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First Energy presses lawmakers for new customer-paid subsidies for nuclear reactors

FirstEnergy nuclear charges crucial to operating or selling Davis-Besse, Perry, says CEO, Cleveland.com 28 July 17 , By John Funk, The Plain Dealer, AKRON — FirstEnergy’s top executive says the company will continue to press Ohio lawmakers for new customer-paid subsidies for its nuclear power plants even though it may not own them in the future……

 Chuck Jones, president and CEO, also revealed that FirstEnergy is preparing to talk to creditors of its subsidiary, FirstEnergy Solutions, the company that owns the corporation’s old, uncompetitive power plants, which have been losing money.

FirstEnergy Solutions’ debt and the declining value of its power plants has made it a potential liability as it negotiates with its creditors amidst rumors of an eventual bankruptcy, and FirstEnergy has tried to distance itself from the subsidiary……

As for the special, customer-paid charges to help Davis-Besse, Perry and Beaver Valley, Pa., nuclear power plants, Jones said he doubted anybody could operate them without special subsidies. The problem is that they cannot compete with gas turbine plants and, at times, with wind power.

“I’m not sure [they] will run unless there is something done either federally or by the state of Ohio to ensure they get a different financial return model,” Jones said.

The company previously said the nuclear charges would increase customer bills by about 5 percent. Subject to periodic review by state regulators, the charges would run for 17 years.

Selling the nuclear plants is part of the company’s overall plan “to exit the commodity-exposed generation business,” Jones said. In other words, if the company cannot have its power prices set by a state utility commission, it does not want to be in the generating business. ……

Jones also made it clear during the conference that FirstEnergy’s campaign to persuade Ohio lawmakers to approve a nuclear plant subsidy would continue no matter what the U.S. Department of Energy recommends.

The Trump administration in April asked the DOE to figure out whether wind, solar and natural gas power plants are forcing the premature retirement of very large old coal and nuclear power plants, and whether those closings might de-stabilize the nation’s high-voltage power grid……. http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2017/07/firstenergy_nuclear_charges_cr.html

 

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July 29, 2017 - Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA

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