Prodded by the OMA, FirstEnergy Re-examines Whether Ratepayer Funds Were Used for HB 6 Efforts

Following last week’s announcement that FirstEnergy will pay a $230 million penalty for bribing state officials to pass House Bill 6, the company said this week it is “re-evaluating” its prior assurance that no customer dollars were used to support the effort. The Plain Dealer (subscription) reports that a FirstEnergy spokeswoman declined to elaborate.

The utility’s re-evaluation was announced in its latest filing in one of four ongoing Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) investigations into the company’s conduct during HB 6’s consideration. The PUCO, which regulates utilities in Ohio, began its probe last September, ordering the company to demonstrate that its customers weren’t directly or indirectly billed for charitable and political spending.

Gongwer News Service notes that legal efforts by the OMA Energy Group and the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel earlier this month accused the company of “obfuscation” in the face of requests for FirstEnergy documents and records related to HB 6 spending. 7/27/2021