Chair of Committee Hearing Nuclear Bailout Repeal Bills Puts Forward a Delay
There’s a new twist in the possible repeal of Ohio’s controversial nuclear bailout law: a plan to delay the $150 million the state will collect next year for its two nuclear power plants. It comes from the head of a special House committee hearing proposals to repeal the bailout.
The plan from Rep. Jim Hoops (R-Napoleon) would delay the subsidies for two nuclear power plants that will be collected from all Ohio electric ratepayers starting in January. And it would require a third-party audit to determine if the money is needed.
Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus) said in a statement: “Ohioans shouldn’t see their utility bills go up as a result of the largest corruption scandal in Ohio history. Not now – not ever! How many people have to be arrested, indicted, plead guilty, resign, or be fired before Republicans will definitively say that House Bill 6 has to go?”
But that’s not how Hoops sees it.
“It just gives us some time to really look at the issue more. I don’t feel we’re kicking anything down there. Energy policy is just very complex," Hoops said.
And Hoops doesn't want a full repeal: "There were some good things I feel that were in the bill. I think we want to keep the nuclear plants here in Ohio.”
Two coal plants and some solar projects would also benefit from another $20 million in subsidies in the law, which also cut utilities’ energy efficiency programs.
Lawsuits have been filed to stop the collection of up to $2.35 in monthly charges and the forwarding of that money to Energy Harbor, formerly FirstEnergy Solutions, which operates the nuclear plants.
Federal investigators say that law passed because of a $61 million bribery scheme involving former Speaker Larry Householder, four other people, and a utility believed to be FirstEnergy.
The bailout passed with Republican and Democratic votes, and some Republicans have said research from the Legislative Service Commission shows a repeal would cost consumers more than $2 billion. But that doesn’t include money that could be saved if energy efficiency programs were brought back.
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