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FirstEnergy Subsidiary Asks Court To Block Ballot Issue On Bailout Law

Sep 4, 2019

FirstEnergy Solutions, the owner of Ohio's two nuclear power plants, is asking the Ohio Supreme Court to stop a potential ballot issue to repeal the state’s new nuclear bailout law.

The energy company says a referendum would be unconstitutional. Ohio Public Radio's Andy Chow reports.  

The legal challenge from FirstEnergy Solutions is trying to stop Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts from putting a referendum of HB6 on next year's ballot.

 

That law would bail out nuclear plants and subsidize coal plants and solar farms through new charges on everyone's electric bills. It would also cut back the state’s green energy requirements on utilities.

 

FirstEnergy Solutions would get $150 million a year from those subsidies. They say the increased charges qualify as a tax, something that voters cannot reject through a referendum.

 

An Ohio State University energy economics professor disagrees with that argument. He says, if the additional charge on electric bills qualifies as a tax increase, then state utility regulators have been illegally creating new taxes for years.