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Billboards accuse First Energy of 'wasting energy'
Company says aggressive regulations force higher bills

Grant Engle
In The Region:

An environmental group is accusing Akron-based First Energy of increasing customers’ bills in an attempt to undermine an energy conservation law passed in 2008.

The Sierra Club, one of the oldest environmental groups in the U.S., has bought electronic billboards around Akron and Columbus criticizing First Energy for “wasting energy.”

First Energy contends bill increases are necessary for all customers to pay for new programs and investments in high-efficiency technology.

Doug Colafella is a spokesman for First Energy. He says the company is concerned that bills will continue to rise as it tries to meet efficiency goals over the next decade.

Doug Colafella of First Energy on stringent regulations

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“Every customer pays for these programs, and our concern is as these mandates become more aggressive in the years to come and these reductions become harder to come by, these programs could potentially become a drain on the economy.

The law, which was signed by former Gov. Ted Strickland, requires utility companies to reduce more than 22 percent of energy use around the state by 2025.

Colafella says the company is talking with lawmakers regarding its concerns about the mandate.

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