Just get rid of the mandate

What on earth is wrong with state government allowing Ohioans to buy the cheapest electricity being generated legally? Most Buckeye State residents probably would be upset at the thought such a question is being asked.

But it is in Columbus. There, a bill has been introduced in the General Assembly to prolong the current two-year freeze on implementation of state renewable energy mandates. Enacted a few years ago, the rule requires utilities to generate at least 25 percent of their power from “alternative” sources by 2025.

After the rules were established, thoughtful Buckeye State residents began thinking about them. They concluded that, contrary to President Barack Obama’s claims, “alternative” is a lousy word to use in regard to expensive, unreliable technologies such as solar and wind power.

In fact, forcing utilities to use specified methods of generating electricity is a bit like telling car buyers they must purchase all-electric or hybrid vehicles. For some people, such technology may make sense. But for others, it simply does not.

No technology can generate power as economically as the coal on which many Ohioans still rely for their electricity. The 25 percent mandate would, if ever finalized, drive utility bills up for many, if not most, people in the state.

Last year, legislators agreed to a two-year freeze on the mandates. It expires in 2017 and, if no additional action is taken, the rule would kick in again.

Now, some lawmakers want to extend the moratorium for another three years. Incredibly, they are facing opposition. Some politicians want to tell power companies to get with the “green” agenda, regardless of what it costs consumers.

Members of the General Assembly should do the right thing for Buckeye State residents and businesses. At the very least, they should tack three more years onto the moratorium.

Better yet would be simply killing the renewables mandate – and not forcing Ohioans to pay more for electricity because someone in Columbus says it is a good idea.