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Government & Politics

Yost Considering Legal Action To Stall Electric Bill Hikes

Attorney General Dave Yost (R-Ohio) says he's considering taking legal action to stall the billion dollar nuclear power plant bailout as legislators consider a possible repeal to the law that created the subsidies.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio have approved the mechanism to be used to increase nearly every ratepayer's electric bills next year. The increase is part of HB6, a law that creates $150 million in annual subsides to two nuclear power plants.

Yost's discussion of a possible injunction is the latest action from leaders, advocates, and interest groups fighting to repeal HB6, which is said to be the catalyst for a $60 million racketeering scheme. 

Michael Hartley with the Coalition to Restore Public Trust says legislators must toss out the law. 

"Every single word of it is corrupt, and every single word of it is tainted. That is why, to restore the public trust in Ohio's government and political system, that's why the legislature needs to repeal HB6 in its entirety," says Hartley. "The citizens of Ohio feel duped. They feel that their government duped them on this bill. And therefore, they're mad, they're very mad. And they want this repealed."

Federal investigators say a utility believed to be FirstEnergy and its subsidiaries funneled millions of dollars to personally and politically benefit former House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) in exchange for the bailout. 

HB6 allowed an increase of $0.85 for everyone's monthly electric bills. That increase would generate $170 million in annual subsidies; $150 million for nuclear power plants, and $20 million for solar farms.

The bill also created an increase of up to $1.50 a month on electric bills to subsidize two coal plants, Kyger Creek (Gallia County) and Clifty Creek (Madison, IN).

Several measures in HB6 were priorities for FirstEnergy and its former subsidiary FirstEnergy Solutions, now called Energy Harbor. FirstEnergy CEO Chuck Jones has said he believes the company acted properly in the matter and intends to fully cooperate with investigators.

Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.