Ohio House Energy and Natural Resource Committee adopts Sub. HB 6, a bill that creates new “electricity tax” on all Ohioans for benefit of FirstEnergy Solutions and owners of old coal plants
COLUMBUS, May 22, 2018 — Today, Ohio House Energy and Natural Resources Committee adopted, on a party line vote, substitute House Bill 6 for consideration, which would create a new “electricity tax” on all Ohioans to bankroll FirstEnergy Solutions’ failing nuclear facilities while gutting the state’s advanced energy standards and threatening the jobs of 112,000 Ohioans working in the advanced energy industry that will power Ohio in the future. A committee vote on the bill is expected tomorrow.
“With this latest version of Sub. HB 6, Republican House leaders have done what no one thought possible – taken an already bad bill and made it much worse. The original bill was a bailout of aging, uncompetitive nuclear plants masquerading as a clean air program. The latest bill drops the masquerade and provides a straight bailout of the nuclear plants while punishing clean energy by outright repealing Ohio renewable energy and energy efficiency standards,” said Ted Ford, President of the Ohio Advanced Energy Economy. “Thanks to House leaders, Ohio continues its march into the past.”
While prior versions of HB 6 were detrimental to renewable energy and energy efficiency, they also appeared to offer weakened incentives or rhetorical gestures of support. This latest substitute bill repeals the state’s current renewable energy and energy efficiency standards in their entirety. The bill creates new customer charges ($1/month for residential, “average” $15/month for commercial, and “average” $250/month for industrial) to bail out FirstEnergy’s bankrupt nuclear plants (no other resource qualifies for its so-called “clean air program,” that would pay $9/megawatt hour) and a separate charge ($2.50/month for residential and $2,500/month for commercial/industrial) to bail out old utility coal plants. The language leaves open more cost recovery from ratepayers.
The bill also makes Ohio’s notoriously burdensome wind siting regulations worse by subjecting any favorable Siting Board determination to a patchwork of local referenda at the township level. The vote would occur after the developer has spent millions to develop the project, amass the land, and obtain a certificate.
“Sub. HB 6 not only fails to qualify as a comprehensive energy package but eliminates a successful market-based renewable energy standard and energy efficiency measures that have saved Ohioans billions in favor of corporate welfare for FirstEnergy Solutions,” said Ray Fakhoury, Principal with national business group Advanced Energy Economy.
About Ohio Advanced Energy Economy
Ohio Advanced Energy Economy (Ohio AEE) is the business voice behind Ohio’s advanced energy industry. Our organization works to make the energy all Ohioans use clean, secure, and affordable. Advanced energy encompasses a broad range of products and services that constitute the best available technologies for meeting energy needs today and tomorrow. Learn more at www.ohioadvancedenergy.org and follow the latest news at @OHAdvEnergyEcon.