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New Poll: Majority of Ohio Electricity Customers Do Not Support Coal Plant Bailouts

Results show Ohio electricity customers are concerned about air pollution, rising costs of electricity by wide margins

By: eNewsPF.com |

In results froma new poll by Public Policy Partners (PPP) released today by Public Citizen and the Sierra Club, a strong percentage of Ohio electricity customers favor clean, renewable energy sources to power the state — and do not support paying more to keep aging coal plants in operation. The poll also found that by wide margins, these customers are concerned about air pollution and the rising costs of electricity in Ohio.

The results come out as the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio is considering requests from FirstEnergy, American Electric Power and Duke Energy to increase customers’ monthly bills to pay for aging coal plants.

The telephone poll reached 526 Ohio electricity customers between August 7 and August 9, 2014.

Among the poll highlights:

●      More than three-in-four Ohio electricity customers (78 percent) say they are concerned about air pollution in the state, with 39 percent saying they are “very concerned”

●      Three-in-four Ohio electricity say that if the decision was up to them, they would deny the AEP’s request to allow them to increase rates to pay for extra costs associated with continuing to generate electricity from existing power plants

●      An overwhelming majority (92 percent) of Ohioans say it is important for Ohio to invest in measures to increase energy efficiency, with 66 percent  saying it is “very important”

●      65 percent of Ohio electricity customers say their household electricity bills has gone up in recent years

●      More than two-in-three Ohio electricity customers (68 percent) say they would be more favorable towards their electric utility if it replaced electricity from coal with electricity from clean energy such as wind and solar, with 45 percent saying they would be “much more favorable”

●      The majority of Ohio electricity customers say they think the state should be investing more in renewable energy like solar and wind

“The results of this poll back up what we are hearing throughout Ohio — people don’t want to pay more for dirty energy,” said Tyson Slocum, director of the energy program at Public Citizen. “We call on the PUCO to listen to what Ohio electricity customers are trying to tell them and reject the utilities’ requests for coal plant bailouts.”

According to the poll, an overwhelmingly majority of Ohio electricity customers who are Republicans (88 percent) support increased investments in energy efficiency because it leads to job creation, with 57 percent saying it is “very important” to them. This falls in line with the general population of Ohio electricity customers who support energy efficiency, 86 percent.

Jim Williams, an issue polling specialist with Public Policy Polling, said: “Ohio electricity customers consistently show a preference for renewable energy in this survey, and we found that this support holds across different demographic groups. It’s also clear that Ohio electricity customers are not favorable to burning coal, and they expect their state to transition to cleaner fuels and more energy efficiency measures.”

The margin of error is +/- 4.3% points for the sample of Ohio electricity customers. Margins of error are higher for specific demographic subsamples.

To learn more about the poll results, click here.