Customers should get choice on energy dollars

To the editor:

OMLPS customers deserve a choice.

In September I was asked by the League of Women Voters to complete a questionnaire that included my opinion on the use of REC revenue. In summary, my response was that each customer should have the following choices:

1) Rebate or credit to account.

2) Earmark for green initiatives (e.g., the Sustainable Reserve Fund).

3) Donate to those needing financial assistance (e.g., the Caring Fund).

Background information and opinions were presented at the Oct. 19 work session in council chambers. My opinion is unchanged. OMLPS customers deserve a choice.

Consider the following:

• Individuals, businesses, and non-profit entities are capable of evaluating a return on investment. Many of us support clean energy. Develop programs with budgets that make sense to us and we will support them.

• It is insulting when proponents of the “plan” continually minimize the amount of average residential overpayments. This money is clearly meaningful to some residents. They are understandably angry and they deserve the option of a rebate (or credit to their account).

• Oberlin College is the largest OMLPS customer. They are a sponsor of the Oberlin Project and can direct a substantial contribution to a sustainability fund (or to the Oberlin Project, as Tony Mealy suggested).

• There are a number of OMLPS customers (outside the city limits) that are ineligible to vote in the election of council. Should they not have a voice in how to use the money they overpaid?

Providing choices would still result in a substantial increase in money earmarked for sustainability projects. However, this support should be earned by demonstrating value (at least, potential value) first. The LED street lighting program is a solid start.

Carl McDaniel’s letter to the editor (“Keep energy credits in mind at ballot”) suggests that steering most of these “REC dollars” to the SRF is a measure of the strength of one’s commitment to sustainability. He names eight council candidates that he believes agree with him on how to manage the REC dollars. This is not a measure of commitment to environmental sustainability; it’s a measure of fairness.

Don Bryant