Lawmakers Pass House Bill 6 and Save Ohio’s Nuclear Power Plants

Perry Nuclear Power Plant

On July 23, Ohio lawmakers passed House Bill 6 and ensured the continued operation of the state’s two nuclear power plants, saving more than 4,000 jobs, including members of the building trades.

H.B 6 creates the Ohio Clean Energy Program, which will charge Ohio electrical customers a monthly surcharge ranging from $0.85 cents for residential customers to $2,400 for large manufacturing and industrial customers between 2021 and 2027 in order to subsidize both Perry Nuclear Power Plant and Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station.

Of the $170 million per year in revenue the legislation will create, $150 million will be used to subsidize  both nuclear power plants and the other $20 million per year will be used to support six solar power projects being built in rural areas throughout Ohio.

The legislation also includes subsidies for coal plants in Ohio and Indiana operated by the Ohio Valley Electric Corporation. This will cost residential ratepayers up to $1.50 per month and commercial and industrial users up to $1,500 per month.

According to The Plain Dealer, the HB6 coal subsidies will raise $50 million per year from Ohio ratepayers through 2030 to keep two OVEC coal-fired power plants online.

While the first version of the H.B. 6 gutted legislation passed in 2008 to mandate utilities to purchase 12.5 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2027, the version ultimately signed into law reduces the goal to 8.5 percent by 2026.

Furthermore, other language will limit the need for utilities to exceed the 17.5 percent energy-efficiency standard power reduction. Many utilities are close to reaching this level and they will now will allowed to use “banked” energy savings (energy usage reductions beyond a prior year’s state mandate level) and apply them to future years. This will likely result in energy companies taking little action to increase consumers’ energy efficiency.

The bill will save ratepayers money.

Rep. Shane Wilkin (R-Hillsboro) told The Toledo Blade H.B. 6 will ultimately create a savings for Ohio energy customers.

“It will save Ohioans $1.3 billion. That is real savings to ratepayers,” Wilkin said. “House Bill 6 also supports large-scale solar projects right here in Ohio, some of the largest east of the Mississippi… Not only will this support our local jobs and manufacturing supply chain, but it will also help our generation of zero-carbon electricity, electricity generated right here in the state of Ohio.”

The average residential ratepayer statewide will realize a net reduction in the short term by an estimated $2.82.

In a statement to The Business Journal, FES CEO John W. Judge called the vote a monumental in keeping Davis-Besse and Perry operational.

“We are very pleased that Governor Mike DeWine signed H.B. 6 following its successful bi-partisan passage in the General Assembly,” Judge said.  “We’re also thankful for the support and commitment by Speaker Householder and Senate President Obhof, who understood the importance of protecting 90 percent of the state’s zero-emissions electricity, substantial employment and the need to provide affordable rates from a diverse portfolio of generation sources for Ohioans.”

The Business Journal also reported Bill Siderewicz, President of Boston-based Clean Energy Future, announced a referendum committee had been formed to overturn the legislation. Clean Energy Future developed and now operates the natural gas-fired Lordstown Energy Center and is currently building the Trumbull County Energy Center.

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