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Legislative Hot Spots: From Texas to Ohio, New Jersey to Minnesota, Electric Restructuring Games Begin

Fortnightly Magazine - February 15 1997

could form a select committee, run a bill through both chambers, or call for a number of bills.

Says Mead: ôPutting it in music terms, the governor dances to big band music. The speaker of the House prefers the minuet. The president of the Senate dances to rock and roll. WeÆve got to get them dancing in one tempo.ö

Mead will choreograph the process. She takes no position and promises to deliver ôthe best legislation in the countryö that serves consumers and corporations.

A colleague who will take a position is Rep. Ron Amstutz (R), who introduced H.B. 653 last year to give customers choice in buying electricity. The bill was to be reintroduced this year with a new bill number. It could be substantially rewritten, says Dick Kimmins, a Public Utilities Commission spokesman.

The bill, said to have bipartisan support, calls for direct access for all customers by Jan. 1, 1998 and sharing of stranded costs. It also calls for recovery of transition costs incurred by electric distribution companies, through distribution surcharge rates.

The bill has the backing of end-user groups and American Municipal Power-Ohio Inc.

Utilities, meanwhile, were split on the bill. American Electric Power Co. Inc. and Cinergy Corp. support retail wheeling. The Ohio Council of Retail Merchants is on the same side

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