FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: David Hughes
October 18, 2007 412/421-6072
THE OHIO GENERAL ASSEMBLY MUST GRASP THE OPPORTUNITY TO END THE FAILED RETAIL CHOICE EXPERIMENT, SAYS CITIZEN POWER.
COLUMBUS, October 18-Testifying before the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee today, David Hughes, executive director of the regional energy advocacy organization Citizen Power, urged Senators to “grasp the opportunity to end, once and for all, the failed electricity deregulation experiment.” The committee is holding hearings on Senate Bill 221, Governor Strickland’s plan to overhaul electricity deregulation laws.
“Citizen Power commends the governor for ‘taking the bull by the horns’ and unlike his predecessor, offering a substantive proposal to deal with the impending crisis. However, we believe the General Assembly must go further and, once and for all, make it clear that retail choice is a completed experiment,” Hughes said. “As we said from the beginning in 1999, competition in electricity simply cannot work. Electricity is not like other products and services. It simply doesn’t lend itself to the volatility of the market. Electricity is a vital public service that should not be tampered with, particularly for the benefit of a few powerful interests,” Hughes continued.
Citizen Power has been a lone voice for years warning that it was a mistake for state government to give up its authority to control electricity prices. “Citizen Power has been proven right. After 7 years, competition has not developed and we face significant rate increases if the General Assembly fails to enact real solutions,” Hughes said. Despite the obvious failure of deregulation, there are those who continue to argue that Ohio should keep the retail choice program. “Naturally, those that made record profits under the current system don’t want it to end, but the rest of us can’t afford to wait until the crash comes,” Hughes concluded.
Citizen Power applauds the governor’s emphasis on increasing the use of renewable energy and energy-efficiency technologies. In addition, Citizen Power makes the following recommendations: