Energy Exchange

HB 6 – The fight is not over in Ohio

Ohio’s legislature passed FirstEnergy Solutions’ bailout bill last month over deafening and unusually widespread opposition. House Bill 6 not only grants the bankrupt energy company $150 million a year in ratepayer funds to bail out its uneconomic nuclear plants, it also subsidizes dirty coal units and guts the state’s clean energy industry that has created 112,000 jobs, with more than 5,000 in 2018 alone.

For FirstEnergy, it was a brilliant twofer — obtain massive subsidies and stifle competition. But it looks like Ohioans may have the final say in the voting booth.

Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, FirstEnergy / Comments are closed

FirstEnergy’s bailout campaign is filled with all kinds of wrong. Please let a failed HB 6 be the end of it.

Since it was first filed in the Ohio legislature, HB 6 has been pitched as a necessary savior for a struggling Ohio utility and employer. FirstEnergy Solutions’ nuclear plants are losing money, the sales pitch goes, and the publicly-traded company needs $150 million a year by June 30 or it will shut down the plants and Ohio will lose 4,000 jobs.

Let me suggest that everything about this is wrong.

The June 30 deadline was wrong

We know now that the June 30 deadline was wrong because, well, it’s after June 30. When the deadline passed, FirstEnergy told reporters that it will proceed with taking steps to shut down the plants, but it can reverse course at a later date. Perhaps FirstEnergy’s leadership knew it was a false deadline, like the many other times the company cried wolf.

Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, FirstEnergy / Comments are closed

The FirstEnergy bailout bill benefits out-of-state executives and investors, not Ohioans

FirstEnergy and its supportive legislators have tied themselves in knots to sell their bailout bill (HB 6), a $1.4 billion money grab by a publicly traded company and its speculative, out-of-state investors that made a bad bet on a declining business.

They’ve been lying to Ohioans, claiming that HB 6 is a panacea that will clean the air, preserve local jobs and keep the lights on across Ohio. But it isn’t about any of that. And it’s barely about Ohio. Ohioans deserve to know the truth, and the legislature should reject this dishonest bill.

FirstEnergy claims it needs $150 to $190 million a year from Ohioans to keep two old nuclear plants online. And this would be the fifth time Ohioans will have paid for these plants. They first paid when the plants were built. They paid again in 1999 when the electricity market was restructured. They paid again when companies were allowed to add plants back into their supply plans in 2008. And finally, they’ve paid via the bailout ruling approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio in 2016.

Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, FirstEnergy / Comments are closed

Ohio Supreme Court ends FirstEnergy’s illegal subsidies in a win for customers and the environment

Update: On August 20, the Ohio Supreme Court rejected FirstEnergy’s motion for reconsideration of “credit support” charges approved by state regulators in 2016. The Supreme Court ordered the charge be removed, saying state regulators had failed to place the necessary conditions on how FirstEnergy spent the subsidies. 

In the three years’ time the appeals process has taken, FirstEnergy has collected nearly all of the $600 million it was seeking. Current law states that FirstEnergy gets to keep the $600 million rather than refund it to customers. Environmental Defense Fund and our partners have been working hard to change the refund law and today’s ruling should give added momentum to this effort.

The Ohio Supreme Court today rejected FirstEnergy’s “credit support” charges approved by state regulators in 2016. The Supreme Court ordered the charge be removed, saying state regulators had failed to place the necessary conditions on how FirstEnergy spent the subsidies.

For years, FirstEnergy has been seeking a bailout for its uneconomic coal and nuclear plants. The Ohio-based utility finally got its wish in late 2016, when the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio approved more than $600 million in customer-funded subsidies.

Today the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that those customer funded subsidies must be removed. In the three years’ time the appeals process has taken, FirstEnergy has collected nearly all of the $600 million it was seeking. Current law states that FirstEnergy gets to keep the $600 million rather than refund it to customers. We have been working hard to change the refund law and today’s ruling should give added momentum to this effort.

Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, FirstEnergy / Comments are closed

Illinois’ Clean Energy Jobs Act taps power of energy efficiency

By Christie Hicks and Andrew Barbeau

This post is the fourth in our CEJA series.

The rollout of Illinois’ Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) has focused attention on the bill’s four main pillars: a 100% renewable energy target by 2050, the decarbonization of the state’s power sector by 2030, the electrification of the transportation sector and a focus on equity and economic justice.

But there’s a hidden gem of an opportunity in the bill that is just as promising as solar panels and electric cars: energy efficiency.

Energy efficiency programs and technology are among the most cost-effective routes to lower climate emissions and energy bills. And just like solar, wind and other clean energy tools, it’s a job creator. CEJA recognizes and capitalizes on that potential.

Read More »

Also posted in CEJA, Energy Efficiency / Comments are closed

Opponents of FirstEnergy bailout outnumber supporters 73-2. Here’s what they’re saying.

FirstEnergy’s bailout bill (H.B. 6) – which would subsidize its uneconomic power plants and destroy state programs that encourage energy efficiency and clean energy – received a hearing in the Ohio House of Representatives last week. Two supporters testified (including FirstEnergy). Seventy three opponents testified.

You can find full transcripts of the testimony here.

But if you don’t want to wade through all of the testimony, we’ve pulled some of the best comments from the diverse opponents consisting of conservatives, manufacturers and environmentalists.

Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, FirstEnergy / Comments are closed