The Ohio Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit to block a statewide vote aimed at overturning the $1.5 billion rescue package for Ohio’s nuclear plants (Davis-Besse & Perry) and two of its coal-fired plants. FirstEnergy Solutions, owner and operator of these plants, had argued that the financial rescue approved by state lawmakers was a tax, and the Ohio constitution prohibits tax levies from being overturned by voters.
The struggle continues, because whether a vote will be allowed is still unclear. The necessary signatures needed (265,774) were not obtained by the October deadline – nearly 45,000 signatures short. So, Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts sued for additional time to collect the signatures and they are still waiting on the court’s ruling. Their argument was that by the time the Ohio Attorney General, Dave Yost, approved the group’s second draft, 38 days had passed, giving the group only 52 days to collect these signatures. That’s why their lawyers said they had the right to more time. However, the Attorney General’s office said that this is the same process every referendum effort has faced for more than 80 years.
Recall, that Ohio lawmakers passed HB 6 (House Bill 6) a subsidy bill that will require Ohio residential customers to pay a monthly surcharge of 85¢, with industrial plants paying up to $2,400/month – beginning the 1st quarter of 2021. This subsidy will be divided between FirstEnergy Solutions two Ohio nuclear plants, various Ohio solar projects, and the Ohio Valley Electric Corporation (OVEC).