Hold Electric Prices Down

Ohioans pay an average price for electricity, $9.66 per kilowatt-hour, that is not far from the national average of $10.33. Clearly, state officials should be doing all in their power — pun intended — to hold rates down.

State Rep. Jack Cera, D-Bellaire, does not believe that is happening. He explained why during a town hall meeting Monday in Martins Ferry.

“Deregulation” of electric utilities in the Buckeye State has been “a big problem,” Cera said. Despite promises loosening the state’s regulatory reins would bring power prices down, that has not happened, he argued.

Deregulation may have had some benefit, however. The current $9.66 per KWH average in Ohio is slightly less than the $9.73 three years ago.

Still, Cera is right that state officials should take another look at utility regulations. Ideally, the free market ought to be allowed to work. But because many utilities enjoy monopolies, government has a role.

Cera also criticized state subsidies for renewable energy. There is no reasonable question about that one: Taxpayers and utility consumers should pay what electricity costs and not have to bear the burden of social engineering.