Recent news

FirstEnergy to answer questions about whether ratepayer money funded HB 6 effort

Jan 08, 2021 4:40 PM

COLUMBUS – "Did FirstEnergy companies spend Ohio ratepayers’ money on their bid to pass a $1 billion bailout for two nuclear plants? An executive will soon answer questions about that. 

Santino Fanelli, director of rates and regulatory affairs for Akron-based FirstEnergy Service Company, said the companies 'have not included, directly or indirectly, any House Bill 6 costs in any rates or charges paid by ratepayers in Ohio,' according to a sworn affidavit filed in late September. 

Now, consumer advocates can challenge that assertion and ask questions about whether FirstEnergy's political spending hit Ohioans' electric bills, administrative judges for the state's energy regulators ruled Thursday.

"We think it's only fair that the statements in the affidavit be subject to cross-examination under oath," said Greg Price, an administrative law judge for the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio or PUCO." 

– Jessie Balmert, The Cincinnati Enquirer

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House Speaker’s office requests resolution be drafted to expel member

Jan 08, 2021 4:09 PM

Rep. Larry Householder, R-Glenford, is seen in top right being sworn-in to a new term as a state legislator on Monday, Jan. 4, as House Speaker Bob Cupp, R-Lima, looks on. Screenshot courtesy the Ohio Channel.

COLUMBUS -- "The office of Ohio House Speaker Bob Cupp has sought a resolution be drafted to expel a member of the state legislature.

Though the request does not identify the member in question, this may mark the first step taken to remove from office Rep. Larry Householder, R-Glenford, the former House speaker who was arrested last year on corruption charges for his alleged involvement in the nuclear bailout bill scandal. 

Sheila Willamowski Boehner, the deputy chief of staff and executive counsel for Speaker Cupp, sent an internal request to the Legislative Service Commission asking for two resolutions to be drafted. The request, made Thursday and obtained by the OCJ, asks for a floor resolution to expel a member and a separate floor resolution to “create a committee to investigate.” Both are asked to be drafted within the next week."

-- Tyler Buchanan, Ohio Capital Journal 

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Ohio clean energy foe at forefront of key points in bailout law, ratification efforts

Jan 06, 2021 2:19 PM

Rep. Seitz at House Session on June 10, 2020Rep. Seitz at House Session on June 10, 2020

"Documents made available last week show how House Majority Floor Leader Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, championed gutting Ohio’s clean energy standards in the state’s 2019 coal and nuclear bailout law. He has since served as a force against repeal.

Claims in a federal complaint released in July indicate that the law was at the heart of an alleged corruption scheme involving roughly $60 million. Former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder, R-Glenford, and others were arrested last summer.

Failure to repeal the law in 2020 was 'an astounding failure by Republican leadership,' said Rep. David Leland, D-Columbus, as the legislature adjourned last month.

'Repealing the bill would be the dumbest thing ever done,' Seitz said in an Aug. 28 email to Ohio Energy Association lobbyist Michael Kurtz. 'All we need to do is to strengthen the audit standards and possibly revisit the FE [FirstEnergy] decoupling provision. The herd of sheeple are all in a panic over what I consider the best energy bill we ever passed in my 20 years.'"

- Kathiann M. Kowalski, Energy News Network

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Funding challenges limit minority-owned businesses’ access to energy efficiency

Jan 04, 2021 1:53 PM

"Securing capital is a big challenge for many Black- and other minority-owned businesses. Whether through outright discrimination or more subtle bias, many companies face a disadvantage in a financial world where personal relationships can make or break a deal. 

It’s a particularly vexing problem when it comes to energy efficiency improvements, which can save money and in many cases more than pay for themselves. That dilemma becomes even more pressing as the pandemic continues.

'Capital has become an issue for almost every Black-owned business, small and midsize businesses especially,' said Carla Walker-Miller, founder and CEO of Walker-Miller Energy Services in Detroit.  

In large part, the dilemma’s roots stem from ongoing inequities that stack the deck against people of color."

-- Kathiann Kowalsi, Energy News Network

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FirstEnergy just can’t let go of CEI’s old battle against Cleveland Public Power: Brent Larkin

Jan 03, 2021 2:06 PM

Chuck Jones, former CEO of FirstEnergy Corp., in an undated photo when he was still running the firm.

Chuck Jones, the former CEO of FirstEnergy Corp. FirstEnergy fired Jones and two senior vice presidents Oct. 29 amid federal investigations of an alleged $60 million conspiracy to pass House Bill 6 involving "Company A," whose depiction in federal documents matches that of FirstEnergy.


"In Cleveland, FirstEnergy -- parent company of the old Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co. (CEI), currently known as the Illuminating Co.; Ohio Edison Co.; and Toledo Edison Co. -- has added to what’s now more than a half-century of predatory conduct originally pursued by CEI.

Its aim? To drive the city’s municipal electric system -- Cleveland Public Power -- out of business.

A Dec. 24 story by Plain Dealer and reporter John Caniglia exposed how a dark money group funded in part by a $200,000 contribution from FirstEnergy in 2019 tried to erode customer confidence in Cleveland Public Power by criticizing its rates and service.

Ironically, FirstEnergy’s latest efforts to ruin Cleveland Public Power came at a time when evidence suggested mismanagement by the administration of Mayor Frank Jackson was lending FirstEnergy a helping hand."

- Brent Larkin,

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Documents offer rare view of pressure Larry Householder exerted in House Bill 6 scandal

Dec 31, 2020 2:01 PM

CLEVELAND – "In the days before the vote on House Bill 6, the legislative bailout of two nuclear power plants, Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder’s political strategist reached out to Dave Greenspan, the Republican state representative from Westlake, with a not-so subtle message about the vote.

Jeff Longstreth texted Greenspan and urged him to side with Householder. Greenspan balked, and Longstreth pushed several reasons why the representative should vote for the measure.

'I also know that if 4,000 jobs are lost in an election year, you are going to get the blame,' Longstreth said in the text. 'Everyone in office will get the blame.'"

-- John Caniglia,

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2020 In Ohio: Republican Leaders Keep HB6 Despite Racketeering Scandal

Dec 28, 2020 4:33 PM


COLUMBUS, Ohio-- "The Ohio House finished the bulk of its work this month with the Republican Speaker saying the chamber will not take any action on HB6 – the sweeping energy law that bails out nuclear power plants and was linked to the biggest alleged scandal in Ohio politics.

Over the course of seven years, HB6 will send $1 billion in subsidies to nuclear plants, $140 million to solar farms, and hundreds of millions of dollars to coal plants – paid for by new charges on every Ohio electric user’s bills – all while cutting green energy mandates."

--Andy Chow, WOSU Public Media

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Lawyer for the powerless steps it up in 2020

Dec 26, 2020 4:28 PM

Ellis Jacobs, lead attorney with Advocates for Basic Legal Equality


DAYTON, Ohio-- "For nearly four decades, attorney Ellis Jacobs has worked to empower low-income communities across the Miami Valley, helping them take on big corporations, push back against injustices and win consumer affairs fights.

The coronavirus pandemic just added to his workload in 2020.

Mostly without fanfare this year, Jacobs, 67, worked to protect voting rights and answer voter questions; helped persuade area judges to implement eviction moratoriums and pushed the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to come up with plans to avoid utility shut offs during the pandemic; filed a writ of mandamus to ask courts to force public health officials to step up their response to COVID cases in the Montgomery County Jail; and advocated for low-income broadband support to be included in the federal CAREs Act."

--Laura Bischoff, Dayton Daily News

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Groups backing Gov. DeWine and his daughter received FirstEnergy cash funneled through dark money outfits

Dec 23, 2020 11:30 AM

COLUMBUS, Ohio – "Cash from FirstEnergy Corp. and related businesses reached the coffers of dark money groups supporting Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and his daughter and Greene County prosecutor candidate, Alice DeWine, newly revealed tax documents show.

The documents shed new light on a key player in a federal bribery investigation that entangled the former Republican speaker of the Ohio House and four others in July. They also show for the first time where a dark money group supporting Alice DeWine's bid for county prosecutor got some of its funding."

–Jackie Borchardt, The Cincinnati Enquirer

Link to full article.

Ohio lawmakers do nothing on scandal-tainted House Bill 6

Dec 23, 2020 7:30 AM

File:Perry Nuclear Plant (2), July 2020.jpg

Cooling towers at the Perry nuclear plant.

Photo credit: Cards84664, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


COLUMBUS, Ohio – "After a federal bribery investigation ousted a former House leader, Ohio lawmakers did nothing to repeal or delay the $1 billion nuclear plant bailout at the heart of the alleged pay-to-play scheme. 

Caught between lawmakers who wanted to do more to curb the nuclear subsidies and those who wanted to bail out the plants, Ohio's GOP-controlled House couldn't cobble together the votes needed for a change. 

'The substance of House Bill 6, not the criminal proceedings, are complex issues on which there’s a wide range of opinion in the legislature,' said House Speaker Bob Cupp, R-Lima. 'The diversity of views on what is good and appropriate public policy I think has forestalled a consensus on what should be done.'"

–Jessie Balmert, The Cincinnati Enquirer

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