Sponsor Of Nuclear Plant Bailout Bill Has Apparent Conflict Of Interest

Apr 18, 2017

Perry nuclear power plant

The utility that owns Ohio's two nuclear power plants says it needs to charge its customers more in order save the facilities. 

The state senator sponsoring a bill allowing it to happen is accused of having a conflict of interest. Ohio Public Radio's Andy Chow reports.

Senator John Eklund is an attorney with a firm that represents FirstEnergy, which owns Ohio's nuclear power plants. Eklund's bill would allow FirstEnergy to charge customers more to subsidize those plants, but he notes the state's ethics commission says there shouldn't be any concerns about conflicts. And Eklund says saving these nuclear power plants ensures that Ohio isn't just relying on whatever energy source is cheapest at the time, because in his words that...

Eklund: "Exposes the system to the weakness of that energy source and does not take advantage of the strengths of the other energy sources."

Manufacturers and consumer groups have said this is just another request for a bailout from FirstEnergy, which already lost a fight to help its coal plants.