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Lawmakers Change Nuclear Energy Bailout To Phase In Rate Increases

The Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station on Lake Erie.
Ron Schwane
Associated Press
The Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station on Lake Erie is scheduled to shut down in 2020.

Republican lawmakers want to delay most fee increases under the Ohio House energy bill, which would ultimately change the rates on everyone’s electric bills. The measure seeks to bail out the state’s struggling nuclear plants while repealing Ohio’s green energy standards.

The legislation originally proposed charging residential ratepayers $2.50 on their monthly electric bill to support subsidies for two nuclear plants. It would also wipe out charges incurred through renewable and energy efficiency standards.

Opponents argue the measure would increase electric bills and only benefits FirstEnergy Solutions, which is likely to close its nuclear plants if the legislation isn't approved.

The revised language, proposed in a subcommittee, would phase in the rate increases instead. It would charge ratepayers 50 cents for the first year, continue the energy efficiency costs until the end of 2020, then raise that rate to $2.50 in 2021. And there would be a review to determine if those surcharges are still needed after 10 years.

The bill with the recommended changes could get a vote in a House committee later this month.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.