Columbus, OH -- Today, the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund announced a statewide ad buy calling on members of the Ohio General Assembly to reject two proposals that would grant subsidies for power plants in Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania.
House Bill 239 (Smith, R., Carfagna) and Senate Bill 155 (Terhar, Peterson) would allow three of Ohio’s electric utilities to stick Ohio families with the bill for two jointly-owned coal-fired power plants. Similarly, House Bill 178 (DeVitis)/Senate Bill 128 (Ecklund, LaRose) proposes rate hikes for FirstEnergy customers in order to support three nuclear power plants owned by the utilities. Both sets of legislation would mean Ohio customers’ paying for plants located in the state and out of state.
The ads will begin running on television starting October 9th across Ohio, with an additional statewide digital buy.
The proposals create a surcharge on Ohio customers’ electric bills to subsidize two 62-year old coal fired power plants - Kyger Creek Power Station in Cheshire, Ohio and the Clifty Creek power plant in Madison, Indiana. In addition, three nuclear power plants owned by FirstEnergy Solutions - the Davis–Besse Nuclear Power Station in Oak Harbor, Ohio, the Perry Nuclear Generating Station in North Perry, Ohio, and the Beaver Valley Power Station in Hookstown, Pennsylvania will receive subsidies.
“With an abundance of renewable energy opportunity in Ohio that is cheaper, cleaner and less risky, why would my elected officials in Ohio agree to hardworking Ohioans’ money going to plants that are old and expensive?” said Trish Demeter, Vice President of Policy with the OEC Action Fund. “And the fact that some of these plants aren’t even in Ohio doesn’t make sense. Ohio customers want more clean energy options, and they want the jobs and environmental benefits to be reaped here in our home state.”
The surcharge for the coal plants would apply to customers of AEP-Ohio, Duke Energy, and Dayton Power & Light until the year 2030. The charge for the nuclear plants would apply to customers of FirstEnergy companies (Cleveland Electric Illuminating, Toledo Edison, and Ohio Edison) for an indefinite amount of time. Both residential customers and business owners could be on the hook for higher electric bills under this proposed legislation.
“These bills are unfair for sending Ohio families’ and small business owners’ hard-earned money to fund poor business decisions made by corporate utilities running power plants in other states,” said OEC Action Fund Director, Aryeh Alex. “The same lawmakers who reject Ohio’s successful clean energy standards on the basis of the ‘free market’ want to give failing power plants a guaranteed subsidy. These rate-payer funded subsidies distort trends in the market that would otherwise push electric utilities to cleaner, more efficient generation options.”
In addition to costs associated with providing subsidies for the coal plants, the dangers to public health are inherent. Every year, the included coal plants produce thousands of tons of coal ash, mercury, smog-forming pollutants and carbon dioxide, as well as other pollutants. The plants also produce noxious toxins like hydrochloric and sulfuric acid, which can cause numerous health problems for people living nearby.