Should NFIB support legislation that will repeal the new charges on electric bills recently put in place by the Ohio Legislature, with the passage of House Bill 6?
After reading the background, proponent, and opponent views, please cast your vote!
Background: The passage of House Bill 6 (HB 6), implemented increased charges to electric customers across Ohio estimated to be over $2 billion. The charges will provide up to $1.3 billion to Ohio’s two nuclear power plants, $140 million for large solar projects, $444 million toward utilities companies’ with ownership stakes in the Ohio Valley Electric Corporation (OVEC) coal plants, and $355 million in decoupling (guaranteed) revenues to eligible utilities. HB 6 also lowered the annual renewable benchmarks on electric companies, eliminating those standards in 2027, and lowered the annual energy efficiency savings benchmark targets. These last two provisions will likely reduce customer utility charges. House Bill 772 was recently introduced to repeal the new charges, refund any customer payments made as result of HB 6, and maintain the elimination/reduction of renewable and energy efficiency mandates.
Proponents of the repeal indicate HB 6 provided for an unfair subsidy paid for by all electric customers which provided over $2 billion in additional revenue to Ohio’s two nuclear power plants, two legacy coal-fired plants (OVEC), one of which is in Indiana, large scale solar projects, and guaranteed revenue to some electric distribution utilities. They note one justification for the nuclear subsidies was to prevent closures due to unprofitability; however, soon after HB 6 was enacted the company of the two nuclear plants authorized an $800 million stock buyback. Proponents indicate most of these charges are mandatory and saddle customers with bailing out entities that claim to be unable to compete in a deregulated energy market. Proponents indicate removing all HB 6 subsidies and guaranteed payments, not reinstituting energy efficiency and renewable portfolio standards, and refunding of any paid customer charges, will save ratepayers $2.93 billion through 2030. Proponents further note customers are embracing renewal and energy efficiency programs and products, contributing to a diverse energy portfolio, and will continue to do so without mandated benchmarks.
Opponents of the repeal argue the provisions in HB 6 ensured Ohio maintains a diverse energy portfolio by preventing the closure of nuclear power plants which supply a portion of Ohio’s in-state generation. Opponents indicate the nuclear plants account for the majority of zero-carbon energy produced in the state. Opponents assert investor-owned utilities should be able to continue to recover legacy costs associated with the two coal plants that were built decades ago, at that time, for the furtherance of national security. They note the provisions of HB 6 will maintain direct and indirect jobs for over 4,000 individuals and continue to provide significant tax revenue to local school districts and governments as well as the state. Opponents say the bill will jumpstart utility-scale solar energy production here in Ohio and these projects could generate enough electricity to power nearly a million homes. Opponents’ goal with HB 6 is to expand Ohio’s portfolio of energy production, support local jobs, and support local manufacturing supply chains. Finally, they indicate the elimination of the energy efficiency and renewable portfolio mandates will offset the new charges in HB 6 and could result in overall reduced customer utility bills.