Pennsylvania closer to joining multistate cap-and-trade initiative

September 7, 2021, 7:01AMNuclear News
Energy Harbor’s Beaver Valley nuclear plant in Shippingport, Pa.

In an action that could make Pennsylvania’s nuclear plants more cost-competitive in power markets, the state’s Independent Regulatory Review Commission has approved a regulation that would allow Pennsylvania to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cooperative effort of Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states designed to cap and reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuel–fired power plants.

NRC launches special inspection at Davis-Besse

July 29, 2021, 6:59AMNuclear News
The Davis-Besse nuclear power plant. (Photo: Nuclear Regulatory Commission)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Tuesday announced that it has begun a special inspection at Energy Harbor’s Davis-Besse nuclear plant. The inspection will focus on two separate issues: multiple diesel generator failures during testing and maintenance, and a complicated reactor trip on July 8.

FirstEnergy charged with fraud, agrees to $230 million fine

July 23, 2021, 7:12AMNuclear News
Davis-Besse nuclear power station, which is operated by EnergyHarbor. (Photo: U.S. NRC)

Akron, Ohio-based FirstEnergy Corporation has been charged with wire fraud and will pay a $230 million monetary penalty over its role in a $61-million corruption and racketeering scheme to secure state subsidies for Ohio’s nuclear power plants, Davis-Besse and Perry.

Ohio bill repealing nuclear subsidies signed by governor

March 31, 2021, 12:03PMNuclear News

The final nail in the coffin of Ohio’s nuclear subsidies occurred on March 31 when Gov. Mike DeWine signed H.B. 128, a bill passed unanimously by the state’s Senate last Thursday.

Approved 86-7 by the Ohio House on March 10, H.B. 128 strips the nuclear subsidy provisions from H.B. 6, the controversial and, since last July, scandal-scarred piece of legislation signed into law in 2019 to aid Ohio’s economically challenged nuclear facilities, Davis-Besse and Perry.

H.B. 128 also removes the earlier bill’s “decoupling” provision, which would have been of substantial financial benefit to FirstEnergy Corporation, the former parent company of Energy Harbor, owner and operator of Davis-Besse and Perry. The new bill retains H.B. 6’s subsidies for utility-scale solar projects, however, and for two coal plants (one in Ohio, one in Indiana).

H.B. 128 was sponsored by Reps. James Hoops (R., 81st Dist.) and Dick Stein (R., 57th Dist.).

Ohio House passes bill to remove state aid to nuclear plants

March 16, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News

The Ohio House of Representatives has voted to rescind the nuclear subsidy provisions of H.B. 6, the controversial 2019 piece of legislation that has been marinating in scandal since last July. Just one week earlier, a similar measure was passed unanimously in the Ohio Senate.

Approved by a tally of 86-7 on March 10, H.B. 128 strips H.B. 6 of subsidies for Energy Harbor’s Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear plants, as well as a “decoupling” provision that would have been of substantial financial benefit to FirstEnergy Corporation, the former parent company of Energy Harbor. The new bill retains H.B. 6’s subsidies for utility-scale solar projects, however, and for two coal plants (one in Ohio, one in Indiana).

H.B. 128 was sponsored by Reps. James Hoops (R., Dist. 81) and Dick Stein (R., Dist. 57).

Ohio Senate votes to repeal nuclear plant subsidies

March 5, 2021, 6:59AMNuclear News

After months of unsuccessful efforts by Ohio lawmakers to contend with the fallout from H.B. 6—the now-infamous nuclear subsidies bill signed into law in 2019—the state’s senate on March 3 passed a measure, S.B. 44, to repeal those subsidies. The vote was 32–0.

For those who may need reminding, federal prosecutors on July 21, 2020, arrested Larry Householder, then speaker of the Ohio House, and four lobbyists and political consultants for their involvement in an alleged $61 million corruption and racketeering scheme aimed at guaranteeing passage of H.B. 6, whose subsidies had kept Ohio’s Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear power plants from premature closure.

H.B. 6 established a seven-year program to charge the state’s electricity consumers fees to support payments of about $150 million annually to the plants’ operator, Energy Harbor Corporation, then known as FirstEnergy Solutions (FES). FES had announced in March 2018 that it would be forced to close Davis-Besse and Perry without some form of support from the state. (The payments to Energy Harbor were blocked last December by an Ohio Supreme Court injunction, which complemented an earlier lower court ruling.)

Energy Harbor may decline Ohio plant subsidies

February 9, 2021, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The Associated Press is reporting that Energy Harbor (formerly FirstEnergy Solutions), owner of the Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear plants, may decline the subsidies provided for those facilities by HB6—the scandal-tainted Ohio bill that was signed into law in 2019. (In late December of last year, the Ohio Supreme Court issued a temporary stay to stop collection of the HB6-mandated fee from Ohio ratepayers that was set to begin January 1.)

Judge halts Energy Harbor nuclear subsidies

December 23, 2020, 9:32AMNuclear News

An Ohio court has granted a preliminary injunction that blocks Energy Harbor from receiving the “nuclear generation fund” payments that were set to begin January 1 as part of H.B. 6—the scandal-tainted legislation at the center of an alleged multi-million dollar racketeering and corruption scheme aimed at guaranteeing its passage.

Signed into law by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine in July 2019, H.B. 6 established a seven-year program to charge the state’s electricity consumers fees to support payments of about $150 million annually to Energy Harbor, which had announced in March of the previous year that it would be forced to close the financially strapped Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear plants without some form of support from the state.

Fallout from Ohio’s H.B. 6 scandal reaches FirstEnergy C suite

November 3, 2020, 9:28AMNuclear News

Chuck Jones, former FirstEnergy CEO

Akron, Ohio-based FirstEnergy Corporation—former parent of Energy Harbor, the owner of Ohio’s Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear plants—announced on October 29 that it has fired its chief executive officer, Charles “Chuck” Jones, as well as its senior vice president of product development, marketing, and branding and its senior vice president of external affairs.

The actions, according to FirstEnergy, were prompted by an internal company review undertaken in response to the scandal surrounding H.B. 6—the now infamous legislation signed into law last year by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine that includes subsidies for Davis-Besse and Perry and that is at the heart of an alleged multi-million dollar racketeering and corruption scheme aimed at guaranteeing its passage.

In the announcement, FirstEnergy said only that its review “determined that these executives violated certain FirstEnergy policies and its code of conduct.” Replacing Jones is Steven E. Strah, who had been the firm’s president.

Feds arrest Ohio lawmaker who pushed nuclear subsidy bill

July 24, 2020, 7:11AMNuclear News

Householder

Federal prosecutors on July 21 arrested the Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, Larry Householder, and four lobbyists and political consultants for their involvement in an alleged $61-million corruption and racketeering scheme aimed at guaranteeing passage of H.B. 6, the Ohio Clean Air Program Act—the measure that rescued Ohio’s Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear power plants from premature closure. If convicted, Householder et al. face up to 20 years in prison.

FES debuts new name following bankruptcy

March 3, 2020, 11:51AMNuclear News

FirstEnergy Solutions (FES) announced on February 27 that it has emerged from bankruptcy and officially taken the new name Energy Harbor Corporation. Originally the unregulated power generation arm of Akron, Ohio–based FirstEnergy Corporation, Energy Harbor remains headquartered in Akron but is no longer affiliated with FirstEnergy Corporation. The name chosen to represent the newly independent business was announced last November (NN, Jan. 2020, p. 16).