To the editor:
In my opinion, Oberlin city council has justly determined to return 85 percent of the $2.5 million renewable energy credit revenues fairly to all electric utility customers.
In regard to recent proposals by Sean Hayes, director of the Oberlin Project, dealing with heating issues, Columbia Gas of Ohio runs “WarmChoice” a no cost weatherization program for income-eligible residents that provides an energy audit, attic and wall insulation, air sealing, safety checks, and a natural gas water heater and/or furnace replacement, if needed. This program will provide 100 percent of the cost to homeowners and renters who meet low income guidelines and pay their own gas bills with the permission of the landlord.
Columbia Gas also has a $50 “Home Energy Audit” program available to all other customers regardless of income that provides the same services with recommended improvements and generous incentives to pay for the upgrades with reimbursements of up to 50 percent of all cost to the property owner. Non-gas electric HVAC units at Oberlin College, Kendal at Oberlin, and ECSP are ineligible for these benefits.
The Sustainable Reserve Fund provides grants for community-based, electric utility related programs for energy conservation per legal requirements. The $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize objective is to develop “plans for innovative, replicable, scalable and continual reductions in” natural gas and electricity. Oberlin is allowed, as appropriate, to use the many resources currently available to achieve these goals. Nowhere do they suggest that competitors recreate (copycat) existing programs.
This year electric rates will increase 15.5 percent; sewer rates two percent; water rates three percent in addition to the EPA mandated storm water utility, which will add $10 monthly for residents and much more for large property owners. In respect to economic development, Mr. Hayes has little concern for the 2,400 jobs in town including OC, the Federal Aviation Administration, industrial/commercial, state garage, hospital, schools, churches, and more. Why should our less fortunate be made to pay the remaining 50 percent cost to weatherize and retrofit the homes of those privileged in this community? Proverbs 22:16
Anthony J. Mealy,
Member of the Public Utilities Commission
Oberlin City Council 2006-2007