A lot of analysis of the impacts of the SB 310 legislation in Ohio, particularly on the state’s economy, has been in the news lately. Many of these assessments, including those from ACEEE, have focused mostly on employment numbers. But numbers are relatively abstract, and we need to remember that these numbers represent workers and their families. Several conversations at our recent Market Transformation Symposium with implementation contractors working in neighboring Indiana brought this home to me.
Last month, Indiana canceled their energy efficiency programs, and many contractors running programs in the state have already begun the process of laying off staff. In a recent letter to leaders of the Indiana Senate, six companies that help customers cut down on energy waste reported the impacts of canceling the programs. The letter states that about 381 jobs directly related to the programs will be lost, and an additional 1,200 jobs associated with supporting these programs will also vanish. It’s estimated that workers employed by these jobs would have produced a half-billion dollars in investment in the state.
If Ohio follows suit and discontinues their efforts to become more a more energy-efficient place to live and do business, it’s likely that we will see similar rounds of layoffs. Contractors delivering energy efficiency to customers could be fired. As in Indiana, jobs at companies that supply equipment and manufacture energy efficiency products could also be lost.
There’s more at stake than energy savings as the Ohio legislature and governor consider whether to abandon the state’s cost-effective energy efficiency programs. Their citizens’ livelihoods and businesses are on the line.