After Repealing Nuclear Bailout, Ohio Lawmakers May Still Change Controversial Energy Law

Apr 2, 2021

This week Gov. Mike DeWine signed into law the end of a billion dollars in charges that Ohio electric ratepayers would have paid to prop up the state’s two nuclear power plants. This new law effectively takes the nuclear bailout out of the energy law known as House Bill 6, which passed in 2019.

But lawmakers may not be done with that measure.

Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) said removing the nuclear subsidies was – in his words – the easy part of dealing with House Bill 6.

In an interview for this week's "The State of Ohio", Huffman said he’s pretty sure the elimination of energy efficiency programs run by utilities and the trimming of renewable energy requirements on utilities won’t be restored to where they were before being added into House Bill 6.

“The subsidy to various companies for energy efficiency programs or other kinds of energy. In my mind, and this is in the mind of Matt Huffman, those things are not coming back," Huffman said.

The fees on all ratepayers' bills were supposed to be collected starting in January, but a stay issued in a lawsuit filed by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost staved off those charges.

Huffman said there will be discussion on bills to cut the $20 million in subsidies for two coal fired plants and six solar projects that are also in the energy law.

That law is at the center of the $60 million bribery scandal that federal prosecutors say involved Republican former House Speaker Larry Householder, former Ohio Republican Party chair Matt Borges and the late lobbyist Neil Clark. Two others accused in the case have pleaded guilty, as has a dark money group. The case also involves a utility widely believed to be FirstEnergy, which is under investigation by Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Former US Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio David DeVillers has said COVID has shut down court proceedings, which means it’ll take longer than usual before a resolution in these high-profile cases.