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More about dirty nuclear tricks in Ohio

In disgusting turn, shareholders reap the profits from ratepayer payouts intended to keep Ohio’s nuclear plants afloat May 22, 2020   By Editorial Board, cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer

So much for the cries of doom and gloom over the future of the two Ohio nuclear plants FirstEnergy Corp. built and that an affiliated company operated.

To keep open the Perry nuclear power plant east of Cleveland and the Davis-Besse plant near Toledo, Ohio’s electricity customers are about to start paying an extra $150 million a year in subsidies. That comes courtesy of the Ohio General Assembly and Gov. Mike DeWine via House Bill 6, a bill they rushed into law last summer.

Akron-based FirstEnergy Solutions, which then owned the two plants, had argued (through an army of Statehouse lobbyists) that, without the nuclear subsidy, it would be forced to close the two plants.

In February, Solutions emerged from bankruptcy and became an independent (and solvent) firm, Energy Harbor Corp., also based in Akron.

It now appears the biggest beneficiaries of the deal will be Energy Harbor stock investors.

Energy Harbor’s board voted last week to boost stock buybacks by $300 million, from $500 million to $800 million, cleveland.com’s Andrew J. Tobias reports. When a company buys back its own stock, that cuts the number of available shares, which can boost their prices, benefiting shareholders.

And where did that extra $300 million come from? Could it be on the expectation of the impending subsidy from Ohioans on their electricity bills? It’s fair to ask whether Perry and Davis-Besse were ever in real jeopardy of closing, or was it all a shell game to shore up the company’s finances?

That’s House Bill 6: Socializing losses and privatizing profits, although the bill’s Statehouse backers said otherwise. HB 6, quarterbacked by House Speaker Larry Householder, was absolutely, positively all for a good cause, the speaker assured Ohioans — promoting clean air and, by the way, saving nuclear power plant workers’ jobs.

Nuclear plants don’t emit greenhouse gases, which stoke global warming. But HB 6 wasn’t fully a clean air act. Besides subsidizing Perry and Davis-Besse and providing $20 million annually to six solar power projects in Ohio, HB 6 also underwrote two coal-fired power plants (one in Indiana). Coal plants hardly promote clean air. And the bill zeroed out the state’s renewable energy mandates and reduced its energy-efficiency ones.

But, as Oscar Wilde said, consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative. And when it comes to lining the pockets of electric utilities, our legislature isn’t merely imaginative; it’s shameless.

Energy Harbor now owns Perry and Davis-Besse and a share of the coal plants. And while Energy Harbor stock isn’t publicly traded, it’s available through brokers……..

Given the gravy HB 6 will sluice, no wonder pals of HB 6 threw everything they could dream up – including a ridiculous “Chinese conspiracy” – to sidetrack people trying to get HB 6 on the statewide ballot so Ohioans could vote the bill up or down. The friends of HB 6 succeeded, disgracefully, in blocking a statewide vote. The message they sent to Ohioans: Shut up – and pay up. Given the gravy HB 6 will sluice, no wonder pals of HB 6 threw everything they could dream up – including a ridiculous “Chinese conspiracy” – to sidetrack people trying to get HB 6 on the statewide ballot so Ohioans could vote the bill up or down. The friends of HB 6 succeeded, disgracefully, in blocking a statewide vote. The message they sent to Ohioans: Shut up – and pay up. https://www.cleveland.com/opinion/2020/05/in-disgusting-turn-shareholders-reap-the-profits-from-ratepayer-payouts-intended-to-keep-ohios-nuclear-plants-afloat.html

May 22, 2020 - Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA

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