Time running out for repeal of HB 6
For months, there has been widespread agreement in the Ohio Statehouse that House Bill 6, enacted in 2019, was a bad idea. It authorizes payment of about $1 billion in subsidies to energy companies, including nuclear and solar power interests, over a period of years. Electric customers would cover the cost.
Last summer, Larry Householder, then speaker of the state House of Representatives, was arrested, along with a few associates, by federal agents. They are accused in what authorities say was a $60 million bribery scheme involving HB 6.
Not long after Householder’s downfall, there were calls for HB 6 to be repealed. That has not happened — and we agree with lawmakers who want to ensure there are no repeal side effects that are detrimental to Ohioans.
Still, delays in repealing the law should not be a problem. Legislators can simply delay collection of utility bill surcharges — about $170 million for 2021 — and save Buckeye State consumers the pain of having to pay for a mistake in Columbus.
Seems simple, does it not? Just pass a bill that provides that money cannot be collected from electricity users to pay for the subsidies. Nothing ever is simple in government, however. Though the proposal has been under discussion for some time, lawmakers had been unable by the end of the day Friday to get the bill passed.
Unless it is approved within the next few days, consumers will begin paying unnecessarily higher bills, effective Jan. 1.
Allowing that to happen would be irresponsible on the part of Ohio lawmakers. We suspect most of their constituents would agree with us on the bill in question: Just get it done.