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FirstEnergy Solutions Wants Supreme Court To Stop Nuclear Bailout Referendum Attempt

Ohio Judicial Center
Dan Konik
Ohio Judicial Center

FirstEnergy Solutions, the owner of Ohio's two nuclear plants, is asking the Ohio Supreme Court to stop a potential referendum on next year's ballot. That initiative would hold a referendum on HB6 which bails out FirstEnergy Solutions' two nuclear power plants.

Under HB6, most Ohioans would see increased charges on their electric bills which would bail out nuclear through $150 million a year in subsidies. The law also creates subsidies for coal and solar farms while rolling back renewable energy requirements for utilities.

The legal challenge from FirstEnergy Solutions argues that those increased charges should be considered tax increases, which cannot be challenged by a referendum. 

An Ohio State University energy economics professor disagrees with that argument. He says, if the additional charge on electric bills qualifies as a tax increase, then state utility regulators have been illegally creating new taxes for years.

Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts is trying to gather enough signatures to put the referendum on the November 2020 ballot. They must turn in 265,774 valid signatures by October 21.

Copyright 2019 The Statehouse News Bureau

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.