As you may recall, the LEEP Act (SB 370) is the top priority of EEWV this legislative session. It is a bill that allows local governments to create a funding mechanism for energy efficient upgrades to commercial buildings. The bill has strong, bipartisan support in each house of the legislature because it helps local businesses improve the efficiency of their buildings and help the businesses that make the upgrades.
After sitting on the plate of the Energy Industry and Mining Committee for weeks, it was finally put on the agenda, unanimously approved, and sent to the full Senate. In a surprise last-minute move on the Senate floor, the bill was assigned to the “Rules Committee.” The Rules Committee is where the Senate Leadership puts bills that it wants to put the brakes on and, like purgatory, sometimes a bill never leaves. The Rules Committee does not meet regularly and does not stream its meetings online, unlike other committees.
FirstEnergy is known to have far, far fewer energy efficiency programs at its Mon Power and Potomac Edison utilities, than by the other large utilities in the state run by AEP. Shockingly, FirstEnergy’s position on the bill is that FirstEnergy is in a better position to manage energy efficiency in the state than the businesses themselves! By opposing this bill, FirstEnergy is essentially saying that its business interests (selling more electricity) is more important than the interests of other businesses in the state (reducing utility bills and improving comfort).
While it is easy to get cynical about politics and assign negative attributes to people we disagree with, as Forbes recently covered, energy efficiency is a nonpartisan, widely popular concept regardless of your political stripe.