Senate Improves Energy Bill; Vote Imminent

The Ohio Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee this week held additional hearings on House Bill 6, the nuclear bailout legislation. Committee Chair Steve Wilson (R-Warren County) unveiled a new version of the bill Wednesday afternoon. The Senate’s substitute version of HB 6 makes a number of improvements to the House-passed bill, including some that were suggested by the OMA.

Most notably, the Senate version installs guardrails around the bailout payments to ensure ratepayer funds are actually needed to maintain power plant operations. For example, unlike House language that authorized an audit only of the “Clean Air Credit” program itself, the Senate bill would require plant owner FirstEnergy Solutions to “promptly and fully” provide “any document, information, data, or other request” from the PUCO or its advisers. Failure to do so would result in suspension of the subsidy.

At this week’s hearing, the OMA provided opponent testimony since the bill would still distort the electricity market in Ohio, and would continue to subject manufacturers to new costs — known and unknown — without providing offsetting benefits. The Senate committee is expected to vote on its version of HB 6 today (June 28) and final passage will likely come Saturday or Sunday.

Look for another update on HB 6 in the July 2 edition of OMA’s Leadership Briefing. 6/27/2019