Now that the presidential election is over, the people of Ohio are facing another important choice — whether their state will embrace clean energy measures that will save money and lives, or continue wasting energy from polluting coal plants. To help get the message out far and wide, the Ohio Sierra Club is launching new billboards that are taking energy efficiency to the street. There’s a big question mark hanging over the state’s energy direction. Will the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio choose a future of unnecessary and expensive coal and gas generating plants that make people sick or, instead, a twenty-first century path that reduces energy waste and creates jobs?

To help steer Ohio toward clean energy, the billboards call out one particular utility that keeps trying to take the dirtiest path possible: FirstEnergy, which serves more than 2 million Ohioans.
FirstEnergy Billboard

We’ve placed three billboards in Akron and two in Columbus, with one near the offices of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. The Commission will decide next month whether FirstEnergy’s plan to meet the state’s energy efficiency goals is sufficient. Sierra Club and our allies have shown them that it is nowhere near that.

FirstEnergy’s plan is just like its track record on renewable energy. Unlike Ohio’s other energy companies, FirstEnergy discourages its customers to save energy and lower their electric bills. For example, earlier this year, an audit of FirstEnergy found that they had paid nearly 15 times a reasonable price for renewable energy to its subsidiary company, FirstEnergy Solutions. The confidential audit report is being released for further review to get to the bottom of this. In the meantime, when FirstEnergy retired coal plants earlier this year and had the opportunity to support its workforce by transitioning to clean-energy projects, it did nothing. FirstEnergy’s record with efficiency programs is no different.

Efficiency Graph

And right now, FirstEnergy is trying to eliminate energy savings from efficiency programs by lobbying for a removal of the state’s energy efficiency savings targets. But this is not the first attempt by FirstEnergy:

• In 2009, FirstEnergy’s Compact Fluorescent Light program attempted to gouge customers by overcharging for energy-efficient lightbulbs.