Several bills have been introduced in the Ohio House and Senate to tackle the controversial nuclear power plant bailout bill, HB6. The measures range from a complete repeal of the bill at the center of a bribery investigation to repealing portions of the legislation.
Rep. Dick Stein (R-Norwalk) is proposing HB128, which would effectively throw out the nuclear bailout portion of HB6 by eliminating the nuclear subsidies that amount to about $150 million a year from a charge attached to ratepayer bills. It would also do away with the solar subsidies and end different rate changes that benefited FirstEnergy.
"Hopefully restoring confidence for the folks in Ohio that again there is no longer any benefit to FirstEnergy or FirstEnergy Solutions as a result of the passage of HB6," says Stein.
The additional charge on electric bills for the nuclear subsidy is already on hold by a court-ordered injunction.
Stein says the company that now owns Ohio's two nuclear plants, Energy Harbor, has asked for the elimination of the subsidies due to federal policies that could change its position in the energy market. Energy Harbor, formerly known as FirstEnergy Solutions, was a subsidiary of FirstEnergy before splitting and coming out under the new name in 2020.
Investigators say FirstEnergy funneled millions of dollars to a dark money group in order to help Rep. Larry Householder (R-Glenford) become speaker and in return pass HB6.
Other legislators say Stein's bill doesn't go far enough.
Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus) is proposing HB10, which eliminates the nuclear and solar subsidies along with a measure that guaranteed a certain amount of subsidies for two coal plants.
Republican leadership in the House and Senate have signaled a willingness to move on bills that address the nuclear and solar subsidies.