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Government & Politics

Chair of Committee Hearing Nuclear Bailout Repeal Bills Puts Forward a Delay

The towers of the Perry Nuclear Power Plant, one of the two plants that would receive $150 million in subsides from the bailout known as House Bill 6.
Dan Konik
Statehouse News Bureau
The Perry Nuclear Power Plant is one of the two plants that would receive $150 million in subsides from the bailout known as House Bill 6.

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