Six months after the parent company of Public Service Company of Oklahoma came out publicly with support of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, the firm says it will not renew membership next year.
The decision by American Electric Power Co. leaves the trade association without any utility members, according to a report by E and E News.
In June, AEP publicly stated it was working to meet strong customer demand for renewable energy but at the same time planned to use customer money to fund the coalition which had been accused of misleading attacks on wind and solar power.
“AEP is focused on bringing more renewable energy resources into our generation mix throughout our 11 state territory for the last several years,” Tom Froehle, AEP’s vice president of external affairs, said while testifying before the Ohio Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee in June 2019 according to a report by the Energy and Policy Institute.
“Furthermore, all sectors of AEP Ohio customers are increasingly seeking renewable energy sources for their electricity supply,” Froehle said.
Froehle testified in support of a bill, HB 6, that would kill Ohio’s current renewable energy and energy efficiency standards and force Ohio consumers to bail out uncompetitive nuclear and coal-fired power plants. The bill would allow AEP Ohio to collect around $207 million in additional subsidies from customers for the coal plants by 2030, according to the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund.
Froehle’s testimony came after the AEP-backed American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) released a misleading new study exaggerating the costs of solar and wind power, and presented its findings at a meeting of the Southeastern Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (SEARUC).
It also came after the collapse of the Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG), an industry group that fought Clean Air Act limits on power plant pollution for over 40 years. During an investigation into UARG by members of Congress, AEP admitted to using its customers’ money to fund the group.
Earlier this year, before UARG disbanded, ACCCE hired Hunton Andrews Kurth – the same firm that ran UARG – to do federal lobbying.
American Electric Power is based in Columbus, Ohio and has nearly 18,000 employees, 219,000 miles of electrical distribution lines and nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states including Oklahoma.