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Government & Politics

Draft Bill Could Provide Bailout FirstEnergy Solutions Seeks to Keep Nuclear Plants Operating

A photo of Perry Nuclear Power plant.
The Perry Nuclear Power plant.

State lawmakers are working on a bill that could effectively bailout the state’s two nuclear power plants. A piece of draft legislation would create subsidies for nuclear for not emitting carbon. 

The proposal crafted by Republican Representative Jamie Callender (R-Concord) would allow a new charge on electric bills.

The unofficial language would cap those new charges per month at $2.50 for residential customers, $20 for commercial users, and $250 for industrial users.

Callender’s office reiterates this is only a rough draft, saying there’s already a new version of the bill drawn up so details are expected to change.

Nuclear power has been struggling in the energy market against cheaper natural gas and stiff competition from other sources.

FirstEnergy Solutions, which used to be a subsidiary of FirstEnergy and owns Ohio’s two nuclear plants, has filed for bankruptcy but says it is also pursuing legislative relief.  

Last month, Akron and Summit County leaders wrote to Governor Mike DeWine and legislative leaders urging them to find a way to keep the nuclear plants open. They say the plants create jobs, help clean energy efforts and secure Ohio's power supply.

The letter points out that nuclear power represents 90 percent of zero-emission electricity in Ohio, and coal or gas plants that would replace that power could contribute 9 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year.