Why is Governor DeWine allowing the energy policies of the past to determine our future?
For years, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has been stacked against the consumers of our state. It has instead been focused more on increasing the profits of Ohio’s regulated utilities and offering opportunities for individuals to line their own pockets at the expense of our families.
The $61 million bribery and corruption scandal around House Bill 6 is now back in the daily spotlight with the ongoing trialof former House Speaker Larry Householder and former GOP Party Chairman Matt Borges. In July 2020, the US Attorney’s office shined the spotlight on long-standing issues surrounding energy policy issues in Ohio.
Yet, nearly three years later, the lack of transparency and undue influence of regulated utilities remains. There are still no PUCO Commissioners with consumer advocacy experience. Our energy policies remain the worst in the nation.
More of the same at the PUCO
New PUCO Commissioners should be dedicated to increasing equity, fairness, and access to services at the community level at a time when corruption has been winning the day in Ohio.
We deserve PUCO Commissioners who are free from current or past ties to regulated utilities.
In February 2023, Governor Mike DeWine had an opportunity to select a new PUCO Commissioner to replace outgoing Commissioner Beth Trombold.
The list of four finalists included two Democrat state legislators, an energy efficiency expert who had previously served with the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, and a 20-year veteran of the PUCO with ties to Columbia Gas. The House Bill 6 corruption trial continues to elevate the need to clean up corruption at the PUCO, and yet Governor DeWine turned his back on Ohio consumers by rejecting a fresh perspective and giving us more of the same by selecting PUCO employee John Williams.
The Rise and Fall of Sam Randazzo
Through a deferred prosecution agreement accepted by FirstEnergy Corporation, evidence has been made public of a $4.3 million bribe paid to former PUCO Chairman Sam Randazzo. The paper trail shows Randazzo received this payment “at the request or for the benefit of FirstEnergy as a consequence of receiving such payment.”
Emails obtained by the FBI also show that Randazzo worked on House Bill 6, the nuclear and coal bailout bill that gutted the state’s renewable energy programs, and fought against a citizen-led referendum effort while leading the PUCO.