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Uncertainty for Davis-Besse nuclear power plant as Ohio AG files suit

An aerial view of the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in Oak Harbor, OH.
An aerial view of the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in Oak Harbor, OH.(Todd Gaertner | WTVG)
Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 6:05 PM EDT
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OAK HARBOR, Ohio (WTVG) - There is growing uncertainty surrounding the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant in Oak Harbor after the Ohio Attorney General filed a lawsuit against its former and current parent companies Wednesday.

This all stems from a major corruption scandal tied to keeping the plant operational.

Attorney General Dave Yost says he hopes the plant will stay open but also says the rate payers of Ohio need to know the money they’re paying in that electric bill is going to legitimate sources.

Davis-Besse is still up and running in part because of House Bill 6. That bill approved a rate increase, essentially a bail out of First Energy’s nuclear operation.

Federal prosecutors have charged now former Ohio Speaker of the House Larry Householder and others with corruption in bringing that bill into law.

“My role as the chief law officer of Ohio is to restrain the enjoyment of these ill gotten gains that are the fruit of corruption,” said Yost.

Yost’s civil lawsuit is trying to stop those rate increase dollars from going to companies connected to the corruption charges. That includes Davis-Besse’s parent company Energy Harbor.

“The General Assembly is going to direct what’s going to happen to that money. And one way or another this is going to have an impact,” said Yost.

What does that mean to Davis-Besse’s future and the roughly 700 jobs without those dollars?

“I’m deeply concerned about that. Ohio needs those jobs, those well-paying jobs,” said Yost. “I certainly hope those plants don’t close down” said Yost.

A spokesman for Energy Harbor, says the company would not respond to pending litigation.

That extra charge on your energy bill will still take effect in January, unless the legislature changes the law before October 1st.

If the court action prevents the money from being distributed, we are told it will sit in the state treasury if a new plan isn’t worked out.

FULL STATEMENT FROM FIRST ENERGY:

While, as a matter of policy, we do not comment on pending litigation, our CEO Chuck Jones said during a recent earnings call that he believes FirstEnergy acted properly in this matter and intends to ensure our Company and our role in supporting HB 6 is understood as accurately as possible.

Ethical behavior and upholding the highest standards of conduct are foundational values for the entire FirstEnergy family. We strive to apply these standards in all business dealings, including our participation in the political process.

It’s important to understand that both of the nuclear power plants in Ohio supported by HB 6 are owned and operated by Energy Harbor, a former subsidiary of FirstEnergy known at the time as FirstEnergy Solutions (FES.) FirstEnergy leadership has not had any decision-making power regarding the strategic direction of FES since November 2016, and FirstEnergy and Energy Harbor are now separate, unaffiliated companies. Additionally, FirstEnergy does not receive any revenues from the operation of these nuclear plants nor any of the nuclear funding provided through HB 6.

Copyright 2020 WTVG. All rights reserved.

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