OH Law Would Bailout Nuke Plants for $5.4B, Kill NatGas Plants

In January, MDN highlighted a developing issue in Ohio that potentially impacts Utica/Marcellus shale in the region (see OH Power Cos. Try to Stop Gas-Fired Plants with “Re-Regulation”). Three large utility companies–FirstEnergy, American Electric Power, and Dayton Power and Light–are behind an effort to re-regulate the electric power generation industry in Ohio. The electricity industry is a complicated industry, with some some power producers operating as “regulated” and some operating as “unregulated.” Regulated power producers have their rates, and rate of profit, set by government regulators–which limits but also guarantees profits. Unregulated power producers, on the other hand, do not have the safety net of the government forcing ratepayers to pony up–they operate in the free market, taking all of the risks, and reaping the rewards if those risks prove worthwhile. Many (most?) of the new natural gas-fired electric plants getting built, like those we have focused on in Ohio, are of the unregulated kind. If Ohio rolls back the clock 18 years to re-regulate, it would likely spell the end of billions of dollars of investments in unregulated/shale-powered electric plants. A disaster. The latest tact companies like FirstEnergy are using to force through a rotten piece of legislation is to claim without it, their nuclear power plants will close down. And precious “diversity” of sources to generate electricity is needed. The legislation proposed (Senate Bill 128 and House Bill 178, same language) is actually a $5.4 billion bailout for FirstEnergy. So says Clean Energy Future CEO Bill Siderwicz. Clean Energy is in the middle of investing $4.5 billion in five new shale-fired electric plants in Ohio. That investment and those plants will disappear if this disastrous “bailout FirstEnergy” bill becomes law…

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