WHAT IF YOUR STATE LEGISLATURE THREW A PARTY and you had to go? Best of all, this power party cost less than the one you went to (em and paid more to attend (em last year.
In simple terms, that's how some observe Ohio's latest proposal to convince the state's 11 million wary consumers to choose their electricity provider.
Two Republican state legislators have proposed the consumer-bent transitional system, called retail marketing areas or RMAs, as part of a broad electric restructuring program. The pair, Sen. Bruce E. Johnson and Rep. Priscilla D. Mead, put their program into legislative form March 26.
"I would liken, as a woman, the birthing of this bill to be a breach birth (em it's a tough one," Mead says. S.B. 237 and H.B. 732 call for a competitive electric market in 2000.
Mead co-chairs the Joint Select Committee on Electric Utility Deregulation. The report the legislation is based on, called Competition: Ohio's Choice, is available at www.state.oh.us/cons/pain.htm.
The "baby," to go along with Mead's analogy, hasn't been received well by all. Unions feel there aren't enough worker protections in the legislation. Some legislators have described RMAs as reverse slamming (see sidebar, "Smooth Slamming").
"I'm¼ reluctant to support RMAs, in part because I don't understand them, and because no other state has chosen to go down this road," wrote Rep. Frank Sawyer (D) in response to the report. "It would seem to me that we are taking the artificial service territories that exist today and simply redrawing the lines." Sawyer is former chairman of Ohio's House Public Utilities committee.
How RMAs Would Work