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FirstEnergy Agrees Not To Seek Nuclear Bailout Subsidy

Attorney General Dave Yost speaks at a press conference in 2018.
Karen Kasler
Statehouse News Bureau
Attorney General Dave Yost speaks at a press conference in 2018.

FirstEnergy will be ending its controversial monthly "decoupling" fee, which guarantees a profit for the company. Attorney General Dave Yost says getting rid of decoupling is another step towards dismantling provisions created in the scandal-plagued nuclear bailout law, HB6.

The decoupling provision was created by 2019's sweeping energy bill, HB6, legislation thought to be at the center of a $61 million bribery scheme.

Yost, who’s challenging HB6 through a civil case with several Ohio cities, says decoupling was another example of FirstEnergy getting what it wanted through the alleged scandal.

"We felt that was the fruit of the corrupt enterprise that was outlined in our complaint," Yost says.

Yost's office had filed an injunction against the decoupling charges, added to electric bills through the Conservation Support Rider.

FirstEnergy says seeking an end to this rider is a step toward partial resolution.

"Working to constructively resolve this matter in cooperation with the Ohio Attorney General and other parties is part of decisive actions the Board and management are taking to position FirstEnergy for the future and continue to deliver safe, reliable electric service to our customers. FirstEnergy’s leadership is committed to transparency and integrity in every aspect of its business," FirstEnergy said in a written statement.

Yost says it’s another win for ratepayers. He says the first win was the injunction approved by a Franklin County judge in December that blocked new charges from appearing on all electric bills this year to pay for the nuclear power plant bailout.

A permanent injunction on those charges is still being sought. Meanwhile, federal prosecutors are still mounting a case against defendants in the bribery scheme, including former House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford), who was reelected to the legislature in November.

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.