AEP / Coal / Energy / FirstEnergy / Utilities

Electric bill increases guaranteed in Ohio if certain legislation passes

The Oregon Clean Energy Center, an 860-megawatt gas turbine power plant east of Toledo, is expected to begin commercial operations within weeks. Private developers raised the $800 million to build the plant, which will sell its power into wholesale electric markets. Oregon’s developers are building a similar plant in Lordstown and are seeking permits to build a second plant at each location. Utility legislation pending before the Ohio legislature to subsidize old nuclear and coal power plants could derail those plans. (Oregon Clean Energy Center)

CLEVELAND — “A power struggle has erupted in the Statehouse pitting Ohio’s traditional electric utilities against new independent power producers, as well as consumer, environmental and business groups wary of rate increases.

The outcome will have an impact not only on what consumers will pay for power in the future, but also on the state’s future economic development as businesses afraid of rate escalation leave the state or refuse to come to Ohio.

Led by FirstEnergy and American Electric Power, the utilities are pushing lawmakers to create new customer charges to help bankroll old nuclear and certain old coal plants.

Separate legislation authorizing the new charges that would cost customers billions of dollars over the next two decades have been working their way through House and Senate committee hearings in the face of stiff opposition from opponents.

The AEP-led proposal would add as much as $256 million to Ohio electric bills annually until 2040, or nearly $6 billion, according to an analysis by the Ohio Legislative Service Commission, to keep running two Cold War era coal power plants, one of which is in Indiana, that once made electricity solely for the defense industry. No Ohio electric customer could escape the surcharge, which has not been broken out by company.”

— John Funk, Cleveland Plain Dealer

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