Solar rights foe likely to chair Public Utilities Commission of Ohio

By Nick Seymour on February 1, 2019

Solar homeowners and supporters need fair policies that protect our right to go solar. At the state level, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) is responsible for representing our interest by regulating Ohio’s utilities and other industries. The commission is the first line of defense to ensure monopoly utilities treat us fairly. The appointment of lobbyist Sam Randazzo to serve as PUCO chair would threaten the commission’s ability to serve the public interest.

Randazzo is currently the chief counsel for the Industrial Energy Users of Ohio (IEU-Ohio), an organization that represents the state’s largest manufacturers. This group has had a significant hand in drafting anti-renewable energy policy in Columbus for years. They have Randazzo to thank for their biggest wins against renewable energy. In 2014, for example, he led the charge on a two-year freeze on the state’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards. The freeze bill also created the Energy Mandates Study Committee, which Randazzo then influenced to issue a report that recommended an indefinite extension of the clean energy standards freeze.

In 2013, Randazzo worked with IEU-Ohio and utility provider FirstEnergy to kill a major solar energy project set for Ohio. In 2017, he represented an anti-wind group in a successful effort to block the rollback of the most restrictive wind farm regulations in the country. And in 2018, Randazzo made the case against that rollback to attendees at a Seneca Anti-Wind Union public meeting.

Not to keep his opposition to renewable energy limited to just public appearances and the Ohio State Capitol, Randazzo wrote in the 2018 IEU-Ohio annual report that solar energy “can’t be made to show up for work”, despite the fact that solar arrays are helping people across Ohio save money and take control of where their electricity comes from.

If Governor Mike DeWine decides to elevate an anti-solar lobbyist to be the state’s top utility watchdog, he would fail Ohioans and the public interest. Randazzo has been an enthusiastic and steadfast opponent of clean energy for decades, and he would continue that legacy by undermining the very purpose of PUCO from within.

We urge you to contact Governor DeWine’s office and tell him to oppose Sam Randazzo’s appointment to the Commission. Ohioans deserve better, and we must do better to compete in the economy ahead.

Click here to reach out to Gov. DeWine today