The Journal Gazette
Friday, January 15, 2021 1:00 am

Ohio moves to stop FirstEnergy from collecting bailout bill fees

Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio's top lawyer asked a court Thursday to block FirstEnergy Corp. from collecting special fees from customers that were set up under a now-tainted nuclear bailout bill to allow the company to maintain record-high profits even if electricity sales dip.

Republican Attorney General Dave Yost filed his request in Franklin County Common Pleas Court, where a judge already has blocked fees that House Bill 6 established for bailing out two nuclear power plants operated by a former FirstEnergy subsidiary, Energy Harbor.

The bill is at the center of a $60 million federal bribery probe that alleges Larry Householder, the state House speaker at the time, used the money to politically position and succeed at passing the bailout bill. Householder and four others charged have pleaded not guilty.

Yost said customers also should not have to pay the $102 million that FirstEnergy is set to collect in 2021 through a “perverse form a decoupling” that not only unlinked how much the company makes from how much electricity it sells but guaranteed it maintain the level of profits at record 2018 levels.

“It's time for the court to shut the HB6 piggybank down,” Yost said in a statement.

FirstEnergy spokesperson Jennifer Young said the company is reviewing Yost's filing and had no comment.

Executives have argued the so-called rider that establishes the fees provides stability and certainty, and is important to customers and markets.

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