Ohio Regulators Rubberstamp FirstEnergy Bailout, Opponents will Challenge

EDF statement from Dick Munson, Director, Midwest Clean Energy

August 16, 2017
Catherine Ittner, (512) 691-3458, cittner@edf.org

(COLUMBUS – August 16, 2017) The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) today gave final approval to its plan to provide FirstEnergy with more than $600 million in subsidies. Environmental Defense Fund and others will now challenge the bailout at the Ohio Supreme Court. FirstEnergy began collecting the non-refundable fees on January 1, 2017, even though the PUCO had yet to release a final decision until today. The PUCO suggests the money from the higher electricity rates will reduce the utility’s debts and improve its credit rating. State legislators recently rejected this justification when they eliminated a measure that would have let utilities bolster their credit ratings through higher electricity rates.

“Ohioans have already paid some $80 million this year in subsidies to FirstEnergy and, since the state’s rubber-stamp regulators continue to ignore their responsibility to protect customers, that number is set to go up. Last year, federal regulators came to the rescue and overturned Ohio bailouts that would have propped up FirstEnergy’s old coal and nuclear plants. We are confident the Ohio Supreme Court will do the same and reject the regulators’ latest giveaway to dirty energy.”

# # #

Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org), a leading international nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law, and innovative private-sector partnerships. Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and our Energy Exchange blog.