Watchdog Report: How your electric bill will support FirstEnergy - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Watchdog Report: How your electric bill will support FirstEnergy nuclear plants

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

A new charge will be added to your electric bill starting in 2021. 

Ohio House lawmakers voted to approve a bill Tuesday that critics say is a bailout for FirstEnergy Solutions' two northern Ohio nuclear power plants.

Governor Mike Dewine signed House Bill 6 into law. 

Every customer will pay 85 cents a month starting in 2021. That money funnels $150 million a year into a fund that FirstEnergy Solutions will use to support its plants near Toledo and outside of Cleveland. 

The company filed for bankruptcy claiming it needed the state's help, but not everyone was sold.

"We're favoring and rewarding a few big businesses at the expense of ratepayers and the expense of our future," Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan, 58th district (D-OH).

Lepore-Hagan voted no on the bill, because of the rollback of renewable energy standards. The bill wiped out the percentage that utilities were required to pay when making any new investments. Under the Strickland administration, Lepore-Hagan says that percentage was even higher at 25 percent.

She says the Valley needs to have access to new energy projects to reinvent itself.

"We need to look at new technology and new jobs," she said. "The whole market in new investments in wind and solar is just cut out for us right now; we are just supporting it in the state, which is sickening."

Ohio Senator Sean O'Brien, who is in favor of the state investing in natural gas, says he never got to see FirstEnergy's books and questions why the company did not provide all lawmakers with financial records. 

Another local lawmaker echoed the same concerns.

"Their figures, they haven't been truthful in their presentation from the beginning," Rep. Mike O'Brien said, 64th District (D-OH).

On the other side of the aisle, Rep. Don Manning says House Bill 6 is a money saver, by removing the renewable energy fee before it goes up.

"It takes away those subsidies. Right now, on everybody's electric bill, those two fees are about $4.68, and if we do nothing with it, they're going to double the next year and go to $9 on everybody's electric bill," said Manning, 59th District (R-OH).

The president of Clean Energy Future out of Lordstown opposes the bill telling 21 News it's terrible for natural gas and electric plants.

Proponents also argue the bill will protect jobs in an aging industry.

The political battle isn't over yet. Supporters of the natural gas industry are vowing to overturn this legislation at the ballot box next year with a statewide referendum. 

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