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Politics

Ohio Energy Companies Fight To Keep Ratepayer Subsidies For Coal Plants

Kyger Creek OVEC coal plant in Gallia County
Kyger Creek OVEC coal plant in Gallia County

Leaders from Ohio's largest energy companies made their argument to state lawmakers why electric company ratepayers should have to continue to send hundreds of millions of dollars to coal plants.

Ratepayers are charged up to $1.50 on their monthly bills to help two coal plants owned by the Ohio Valley Electric Corporation, or OVEC. 

A Senate bill would repeal the coal subsidies guaranteed by HB6, the 2019 energy law now caught in the center of the largest alleged public corruption scandal in Ohio history. 

But Amy Spiller with Duke Energy, part-owner of the coal plants, said it's not a subsidy but a cost recovery mechanism. 

"In many respects is like an insurance policy to mitigate or offset the risk of unknown, unpredictable, unexpected costs," Spiller told the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee.

Spiller said the two coal plants operate under unique circumstances since they are owned by a group of energy companies which also includes, AEP and AES Ohio, formerly Dayton Power and Light. FirstEnergy is currently trying to detach itself from the corporation.

Critics of OVEC argue the plants don't compete well in the market place and they shouldn't be propped up by ratepayers.

Lawmakers have already repealed other portions of HB6, which federal investigators say was passed in 2019 through an alleged bribery scheme.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.