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Ohio Senate Considers Prohibiting 'Decoupling' Mechanism For Electric Companies

The Ohio Channel
Sen. Mark Romanchuk (R-Mansfield) testifying for his bill SB10.

The Ohio Senate is holding hearings on a new bill that addresses an old issue, the nuclear power plant bailout law at the center of a $61 million federal bribery case. While the attempt to repeal the controversial energy bill known as HB6 fell through at the end of last year, lawmakers are still looking at chipping away at the legislation.

Sen. Mark Romanchuk (R-Mansfield) says his bill, SB10, would stop what's known as the "decoupling" provision of HB6, which guarantees a certain profit for FirstEnergy.

The provision created in 2019 set the revenue level at 2018 earnings, which was a record high at the time.

"The utility will continue to receive $978 million in distribution revenue at a time when business are shut down and families are struggling to make ends meet," says Romanchuk.

Decoupling was a concept created over a decade ago to offset lost distribution from energy efficiency, since efficiency leads to lower energy use which leads to lower revenues for the utilities. The decoupling mechanism is part of the distribution rate on electric bills.

Romanchuk says, now that the state eliminated energy efficiency standard, decoupling is no longer needed.

Some lawmakers are still seeking a full repeal of HB6, which includes decoupling and the nuclear power plant bailout.

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