No to electric re-regulation

Commissioners want to save Lordstown energy investment

WARREN — In an effort to protect an $890 million energy investment in the village of Lordstown, Trumbull County commissioners on Wednesday approved a resolution opposing the re-regulation or restructuring of electric utility service in the state.

The action comes in reaction to lobbying efforts conducted by large power companies in Ohio who want state legislatures to return to the days prior to the 2001 de-regulation of the industry.

Commissioner Mauro Cantalamessa said competition has been good for Ohio energy consumers who have saved millions in billing since de-regulation became effective.

Commissioner Daniel E. Polivka said the board is following the lead of Lordstown Village Council in protecting the “biggest investment we’ve seen around here in a while.”

“De-regulation has put everyone on a level playing field, but now we have to make sure legistlators don’t put the big corporation into an advantageous situation,” Polivka said.

Lordstown VIllage Council on March 6 passed a similar resolution. Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill also has traveled to Columbus to testify before legislators about how de-regulation has helped his community.

Development of the proposed Trumbull Energy Center “will stop immediately” if Ohio returns to a system of regulating electric rates, Bill Siderewicz, president of Clean Energy Future, has said.

Siderewicz’s company plans to build a second $900 million, 940-megawatt gas-powered electric plant next to the Lordstown Energy Center now under construction on Henn Parkway.

The first plant is expected to go into service in June 2018, while construction on the second plant is planned to begin in January 2018.

Clean Energy Future, as part of the deal with Lordstown, has made several large donations to the Lordstown School District, including paying for a new soccer complex.

The second plant should be in service by May 2020, said Siderewicz, if re-regulation is not passed by the state legislature.

Siderewicz has in the past argued that re-regulation would be a “government bailout” of the big power companies like First Energy, Dayton Power and Light and American Electric Power, which all use less efficient and more expensive coal-fueled and nuclear power plants.

The Lordstown power plants would use the exhaust heat of gas turbines to run a steam system, which is rated at 66 percent or twice as efficient as the typical coal-fired plant.

“This energy is cleaner, greener and cheaper,” Cantalamessa said.

In other action at Wednesday’s regular meeting, commissioners:

l Approved the transfer of Mark A. Tota, customer service rep with the Sanitary Engineer’s Department, to become chief deputy dog warden. The move will become effective April 24 and Tota will be paid $48,518 per year;

l Temporarily assigned John Trobek, a laborer with the Trumbull County Sanitary Engineer, to become sludge process worker. The move, effective Monday, will raise his annual salary from $21,561 to $25,539;

l Accepted the resignation of Arthur R. Lattanzi as chairman of the Trumbull County Senior Services Advisory Council effective May 18. He has served since April 2011. The board reappointed JoAnn Dugan as member of the senior services advisory panel for another three-year term through Jan. 1, 2020. Dugan has served since December 2014.



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