Mountain State should look to Ohio

Sometimes being a leader is the wrong thing to do – if you are taking people in the wrong direction. Ohio legislators have recognized that in approving a moratorium on the state’s renewable energy mandate.

Lawmakers in other states – including West Virginia – should follow the new Ohio lead. This time, Buckeye State legislators are right on the money, literally.

Twenty-nine states including Ohio and West Virginia piled on a “green” bandwagon several years ago. They enacted requirements that certain percentages of electricity sold in their states had to be generated from “renewable” or “alternative” sources.

In Ohio’s case, 25 percent of the state’s electricity has to come from renewable or alternative sources such as wind or solar power by 2025. The standards are being phased in a little at a time each year.

Also part of the state’s mandate is a requirement that utilities somehow find ways to reduce customers’ power use by 22 percent, also by 2025.

Utility executives admit the rules already have cost Ohioans millions of dollars in unnecessarily high electric bills. Complying with the law requires utilities to purchase or generate electricity at much higher costs than those with conventional fuels such as coal.

Gov. John Kasich has indicated he will sign a bill passed by legislators last week that delays implementation of the law for two years. Perhaps in the meantime more Ohioans will come to their senses and support repeal of the mandate.

Ohio reportedly is the first of the 29 states with such requirements to draw back from them.

Again, West Virginia and other states with similar rules should emulate the Buckeye State. Consumers – faced, remember, with gigantic electric bill increases because of President Barack Obama’s plan to outlaw coal-fired power plants – need all the help they can get.

West Virginia’s rule is similar to Ohio’s, insisting on a 25 percent mix of renewables and alternatives by 2025.

Here, too, the law is costing consumers unnecessarily. If they insist legislators delay or, better still, scrap the mandate, it will happen. The sooner, the better.