Unfair legislation saddles Ohioans with yet another subsidy for failing business practices
Ohio Senate Bill 128 has been introduced, and under the proposed legislation, Ohioans can be charged on their electric bills to subsidize aging nuclear power plants, including the outdated nuclear power plants FirstEnergy has indicated they would like to sell. FirstEnergy provides electric service to about two million Ohio residential consumers. Ohio’s Consumer Counsel has done some early calculations and is estimating the cost of the legislation for each of two million FirstEnergy residential consumers, on average, as up to $57 per year for up to 16 years (meaning up to $912), with the potential that the PUCO could allow adjustments to the charges based on inflation.
The subsidy charges would allow First Energy, and other electric companies to pass costs to consumers above the fair market price of electricity to prop up their failing business model. Ohio’s consumers, manufacturers and small businesses have seen the benefits of lower energy costs according to a recent study by Ohio State University and Cleveland State University researchers.
The study shows that the move to a de-regulated, competitive auction-based supply and demand energy market saved Ohioans nearly $12 billion from 2011-2015 and is projected to save them nearly another $12 billion for the five years through 2020.
But unless stopped, businesses such as FirstEnergy will use the promise of ‘clean nuclear energy’ to justify Ohioans paying for their inability to keep pace in a highly-competitive energy market that allows consumers to buy from a range of low-cost, clean energy choices.
In a statement today AARP State Director Barbara Sykes announced AARP’s opposition to the newly introduced Senate Bill that would allow First Energy to directly charge Ohioans a monthly fee for the next 16 years under the guise of clean energy credits.
“Deregulation of the market in Ohio is working. Ohioans have the ability to buy power from whoever they want, forcing competitive pricing. This legislation unfairly props up businesses, such as First Energy, who have failed to remain competitive by passing the costs of doing business on to consumers. We are firmly opposed to this for all Ohioans, but especially for those age 50-plus who are living on fixed incomes,” said Sykes.
“FirstEnergy should sell its power to other buyers at a premium price instead of seeking a ratepayer subsidy. In Illinois, Exelon recently announced it would sell power from its Byron nuclear plant to Michigan and other states, rather than seek a bailout. Several other states voluntarily let their aging, uneconomic power nukes close without debating a bailout. Court filings across the country- including Illinois-are challenging similar zero-emission credit scams because they interfere with the wholesale energy market and distort favorable pricing that results from healthy competition in the supply and demand.”
“Ohio consumers have been asked to pay subsidies and surcharges on top of their monthly bills to the tune of $14.7 billion dollars and First Energy has asked for more utility surcharges than any other Ohio utility provider,” added AARP Ohio Associate Director of Advocacy, Trey Addison. “AARP will fight for our members and non-members to ensure Senate Bill 128 does not pass.”