Ohio House Bill 6 Would Hurt Consumers in the Buckeye State | Citizens Against Government Waste

Ohio House Bill 6 Would Hurt Consumers in the Buckeye State

The WasteWatcher

Ohio lawmakers are considering raising consumer’s energy bills in the Buckeye State to bail out two unprofitable nuclear power plants which have been scheduled for shut down in two years. The nuclear plants are run by FirstEnergy Solutions (FES) which is filing for bankruptcy as part of a restructuring plan that will separate the business from its parent company, FirstEnergy Corp. As part of its filing, FES says it has developed a cost saving plan that would close both nuclear power plants by 2021; yet, the filing also plainly states the company is looking for “legislative relief.”

Cue the Ohio legislators. For the past several years, Republicans in Ohio have been trying to get a bill passed that would create subsidies for nuclear. The current proposal, HB 6, is sponsored by Republican Reps. Jamie Callender of Lake County and Shane Wilkin of Southwest Ohio, and it would increase rates on electric bills—up to $2,500 a month for larger businesses. Beginning in 2020, the average home would see its bill increase by 50 cents per bill. In the second year, the average home surcharge would jump to $2.50 per bill, and it would go up again the following year. Meanwhile, the average business in Ohio is expected to see their electric bill go up by $20 a month. HB 6 is projected to raise $86 million in its first year, but it is estimated to ultimately cost Ohio taxpayers $306 million a year.

A hearing on the proposal was held in the Ohio House earlier today. Democrats walked out of that meeting when they weren’t allowed to ask the witnesses questions. House Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nino Vitale of Urbana disallowed a question from a Democratic member after allowing two of his fellow Republicans to question a witness. The Democratic members later returned when Republicans finally consented to allow them to question witnesses.

The two Ohio nuclear plants in question, Davis-Besse and Perry, have been unable to compete economically with natural gas. Incumbent energy producers like FES have an enormous amount of political power. This is a company that is reorganizing its ownership, operational, legal, and other structures in order to make itself more profitable for its shareholders; however, it expects regular Ohio taxpayers to give it a bail out. This type of crony capitalism is outrageous.