Energy / FirstEnergy

Official statement on SB 128 by Rachael Belz, Ohio Citizen Action Executive Director

FirstEnergy would have us believe their desire for a Zero Emission Credit (ZEC) program in Ohio, as proposed in SB 128,  is about incentivizing low-carbon energy generation. If that were true, they would have made more significant investments in renewable energy projects and not dispatched legions of lobbyists to Columbus to secure customer bailouts for their inefficient and uncompetitive coal plants and scuttle Ohio’s modest renewable energy and energy efficiency standards.

No, what the ZEC program’s designed to do is guarantee $300 million annually for power from FirstEnergy’s nuclear plants- in perpetuity. They say without this money, the plants might have to close. This revenue will flow to FirstEnergy regardless of whether or not they sell the plants, which they may well do, and regardless of whether a new owner decides to shut them down.

The $300 million FirstEnergy proposes to extract from ratepayers each year would serve Ohioans much better if it were invested in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. It’s no mistake this bill emerges at the same time certain lawmakers are fast-tracking a bill to repeal the renewable energy and energy efficiency mandates Ohio just reinstated in January.

Ohio’s inevitable energy future may revolve around efficiency and renewables, but its present is dominated by utilities prepared to spend their political influence to shift the burden of old nuclear jalopies onto customers.

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