Lawmakers in the Ohio House continue to debate a bill that would bail out the state’s two financially struggling nuclear power plants. Earlier this week, some Democrats walked out of a committee hearing, saying their concerns were not being heard.
Speaker Larry Householder says he talked to Democrats and the Republican committee chair overseeing the hearing. Householder says they all came to an agreement that would allow the process to move forward, but he says it’s taking some time to come to agreement on the legislation.
“I think in a perfect world, we would probably be looking at some type of a vote next week, but this is not a perfect world, so we are going to do everything we can to discuss and make changes to the bill as they come along and see where we end up," Householder says.
Democrats on the committee say they need more assurances that the changes being made will not hurt air quality or do away with clean energy.
The energy bill would phase in the rate increases to help FirstEnergy Solutions to subsidize nuclear power among other non-carbon emitting power generators.
Earlier this month, lawmakers amended the bill to phase-in rate increases. Ratepayers would see a 50 cent increase for the first year.
The energy efficiency costs would continue until the end of 2020, then raise that rate to $2.50 in 2021. Then there would be a review to determine if those surcharges are still needed after 10 years.
FirstEnergy gave more than $150,000 to House Republicans in 2018 leading up to the November election, but Householder denies a connection between the bill and FirstEnergy’s political support