The Ohio House will begin to hold hearings on a possible repeal of a sweeping energy bill that bailed out nuclear power plants, among several other things. Supporters and opponents of the law, which is now at the center of a federal bribery investigation, are fighting over what the final cost would be on electric bills.
Under HB6, ratepayers will see new monthly charges of up to about $2.35 to pay for the nuclear, coal, and solar subsidies. But supporters say electric bills will ultimately be lower due to the roll back of clean energy standards.
Opponents of HB6, including Trish Demeter with the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund, counter that claim arguing that the energy efficiency standards ended up saving ratepayers an average of $7 a month, with an average net benefit of about $4.
"The numbers that are being presented by HB6 supporters ignores the savings that are being enjoyed by Ohioans as a result of successful energy efficiency programs that were gutted in HB6," says Demeter.
Chris Neme, principal of the Energy Futures Group, explains that the energy efficiency programs are required by law to be cost effective. Before a utility attaches an increased charge on electric bills for efficiency programs, it must be approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.
"The programs are required to be cost effective so if in fact you actually do reach a tipping point where you can't get savings that are worth more than the cost of the programs, the programs will be rejected by the commission," says Neme.
The House and Senate are currently holding hearings to repeal HB6.