FirstEnergy Corp. was at one time one of the biggest supporters of a bill to deregulate Ohio’s energy industry, creating an environment where a competitive open market set the prices.
Now, after a failed business bet on coal and nuclear power, it wants to reregulate the energy industry because with State-set price controls, power plants are guaranteed a profit.
It’s an initiative that’s more about preserving their bottom line than ensuring a stable future for Ohioans. Here’s what we all need to know:
- Back in 2008, when FirstEnergy supported – and was one of the biggest proponents of – deregulation, it did so on a bet that coal and nuclear power prices would remain stable. They haven’t. And, as a result, FirstEnergy lost money.
- Now, FirstEnergy’s plan to reregulate the energy industry (something that’s never been done before) is centered on customers paying the full cost from two of its coal and nuclear plants…even if other power sources like natural gas, for example, would be cheaper for consumers.
- It’s (mostly) all about the money. Currently, FirstEnergy’s operating costs are higher than the wholesale price of power. The company’s reregulation plan would shift its financial burden onto customers, possibly costing ratepayers an extra $3 billion, according to the Ohio Consumers Counsel and the Northeast Ohio Public Utilities Council.
FirstEnergy’s action to reregulate Ohio’s energy industry isn’t about protecting Ohioans, like they’d have you believe. It’s about a last-ditch effort to preserve their failed business model.
Rather than seeing the writing on the wall as a catalyst for smart change – i.e., investing in more renewable energy – they’re running to the legislature to try and preserve an environmentally irresponsible (and soon-to-be obsolete) fossil fuel industry.
Ohioans shouldn’t have to pay the price for FirstEnergy’s business mistakes. Our State needs its current energy policy, which supports the interests of Ohio businesses and consumers. We need to continue to diversify our sources of energy, increase renewables, and use energy more efficiently.