Recent news

Today's traditionally tax day, but not for Big Energy

Apr 15, 2021 12:15 PM

Did you pay more than a penny in income taxes over the last 3 years ?

These corporations didn’t:

Ohio’s investor-owned utilities FirstEnergy, AEP and Duke Energy haven’t paid federal income taxes in years according to a report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a nonprofit, non-partisan think tank. 

A neat trick: FirstEnergy ducks their tax bill while shifting costs onto consumers.
FirstEnergy is still on the hook for its $61 million statehouse corruption scandal to pass House Bill 6 - a $1.3 billion bailout package called the "worst energy policy in the nation." Most of the bailout money was meant to prop up FirstEnergy's two failing nuclear plants, but more than $100 million has gone to subsidize two dirty, Eisenhower-era coal plants partially owned by AEP and Duke. While the companies pleaded for bailouts from Ohio ratepayers, their tax information shows healthy revenue.
FirstEnergy netted almost $3.7 billion before taxes over the past three years, yet it’s allowed to show a loss for tax purposes.
Governor Mike DeWine and lawmakers have quietly repealed $1 billion in nuclear bailout subsidies, but the coal subsidies continue to roll in. The Ohio Consumers’ Counsel says that so far $107 million in coal subsidies have gone to OVEC coal plants since the beginning of 2020. Another $233,000 rolls in EVERY DAY.


Ratepayers pay federal income taxes in addition to state and local taxes — PLUS their electric bills. It's past time for Ohio utilities to pay their fair share of taxes, too.


Some good news for a change

Apr 07, 2021 11:04 AM

Ohio Citizen Action (OCA) has recently hired two new staff members, who will allow us to relaunch our piece of the Power a Clean Future Ohio campaign and revive our field canvass, which has been suspended due to COVID since March 2020.

Michael Todd

Michael Todd joins OCA as Cleveland Field Canvass Director, bringing with him volunteer history with a youth leadership program and the campaigns of Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib and Bernie Sanders. He's also has two years experience organizing and fundraising for Clean Water Action in Michigan.

Tatiana Rodzos

Tatiana Rodzos continues to work with us in a new role as Campaigns Organizer. Tatiana was hired two and a half years ago as a field canvasser and senior field manager. She's also got years of experience volunteering for animal rescue, environmental restoration and recycling groups and has taught English to recent immigrants. 

Restarting our field canvas

We're excited to restart our field canvass in early May and use electronic tablets for the first time. Our friends at other canvass-based groups around the country have already restarted field canvassing and we're confident we can do so safely. The tablets will modernize our outreach and furnish us with new organizing tools to engage people in our campaigns.

The return of field canvassing will allow us to provide ground support for the Power a Clean Future Ohio campaign, a nonpartisan coalition that works with local leaders to develop and implement proven climate solutions. Already, twelve communities around the state have joined the campaign and we'll be knocking on doors soon to expand PCFO's reach, encouraging people to write to their mayors about taking local action to address climate change.

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HB 128 not nearly good enough

Apr 01, 2021 2:51 PM

The bill was signed the day before April Fools, but we still shouldn't take this "repeal" seriously.

FirstEnergy has agreed to disgorge $26 million it collected under House Bill 6 to customers just after Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill 128, legislation repealing the nuclear bailout portion of the bill. 

The partial repeal of House Bill 6 is a partial win for FirstEnergy because it leaves in place the rollback of Ohio’s renewable energy & energy efficiency standards and still provides subsidies to two Ohio Valley Electric Corporation coal-fired power plants.

Visit www.repealHB6.com to tell your legislators FirstEnergy should not be allowed to walk away from House Bill 6 with even a penny of consumers’ money


Randazzo influence remains at PUCO

Mar 31, 2021 3:43 PM

More than four months after the FBI raid on Sam Randazzo’s home and his subsequent resignation from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, Governor Mike DeWine has selected former Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Jenifer French as his replacement and new Commission Chair. Judge French will also serve as chair of the influential Ohio Power Siting Board. 

Thank you to all Ohio Citizen Action and Ohio Consumers Power Alliance members who wrote and called Governor Mike DeWine about the commission. Over 1,500 of us asked him to appoint someone who could offer Ohio a fresh start, not a rubber stamp for utilities.

Unfortunately, French comes to the PUCO with no consumer advocacy experience or energy policy background - a deficit the governor views as a strength. We're skeptical because this lack of experience will likely make the PUCO even more reliant on Scott Elisar, the Commission’s legislative and policy director.

Elisar, Randazzo’s former law firm partner, was appointed to the PUCO nominating committee by indicted former Speaker Larry Householder. Elisar became PUCO's legislative and policy director the same month Randazzo became chairman.

Randazzo influence remains within the agency and must be removed

Sam Randazzo may be gone, but Governor DeWine has stopped short of cleaning house at the PUCO

Ohioans deserve better than what we got with Sam Randazzo. We deserve energy policy free of corruption and lies. We congratulate Judge French and urge her to bring dignity, transparency and the consumer perspective back to the PUCO. We urge her to commit to a fresh start.


The tentacles binding Gov. Mike DeWine to FirstEnergy run deep

Mar 17, 2021 7:56 PM

CLEVELAND –– "There is no evidence DeWine participated in any wrongdoing. Still, as Laura A. Bischoff of the Daily News reported a week ago, FirstEnergy and its then-subsidiary, FirstEnergy Solutions (now the independent Energy Harbor), gave eye-popping sums, directly and indirectly, to DeWine’s campaigns.

Since 2017, when DeWine was gearing up to run for governor, the two firms 'donated more than $1 million to nonprofit groups and political campaigns to help elect ... DeWine,' Bischoff reported.

...

But the facts in this tangle of alleged pay to play, dark-money influence, political arm-twisting and a pipeline of utility favors extending from FirstEnergy’s Akron headquarters right into the heart of Ohio governance and regulation can’t be ignored.

And DeWine benefited from that dark-money pipeline. He is not accused of any criminality. But he has soiled himself by openly courting FirstEnergy favors, including soliciting the company’s political contributions for himself and his daughter, Alice DeWine, when she ran unsuccessfully for Greene County prosecutor last year.
And can it be coincidental that, even after others warned DeWine of the extent of Randazzo’s FirstEnergy ties, DeWine picked Randazzo to chair the PUCO and the Ohio Power Siting Board?"
–– Editorial Board, cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer


FirstEnergy pumped $1M into backing DeWine, records show

Mar 17, 2021 7:48 PM

COLUMBUS –– "Akron-based FirstEnergy and FirstEnergy Solutions donated more than $1 million to nonprofit groups and political campaigns since 2017 to help elect Gov. Mike DeWine, according to a Dayton Daily News investigation.

... The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the kind of giving found in the records is a form of free speech and legal as long as the nonprofits are independent and don’t coordinate work with political candidates. However government watchdog groups say the lack of transparency in huge political contributions like this makes it much harder for voters to know whether their public officials are acting for the benefit of donors or constituents."

–– Laura A. Bischoff, Columbus Bureau

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Letters: Repeal House Bill 6 in its entirety

Mar 17, 2021 3:12 PM

(AP Photo/Amy Sancetta) 

CINCINNATI - "Continuing to have HB 6 as the law not only impugns the integrity of the state government, it questions the whole democratic process, having been rejected twice by the legislature before it was finally passed. An effort to place HB 6 on the ballot as a referendum was undermined by those forces supporting this bill." - Gerry Kraus, East Walnut Hills

Gerry and her husband Marvin are longtime members and collaborators on many Cincinnati-based campaigns, including the Cincinnati Specialties good neighbor campaign, fixing Cincinnati's sewer system and securing curbside recycling.   

–– Letters to the Editor, Cincinnati Enquirer

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Timing key in consulting deal between FirstEnergy, regulator

Mar 17, 2021 3:01 PM

COLUMBUS –– "Documents subpoenaed by the FBI showed Randazzo had a significant role in writing the bailout bill.

Calendars obtained by the AP through a public records request further show that Randazzo met with Householder and Republican Gov. Mike DeWine at the Governor’s Residence for an 'energy discussion' in April 2019. That was less than two weeks after Randazzo had become PUCO chair and a day later the bailout bill was introduced. He also met in 2019 with both men’s policy advisers, as well as other administration officials.

DeWine’s office said in response to a separate records request that there was no further documentation of the meeting. The AP reported Dec. 10 that DeWine in early 2019 disregarded cries of alarm over Randazzo’s close ties to FirstEnergy before appointing him to the commission. DeWine has stood by the decision."

–– Mark Gillispie and Julie Carr Smyth, AP News

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FirstEnergy admitted to funding Generation Now in federal court

Mar 16, 2021 3:47 PM

Inch by inch, Ohio Citizen, the truth is revealed.

FirstEnergy admits that it is "Company A"

The Energy and Policy Institute announced on Friday that FirstEnergy admitted in federal court that it funded Generation Now, effectively confirming that it is "Company A" in the federal criminal case against former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder.

This disclosure was in response to a class action RICO lawsuit filed by Ohio ratepayers.


The first time we saw this amazing graphic by The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, we thought it looked like a web, but an editorial by the Plain Dealer this Sunday brought the realization - they're tentacles.

The tentacles binding Gov. Mike DeWine to FirstEnergy run deep 

The Plain Dealer editorial board wrote, "the facts in this tangle of alleged pay to play, dark-money influence, political arm-twisting and a pipeline of utility favors extending from FirstEnergy’s Akron headquarters right into the heart of Ohio governance and regulation can’t be ignored."

The tentacles reach right into the Governor's residence. Public records obtained by the Associated Press show that Sam Randazzo, PUCO chair, met with Larry Householder and Governor Mike Dewine in April 2019. They met at Dewine’s residence for an “energy discussion” and House Bill 6 was introduced the very next day.

Eight months after FBI arrest legislators plan to debate whether Householder should remain in office

The House likely has the 66 votes needed to expel Householder, according to State Rep. Mark Frazier, R-Newark. 

House Republicans have 64 members – 63 if you take Householder out of the equation – which means at least three Democrats need to vote for expulsion. A spokesman for House Democrats said all 35 members would vote yes, so Republicans only need to bring 31 votes. We will be sure to let you know what happens.


Twin Ohio bills could thwart future solar and wind development

Mar 15, 2021 5:30 PM

OHIO –– "Senate Bill 52 and House Bill 118 expand on themes from a failed 2019 bill that would have let 8% of voters in an area demand a referendum after Ohio Power Siting Board approval of wind farm projects, thus delaying or effectively cancelling the projects.

'It’s HB 401 all over again, but now solar is included,' said Neil Waggoner, Ohio representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign. 'It’s another attempt to really slow down or stop the investment in and transition to renewable energy in the state.'

The new bills would apply to solar and wind farms but not nuclear power plants or any kind of fossil fuel projects. Developers would have to give 30 days’ prior notice to local governments before filing with the power siting board for any new wind or solar project. The bills also would apply to most modifications, such as changes to spacing or height."

–– Kathiann M. Kowalski, Energy News Network 

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