Readers’ views on clean energy, pension funds

ON YOUR MIND


‘Standards helped save Ohioans money’

Re “FirstEnergy faces foes, regulators over renewables,” Sept. 18: Count me among the majority of Ohioans who support our state’s bipartisan renewable energy and energy efficiency standards.

As a founder of the University of Dayton’s Renewable and Clean Energy Master’s program, I have witnessed firsthand the power of clean energy to attract the next generation of energy innovators to the our state. Over the past four years, we’ve had more than 40 graduates take engineering positions in Ohio clean energy companies.

These standards have also helped save Ohioans money. Utilities are reporting that the cost to save 1 kwh of electric energy is three cents or less, significantly lower than what we are charged to use it. So it’s no surprise that the bipartisan Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has said that energy efficiency has saved Ohioans $3 for every $1 invested in energy efficiency.

But it’s not just about energy efficiency. A 2013 report by the Ohio Advanced Energy Economy shows that the impact of both the renewable and energy efficiency standards to date has saved Ohio ratepayers 1.4 percent on their electricity bills.

And these standards help produce a cleaner environment for us and our children.

So why is First Energy so interested in convincing our elected state officials to override the standards, which have created jobs, saved us money and improved our environment? I don’t get it. KEVIN HALLINAN, OAKWOOD

‘Another shot at those same citizens’

Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel claims on his website to have saved Ohio taxpayers $4.7 million. Well, he just cost taxpayers $4.76 million by mandating Ohio pension funds to transfer banks managing their investments.

Since both the prior managing banks and the banks to which he’s requiring the switch are being investigated and sued for fraud, his argument that he’s forcing the change because they’re being investigated doesn’t hold water. The bank he’s requiring OPERS (the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System) to switch to is currently being sued by OPERS, another fact which exposes Mandel’s lies and rationalizations. And the bank they are switching from was investigated by Attorney General Mike DeWine, and he decided not to file suit. So which bank sounds more trustworthy to you?

If Mandel really wanted to save taxpayers money, he would allow the pension funds to stay with bank managers they choose. It’s been recommended by three separate auditing firms in four different reviews since 2006 that the funds choose their own managers, and the bipartisan Ohio Retirement Study Council also has recommended this.

Additionally, the prior fund manager offered to reduce its management charges by over a million dollars, but Mandel wasn’t interested in saving money here either.

That Mandel should show such outrageous, indefensible oversight of Ohio taxpayer money and Ohio’s pension funds harkens back to prior actions of the Kasich administration. Let’s not forget that Kasich and his administration tried to destroy police, fire, teacher and public employee unions not so long ago. This is another shot at those same citizens. And their actions damage Ohio’s pension funds and the Ohio taxpayer both.

It seems Mandel’s real interests are to make a name for himself, score political points and get re-elected, instead of saving Ohio taxpayers money. SUSIE SUTTON, BELLBROOK

Speak Up

Quit being a slave to your heating bills and go geothermal. I made the switch eight years ago from oil and have never looked back. It’s an investment you won’t regret. …


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