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Opponents Of HB6 Say Nuclear Bailout Freeze Is Not Enough

Power lines run through a farm in Canal Winchester, Ohio.
Andy Chow
Statehouse News Bureau
Power lines run through a farm in Canal Winchester, Ohio.

New charges are set to appear on everyone's electric bills in Ohio to support a nuclear power plant bailout. While that bailout is linked to an alleged bribery scheme, House Republicans seem poised to freeze the law rather than repeal it.

House leadership is signaling a freeze to the bailout, HB798, will be the vehicle used to address the energy laws created through HB6. The energy law allows for new charges of up to $2.35 a month on electric bills for nuclear, coal, and solar subsidies.

Rachael Belz with Ohio Consumers Power Alliance says a freeze on the new charges doesn't truly help the ratepayers.

"It's more like pushing something off that you never intend to get back to," says Belz.

Talk of an HB6 repeal began after House Speaker Larry Householder was arrested about 5 months ago accused of a bribery scheme that helped him rise to leadership and HB6 become law.

It's believed FirstEnergy funneled millions of dollars into the alleged scheme. HB6 accomplishes several things on the company's legislative agenda.

The nuclear and solar subsidies amount to a $0.85 monthly charge on electric bills. That new charge generates $150 million a year for two nuclear power plants in Ohio and $20 million for existing solar farms.

HB798 would not repeal the provisions in HB6 that cuts renewable energy standards and eliminates energy efficiency standards.

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