FirstEnergy / Nuclear Energy

New oil and gas industry poll: Majority of respondents ‘strongly opposed’ to special fees for FirstEnergy’s nuke plants

The Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station (Credit: NRC)

COLUMBUS — “An oil and gas group is using the power of the people to try to stave off an Ohio utility’s push to subsidize its nuclear power plants.

API Ohio – which stands for American Petroleum Institute – released a poll of Ohio voters on Wednesday that gauges their opinions on electricity prices and subsidies. Poll takers were asked generally and explicitly about the FirstEnergy Corp. plan, which would have customers in the Akron company’s territory pay extra to keep open two Ohio nuke plants.

For example: ‘Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: The electricity market in Ohio should be based on the marketplace, and not on particular corporations the government decides to grant money to,’ in which more than half of the 801 respondents strongly agreed.

…Why can’t the different energy sources get along? Because Ohio is gushing with natural gas output from the Utica shale play in the eastern portion of the state. That, combined with big natural gas production in neighboring Pennsylvania and West Virginia, has made gas a cheap, increasingly popular fuel used in power plants. Developers are using gas to build as many as 10 new plants in Ohio to replace electricity generation lost by closing coal plants.

So, if the state legislature gives FirstEnergy (NYSE:FE) a subsidy, propping up its uncompetitive nuclear plants, it gets an advantage that the developers of gas plants do not. As you might expect, the state’s largest trade group for the oil and gas industry does not like this, leading to the new poll.”

— Tom Knox, Columbus Business First

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