Stephens bill to provide flexibility to counties passes Ohio House

COLUMBUS — The Ohio House of Representatives this week passed House Bill 87, legislation sponsored by State Representatives Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) and Marilyn John (R-Richland County) that would exempt county utility supply contracts from the current 10 year limit.

According to a news release from the Ohio House, the current 10 year limitation only applies to counties in the state, not municipalities or townships. House Bill 87 provides an even playing field for counties by extending the limit to a maximum of 20 years. These agreements would allow counties to lock in a portion of their energy loads for county facilities and aggregation programs, further serving as a long-term hedge against rising energy prices and producing savings for counties and their aggregation customers.

“I would like to thank my colleagues who voted in favor of House Bill 87,” said Stephens. “It is our hope that this legislation will provide counties greater flexibility to achieve the most favorable energy price.”

House Bill 87 was amended in committee to add an emergency clause to allow for immediate implementation upon the governor’s signature. The emergency clause allows for immediate negotiation of power purchasing agreements and securing cost savings benefits.

“The emergency clause provides much needed relief to counties whose budgets have been strained during the COVID-19 crisis. Many of Ohio’s 88 counties utilize joint purchasing contracts and are in the midst of negotiations now with the window of action closing soon,” concluded Stephens.

The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

About: State Representative Jason Stephens is currently serving his first term in the Ohio House of Representatives. He serves the residents of Ohio’s 93rd house district, which includes Jackson and Gallia Counties, as well as portions of Lawrence and Vinton Counties.