The Lake Township trustees have taken a stand against bills pending in the state legislature that could have a significant impact on costs paid by individuals and businesses for electric service.
The board of trustees Tuesday approved a resolution opposing Senate Bill 58 and House Bill 302, contending the bills unfairly impose fees on consumers that should be borne by utility companies. The bills would amend the state’s electric utility law passed in 2008 that promotes alternative energy sources.
“When consumers pay for energy-efficient light bulbs, products and upgrades it
is unconscionable that the power company should charge us for the power it no longer distributes,” the resolution says.
It also says consumers shouldn’t be required to pay a power company a portion of the savings realized by using less electrical power, or “shared savings.”
“The Ohio legislature should ban such lost distribution charges, shared savings and other hidden fees, the resolution says. “A good first step would be to take away the monopoly in energy efficiency programs that the power companies have under current law.”
Melanie Bowen, who chairs the board of trustees, read a letter from the American Association of Retired Persons opposing the bills before the trustees discussed the resolution.
Bruce Weston, Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, testified Oct. 9 before the Senate Public Utilities Committee on SB 58, saying it makes energy efficiency more costly for consumers and more profitable for Ohio utilities.
“The bill requires customers to pay the utilities a percentage of the net benefits of energy efficiency programs,” he said. “This bill provision is extremely generous to utilities, at 33.3 percent. This provision means that for every $100 million the energy efficiency programs save customers, the utility would reward itself by taking $33.3 million from customers.
“But it gets worse for Ohio consumers. Consumers would be required to pay for the utilities’ taxes on their profit from the percentage payment. The utilities would take an additional $20 million from customers for every $100 million in efficiency savings. The 33 percent and the tax effect together mean that customers forgo more than half of the energy efficiency benefits by paying them as profits to the utility.”
The trustees meeting was also an evening of goodbyes as they also passed a resolution of appreciation for Sgt. Brian Linscott, who retired from the township police department after 25 years.
Chief Mark Hummer said Linscott was known in the department as an officer who was very knowledgeable about the community and dedicated to his job.
He was a mentor to younger members of the department, the chief said.
When the trustees told Linscott he’ll be missed, he motioned to several off-duty officers in the crowd and said, “You’re in good hands.”
Trustee Ron Sims also thanked his own family, friends and supporters after losing his bid Tuesday for another term.
Incumbent Richard Welling and challenger Jeff Pettit placed first and second in the race for two open seats.
Pettit, a local business owner, had tried twice before to win a seat on the board.
“I think the people were ready for a change,” he told The Press before the meeting.
One issue he said he’d like to address was funding for the maintenance of the township cemetery.
The trustees plan to computerize cemetery records that are now kept on index cards.
Fiscal officer Vicki Schwamberger and an employee in her office recently visited the Fort Meigs Cemetery in Perrysburg to view its software system.
Schwamberger said she was impressed with the system and anticipated purchasing a software package before the end of the year.
Bowen said Gary Schulte, the township sexton, has indicated he plans to retire in March 2014.