Fighting effects of Ohio House Bill 6
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost continues to fight the damaging effects of House Bill 6, which is at the center of a $60 million federal bribery investigation, and was intended to bail out FirstEnergy Corp. subsidiary Energy Harbor.
This time he has asked the Franklin County Common Pleas Court to block FirstEnergy from collecting special fees from customers — which were established as part of the effort to shore up Energy Harbor’s two nuclear power plants — even if energy prices fall. Yost correctly asserts customers should not have to pay the $102 million the company would collect this year because of a “perverse” form of decoupling, which unlinked how much the company makes from how much electricity it sells, and guaranteed it would maintain a record-high level of profit.
“First we had to stop the collection of the fee created to line the pockets of Energy Harbor and now we are trying to stop the guaranteed profits for FirstEnergy and inappropriate rate increases to Ohioans,” Yost said. “It’s time for the court to shut the HB6 piggybank down.”
Particularly if a federal investigation confirms accusations that former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and four others were part of a scheme to get HB6 passed, “piggybank” may not be a strong enough word, as most piggybanks are filled through non-criminal means.
FirstEnergy executives have argued they need the fees to provide stability and certainty — for the sake of their customers and the markets, they claim. As Yost understands quite well, a company that must be held up through bribery and multiple extra reaches into customers’ pockets is not doing either those customers or the markets any favors. The fight against this bailout and others like it must continue.