community’s leaders into a lasting decision with little notice or public input. We know NOPEC can do better than this bare-minimum plan, and now is the time for your town to do its homework and demand a better deal -- and your elected leaders need to hear from you about it
 
Join us in urging your mayor to not be pushed into a quick decision on such an important issue. Tell your city leaders to say No to NOPEC on this expensive and hasty deal, and urge them to push NOPEC for real clean energy solutions that will reduce BOTH our local carbon emissions and our electricity bills.

Please write your Mayor!

By contacting your town’s elected leadership now, you can not only help your community avoid a rushed deal but also hold NOPEC accountable to your community’s values. 


Texts Reveal How Randazzo gave FirstEnergy Inside Help

Oct 28, 2021 10:12 AM

We now have a peek into the specifics of what Randazzo did on FirstEnergy’s behalf

Newly unconvered texts reveal that Sam Randazzo overruled PUCO staff and commissioners to help FirstEnergy, as well as block a report that may have probed whether ratepayer money was wrongfully used to fund a $60 million bribe to help pass the scandal-ridden House Bill 6.

The Ohio Consumers’ Counsel obtained Jones’ text message by successfully asking the PUCO to subpoena the record. Ohio law grants the PUCO subpoena powers. 

The evidence just keeps piling up that the PUCO has not been looking out for Ohio consumers, particularly where FirstEnergy is concerned.

It's obvious we need to repeal ALL of HB6 and that includes the OVEC coal plant subsidies.

Here's what you can do to help


Call the members of the House Public Utilities Committee 

Urge them to pass House Bill 351 - it will repeal one of the last pieces of corrupt House Bill 6 and refund money to consumers.

Please call one or all of these members of the committee -even if they're not your representative.

  • ​​Rep. Sharon Ray (614) 466-8140
  • Rep. Rick Carfagna (614) 466-1431
  • Rep. Jason Stevens (614) 466-1366
  • Rep. Jim Hoops (614) 466-3760
  • Rep. Tom Patton (614) 466-4895
  • Rep. Bob Young (614) 466-1790

The OVEC coal subsidy, worth $153,000,000 so far to the companies that own the plants, is still on the books. 

The OVEC bailout costs us $233,000 a day in subsidies for two 66-year-old coal plants — including one that isn’t even in Ohio.


Watch the hearing on HB 351, the OVEC repeal this Wednesday 

It should be a spicy hearing due to the fact that a panel of the three utilities defending OVEC will be testifying together.

If you're unable to watch it live, The Ohio Channel will archive the hearing so that you can watch it at your convenience.

Thanks for taking action!


Ohio Citizen Action

P.S. Please contribute and help us root out this corrupt law once and for all.


Should FirstEnergy Stadium revert to Browns Stadium?

Oct 14, 2021 10:24 AM

Our calls to remove FirstEnergy's name from Cleveland stadium have been heard

Momentum is building to take FirstEnergy's name off of the Browns' stadium. After Rep. Casey Weinstein, Rep. Jeff Crossman, and Rep. Kent Smith requested an inquiry, state utility regulators are launching an investigation into whether FirstEnergy Corp. wrongly used ratepayer money to buy naming rights to FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland.  

Help us keep this alive on social media! Please speak your mind and tag @PUCOhio and the @Browns.


 

Akin Gump lobbyists tell federal judge details of their big role in passing scandal-tainted House Bill 6 nuclear bailout

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP played a huge role in the passage of House Bill 6 by organizing lobbying efforts, setting up massive political donations, and even helping to write the scandal-ridden energy law, members of the firm wrote in sworn declarations released Tuesday night.

The firm billed FirstEnergy $67.9 million for the work.

Akin Gump’s attempts to lobby the US Department of Energy, FERC and Congress for a bailout ultimately failed so they advised "policy solutions at the state level" that included “bipartisan relationship building, messaging, advocacy, and bipartisan political contributions” not only with HB6 but with Ohio legislative races, the 2018 Ohio governor’s race — won by Republican Mike DeWine, who signed HB6 into law — and the elections for Ohio House speaker in 2018 and 2019.

In a sworn statement, one of the lobbyists stated that contributions to 501(c)(4)s like Generation Now affiliated with public officials like Larry Householder are "commonplace."


We are working to pass SB 117 and HB 351, the OVEC repeal

Thanks to the scandal-ridden House Bill 6, Ohio electricity customers will pay an estimated $1.8 BILLION through 2030 to subsidize the Ohio Valley Electric Coal plants (OVEC) ––Kyger Creek in Ohio, and Clifty Creek in Indiana.

Both bill's primary sponsors are Republicans; multiple other Republicans andDemocrats are supporting the bill; Governor DeWine stated he favors repealing all of HB6, which includes OVEC bailout; yet House Speaker Bob Cupp says that, "I don't think there's a lot of support for addressing those issues."

Help us prove him wrong!


An independent audit of the PUCO is needed

Both AEP and PUCO got to review and edit an "independent audit" of the OVEC coal plant subsidies that were part of the corrupt House Bill 6 before the audit was released.

Emails also show the commission wanted a "milder tone" on the auditor's conclusion: Therefore, keeping the plants running does not seem to be in the best interest of the ratepayers.

The PUCO also wanted "reduced subjectivity" & less detail on the auditor's statements about the HB 6 scandal & allegations about FirstEnergy and others.

The Plain Dealer editorial board called for an independent audit of state energy regulators following their handling of power plant bailout legislation and renewable energy projects while under the leadership of Sam Randazzo.

We need to trust our officials are adequately regulating the utilities, not regulating our ability to hold utilities accountable

We won't stop until this bill is repealed in full

Fighting corruption is not easy! Please contribute and help us  root out this corrupt law once and for all.

Thanks for your help!


Ohio Citizen Action

P.S. Speaker Cupp says there is not a lot of support for removing OVEC coal subsidy. Let's prove him wrong! Please contact Ohio House 

Call him: 614-466-9624 Send him an email: [email protected] , or go to http://repealhb6.com to write all your legislators.


Melissa English Proponent Testimony on House Bill 351

Sep 29, 2021 11:32 AM

 

 

House Public Utilities Committee

Chairman Hoops, Vice Chair Ray, and Ranking Member Smith

Proponent Testimony on House Bill 351

Testimony of Melissa K. English

Deputy Director, Ohio Citizen Action

 

September 29, 2021

Chairman Hoops, Vice Chair Ray, Ranking Member Smith, and Members of the Public Utilities Committee, my name is Melissa English and I’m the Deputy Director of Ohio Citizen Action. I thank you for the opportunity to present our support for House Bill 351.

This testimony is presented on behalf of Ohio Citizen Action’s 32,000 members and all Ohio utility ratepayers who have a stake in the decision before you.

While we acknowledge that portions of House Bill 6, the bill at the center of a $61 million bribery scandal, have been revoked, the repeal is incomplete without a full reversal of the bailout for two dirty coal plants operated by the Ohio Valley Electric Corporation or OVEC.

OVEC is owned by Ohio’s major electric utilities and consists of two large coal plants – Kyger Creek in Cheshire, Ohio and Clifty Creek in Madison, Indiana. OVEC was formed in 1952 by utilities to provide electric services in the Ohio River Valley to provide power for uranium enrichment facilities then under construction by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission in Portsmouth. Many of those who support the OVEC bailout will often point out the fact that the plants were a national security resource as they powered the factory making the atomic bomb materials at the heart of the U.S. Cold War strategy. That was true once but has not been for decades. And it was not true when the utilities in question negotiated their latest intercompany power agreement that is in effect until June 30, 2040.

Before the passage of House Bill 6, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) had already approved bailouts for AEP, Duke, and Dayton Power & Light’s shares of the OVEC coal plants through the mid-2020s with an argument that the plants could be profitable if power prices were to increase significantly. Instead, the plants have lost money every single year and been a financial drain and environmental burden on Ohioans.


Why we need an Environmental Justice champion at FERC

Aug 26, 2021 1:14 PM

By Tobili Hatcher

 

The time to have an Environmental Justice Champion at the helm of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has long been overdue. FERC regulators and regulations have a monumental impact on the environment and environmental justice. For these reasons and more, Ohio Citizen Action recently signed a letter addressed to President Joseph R. Biden to consider three Environmental Justice champions, Mr. Daniel Blackman, Ms. Marquita Bradshaw, and Ms. Nidhi Thakar to take the lead on this committee. This effort, spearheaded by WE ACT for Environmental Justice and the Center for Biological Diversity, hopes to encourage the Biden administration to act quickly and appoint an Environmental and Energy Justice champion to FERC.


Portsmouth residents will vote on energy choice this November

Aug 25, 2021 11:47 AM

We are thrilled to announce that Portsmouth,Ohio will have community choice aggregation on the ballot this November. This will give residents the power to purchase electricity from a supplier as a group, helping families save money.
In spring 2021, Portsmouth City Council passed legislation to join Power A Clean Future Ohio to move the city toward becoming a more energy-efficient and sustainable community, and if this initiative is adopted, it will certainly aid in reaching that goal.
Community members are excited about this opportunity, including a lifelong resident and clean energy advocate, Jerald Gordon.
 
“Aggregation with clean energy in Portsmouth and other cities across Ohio will give me the opportunity to work in my community instead of out of state,” said Gordon. “Forward-minded citizens and new businesses have breathed life into Portsmouth, and I want to see that growth continue. It’s a new way of creating a clean energy future that provides for our community.”
Jeremy Burnside, a local attorney and business owner, also backs community choice aggregation.
 
“Community choice aggregation will allow residents and small businesses to have a choice in their energy,” Burnside said. “Providing energy choice shows our community, customers, and businesses that we are open to helping businesses grow and expand in today’s changing environment. Additionally, this could save residents money on their electric bills by allowing Portsmouth to purchase clean energy in bulk.”
Learn more about Portsmouth's new ballot initiative 'Yes for Clean Energy Choice' here. If you missed the 'Yes For Clean Energy Choice" press conference held August 25, you can view the livestream here.


What Else Don't We Know?

Aug 23, 2021 11:36 AM

Where to begin?

To recap: FirstEnergy, in a deal with prosecutors, has admitted to a bribery scheme to pass HB6, which they funded with $61 million.

FirstEnergy said the money helped Householder get elected, so he could pass HB6, which the company had been pursuing unsuccessfully for years. The money also bought ads to pressure state lawmakers to pass the bill, and to undermine a ballot initiative campaign to repeal it.

Now, according to a recent audit for the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, FirstEnergy should refund ratepayers $6.6 million for costs that were improperly classified, misallocated or poorly documented.

We want a deeper investigation

The audit found payments from FirstEnergy connected to the nuclear bailout bribery scandal, including Generation Now which pleaded guilty.

But the report only looked into 17 payments specifically flagged by FirstEnergy.

Rachael Belz, our executive director, thinks we need to dig deeper.

"You have to wonder, what else don't we know? And it just seems like this scheme, all around, all the way, top-to-bottom, you know Householder, HB6, Sam Randazzo, PUCO, FirstEnergy, the whole thing it's overwhelming,"

We need to hold Governor DeWine accountable 

It was clear well before he was appointed that Sam Randazzo had deep ties to FirstEnergy and a known bias toward renewables and efficiency. The fact that the Governor still can't admit that he made a poor choice is inexcusable.

Please contribute to help us continue to this work to root out corruption.