Energy / FirstEnergy / Nuclear Energy / Ohio Utility Bailouts

Crain’s editorial: Fix it

CLEVELAND — “House Bill 6, a measure passed May 29 that would subsidize the state’s struggling coal and nuclear plants, is bad policy. It’s now up to the Ohio Senate to put consumers first, think more expansively about the future, and correct at least some of the bill’s flaws before it makes its way to the desk of Gov. Mike DeWine.

The bill — which passed 53-43, mostly with Republican backing but some Democrats providing key support — would require consumers to pay monthly surcharges on their electric bills. As The Toledo Blade noted, those surcharges, ranging from $1 a month for residential consumers to $2,500 for big industrial users, would be used to create a fund “of $198 million a year through 2026.” The fund “would provide $9 for each megawatt hour of power produced without emitting carbon dioxide into the air.” The vast majority of the fund, an estimated $150 million (or more), would be used to bolster the Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear power plants operated by FirstEnergy Solutions, the FirstEnergy Corp. subsidiary that is going through bankruptcy proceedings. (FES has said it will have to close Davis-Besse and Perry without some form of relief.)

Shut out of the fund: Wind, small solar projects and other renewable sources of electricity. Additionally, the current mandate that utilities derive 12.5% of their electricity from renewables by 2027 would be repealed.”

— Crain’s Cleveland Business Editorial Board

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