A week after the arrest of Speaker Householder on federal bribery allegations surrounding enactment of House Bill 6, Sens. Stephanie Kunze and Sean O’Brien introduced a bill to repeal the controversial energy law, SB 346. Reps. Michael O’Brien and Michael Skindell also have introduced a bill, HB 738, to repeal HB 6. Both of these bills would return Ohio law to exactly where it was before the passage of HB 6 last July.
Reps. Mark Romanchuk and Laura Lanese held a press conference last week to announce their plans to introduce a similar bill that would also undo HB 6. As of yet, that bill has not been formerly introduced.
While the primary goal of HB 6 was to preserve the nuclear plants, lawmakers also wanted to be able to do so without forcing ratepayers’ bills to rise. To offset the new charges, HB 6 made significant changes to the state’s existing renewable and energy efficiency mandates, resulting in projected net reductions for ratepayers. HB 6 also provided financial assistance to three Ohio utilities that co-own two coal-fired power plants run by the Ohio Valley Electric Corporation (OVEC).
With the potential repeal of HB 6, there are many questions as to what will happen to Ohio’s Davis Besse and Perry nuclear plants. If HB 6 had not passed, the two power plants would have been deactivated and permanently ceased operations on June 1, 2020 and June 1, 2021, respectively.
It is unclear when or how quickly the legislature might consider these bills given the original House schedule did not have them returning until September.