Explaining HB 6, Ohio’s Clean Air Program

Critics call HB 6 a bailout of FirstEnergy Solutions nuclear power plants
Updated: May. 17, 2019 at 4:22 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -A controversial piece of legislation is being hammered out in Columbus that would fundamentally change Ohio’s clean energy programs.

House Bill 6 (HB 6), sponsored by Republicans Jamie Callender and Shane Wilkin, would create the Ohio Clean Air Program.

If passed, it would give subsidies to energy companies that produce electricity with zero, or low, carbon dioxide emissions.

The subsidies would come from the Ohio Clean Air Fund, built with new charges on your utility bill.

The new monthly charges breakdown to:

  • $2.50 residential customers
  • $20 commercial customers
  • $250 industrial customers
  • $2,500 industrial customers (using 45 million kilowatt hours or more)

With the new charges it’s estimated the fund would collect $300 million a year.

That pot is then up for grabs by energy producers who can show they produce little, to no emissions.

Instantly, this gives an advantage to nuclear power plants over traditional coal or natural gas facilities.

This is where critics see the plan as a bailout for FirstEnergy Solutions (FES) which operates Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear power plants.

Both plants are in dire financial situations, because other plants around the state that burn cheap natural gas are able to produce electricity at much lower rates.

In order to sell the plan, the legislation does away with the Green Energy mandate on your utility bill that you’ve been paying for about a decade.

Most Ohioans will actually save money by getting rid of the $4.39 charge, and substituting it with the new $2.50 Ohio Clean Air charge.

The Buckeye Institute, an independent think tank that focuses on advancing free-market public policy in the states, has been a vocal critic of HB 6 from the beginning.

“The Buckeye Institute opposes any taxpayer subsidies irrespective of who benefits from being handed taxpayer dollars to support their business, and we are consistent on this point,” Tyler Shankel with the Buckeye Institute said. “Clearly stated, subsidies are bad policy.”

We have reached out to Rep. Callender about claims the bill is a bailout of FES, and critics of subsidies and are waiting for a response.

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