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Report: Ex-FirstEnergy Execs ‘at Forefront’ of HB 6 Probe

April 7, 2023

Lawyers for a pair of fired FirstEnergy Corp. officials — including former CEO Chuck Jones — say their clients are “undeniably at the forefront” of the federal government’s ongoing House Bill 6 investigation. Read the report by Gongwer News Service.

Meanwhile, the Ohio Capitol Journal has published this story examining the relationship between AEP and former Speaker Larry Householder — before and after passage of HB 6. Besides providing $900,000 to help pass the scandal-ridden bill, the story says AEP also supported Householder’s plan to extend legislative term limits, which would have allowed him to serve an additional 16 years. 4/5/2023

Energy Permitting Reform Back in Play on Capitol Hill

April 7, 2023

After last week’s passage of the U.S. House’s energy bill, there’s talk on Capitol Hill of a possible permitting compromise. S&P Global reports that Senate Democrats want aggressive measures to speed construction of transmission lines to meet their climate goals, but oppose House provisions to build more fossil fuel infrastructure. 4/4/2023

Four Ways Manufacturers Can Benefit From the IRA

April 7, 2023

Manufacturers are still learning more details about the federal Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which includes numerous provisions addressing domestic energy production and manufacturing.

OMA Connections Partner NRG Energy has published this analysis of the IRA’s incentives and opportunities for commercial and industrial businesses to accelerate their decarbonization and improve energy efficiency. 4/5/2023

Speaker: Ohio House Unlikely to Repeal OVEC Subsidies

March 31, 2023

As previously reported, legislation (House Bill 120) has been introduced to repeal House Bill 6 subsidies for two Ohio Valley Electric Corp. coal-fired power plants. A new OMA study finds Ohio customers will subsidize OVEC’s utility owners — AEP Ohio, Duke Energy, and AES — an estimated $850 million by 2030 if the subsidies aren’t repealed.

The Plain Dealer has reported that Ohio House Speaker Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) says he currently has no intentions of taking up the repeal bill, although House members could force a vote if 50 members sign what is known as a discharge petition to advance the bill from committee. 3/29/2023

AEP Ohio: Prepare for Higher Electric Bills

March 31, 2023

AEP Ohio has advised customers of an upcoming spike in electricity prices following a recent supply auction that could result in a nearly 30% hike for the average residential customer starting in June. AEP says the increase is due to the competitive auction process carried out under Ohio law. Gongwer News Service reports the PUCO has proposed altering the auction process, receiving “mixed feedback.” 3/27/2023

FirstEnergy Names Fourth CEO in Three Years

March 31, 2023

Brian Tierney, an executive at Blackstone — a New York-based alternative investment company — has been named FirstEnergy’s next CEO. Blackstone is one of FirstEnergy’s largest shareholders, holding $1 billion worth of the company’s stock and a seat on FirstEnergy’s board, as reported by the Akron Beacon Journal.

When he takes over on June 1, Tierney will be FirstEnergy’s fourth CEO in the past three years following the passage of the scandal-ridden House Bill 6. Prior to Blackstone, he spent 23 years at AEP in multiple leadership roles. Tierney’s compensation includes a base salary of $1.5 million and a hiring bonus worth $1.5 million. 3/28/2023

OMA Supports Federal Energy Bill

March 31, 2023

The OMA, as part of a national coalition, this week urged federal lawmakers to pass the Lower Energy Costs Act, designated H.R. 1. The coalition sent this letter to Capitol Hill.

The bill, which was passed by the U.S. House on March 30, aims to significantly increase U.S. energy production, while reducing regulatory burdens making it harder to build major energy infrastructure. Here’s an overview of the bill. 3/30/2023

EIA: Renewables Surpass Coal-Fired Generation

March 31, 2023

Last year, electricity generated from renewables surpassed coal in the U.S. for the first time, the U.S. Energy Information Administration says. The EIA projects that the wind share of the U.S. electricity generation mix will increase from 11% to 12% from 2022 to 2023 and solar will grow from 4% to 5%. 3/28/2023

Reports: Electrical Steel Is Latest Supply Concern

March 31, 2023

A shortage of electrical steel — used in the cores of electromagnetic devices such as motors, generators, and transformers — is getting media attention. The Wall Street Journal reports the paper-thin steel is critical for manufacturing electric vehicles, washing machines, power tools, air conditioners, and more.

OMA member Cleveland-Cliffs, the largest supplier of steel to the U.S. automotive industry, is restarting an idle line at its Zanesville mill to produce additional electrical steel. Experts say the impact of the electrical steel shortage could be as impactful to the global economy as the semiconductor shortage, and could delay efforts to upgrade electrical grids. 3/29/2023

OVEC Subsidy Repeal Introduced; New Study Updates Costs to Ohio Customers

March 24, 2023

At the Statehouse, House Bill 120 has been introduced to repeal House Bill 6 subsidies for two Ohio Valley Electric Corp. coal-fired power plants. According to this summary, the bill would also require full repayments of revenues collected under the HB 6 OVEC subsidy.

A new study by RunnerStone — the OMA’s energy engineering team — finds Ohioans have already paid nearly $400 million to OVEC’s utility owners. The study estimates customers will subsidize OVEC’s utility owners around $850 million by 2030. Meanwhile, the power plants are at risk of major environmental upgrades, which would further increase costs to Ohioans. 3/23/2023