Recent news

PUCO judge blocking HB6 investigation helped write law

Mar 01, 2022 5:24 PM

 

Idea for Sherwin Williams wall in downtown Cleveland.

More breaking news on the House Bill 6 scandal:

Subpoenaed documents released by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio reveal the roles of former chair Sam Randazzo, current hearing examiner Greg Price and others involved in the House Bill 6 scandal.

Greg Price helped write House Bill 6, now he's blocking investigation

Over the last 18 months, PUCO attorney Greg Price has issued multiple rulings squashing attempts to investigate the bribery that FirstEnergy admitted to in court documents.

Jake Zuckerman from the Ohio Capital Journal reports that the records show Price helped draft the legislative text, received regular updates about its legislative progress, formally reviewed HB 6 for the PUCO, and was briefed on its status as lawmakers launched efforts to repeal it after the FBI arrested former House Speaker Larry Householder.

The fact that Price had a role in crafting House Bill 6 policy and is now limiting what commissioners and the public can learn is an affront to all of us waiting for justice to be served.

Like last week's Toledo Blade editorial said,"PUCO has as much credibility investigating FirstEnergy as Al Capone would have had investigating mob tax evasion.”


Randazzo worked behind the scenes

Former PUCO chairman Samuel Randazzo used at least three different personal email accounts to communicate about HB 6 before he resigned after an FBI raid on his home.

The emails that the PUCO released reveal that Randazzo, whom FirstEnergy has admitted to bribing in the HB 6 scandal, fought efforts to repeal the scandal-ridden HB 6 and was pushed by negative press into ordering FirstEnergy to investigate itself.


Still pulling the strings?

The kicker might be that indicted former House Speaker Larry Householder still communicates with members of the state legislature.

After his arrest, Householder was released on conditions, including he not have any contact with potential witnesses in the case.

Please help us hold policy makers accountable


Just vote already! Repeal ALL of HB6

Feb 17, 2022 1:18 PM

It's past time that Ohio lawmakers repeal ALL of HB 6

Ohio legislators have a golden opportunity to finally repeal all of House Bill 6 by ending the consumer bailout of the two outdated, polluting OVEC coal plants -- one of which is in Indiana. This coal giveaway was added at the last minute to House Bill 6 and is costing Ohio consumers $287,671 every day

FirstEnergy customers will pay for the OVEC plants with their monthly electric bills through 2030 despite not using any of their generated electricity.

Lawmakers must pass SB 117 and HB 351, which would repeal the coal bailouts, provide a refund to Ohio consumers and help reverse some of the damage done by the corruption of HB 6.

Both bills were introduced by Republican legislators and have bipartisan support. Governor Mike Dewine has also said he supports the repeal of the OVEC bailout.

It’s time for our legislators to JUST VOTE ALREADY on these two bills!

Please urge your legislator to repeal the OVEC bailouts


💥NEWS💥: Audit uncovers $71 million MORE in dark money

Feb 08, 2022 1:43 PM

Our calls for deeper investigations have been heard as more dark money has been unearthed.

An audit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) provides the most detailed look yet at the vast sums of money FirstEnergy poured into dark-money lobbying efforts to pass HB6. The audit flags $133 million - more than double the $61 million FirstEnergy paid dark money entity Generation Now.

The audit found FirstEnergy improperly raised prices on customers and attempted to “conceal the nature and purpose” of these payments from the public.

FirstEnergy now has two months to develop a plan to issue refunds to customers.

It's not just FERC, there are multiple investigations of FirstEnergy currently underway, including: the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Ohio, the Cincinnati FBI, the IRS, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, the Securities and Exchange Commission as well as FirstEnergy's own internal investigation.


Larry Householder asks judge to dismiss corruption case

Former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder has asked a federal judge to dismiss the bribery case against him, claiming prosecutors haven't proven that he oversaw the largest bribery scheme in Ohio history to pass House Bill 6.

Householder's attorneys are citing that here was no “explicit” quid pro quo despite FirstEnergy’s deferred prosecution agreement admitting to using a nonprofit to “conceal payments for the benefit of public officials and in return for official action.”


All of the candidates for governor are weighing in on the findings of the latest investigation into FirstEnergy’s bribe payments and political spending, yet...

Nothing but silence from the Governor Mike DeWine

The corruption surrounding House Bill 6 has exposed a regulatory failure of the first magnitude.

Governor DeWine can’t run from energy bailout bribery scandal as dirty laundry keeps piling up. As Marilou Johanek writes in a recent column:

He had put the full weight of the governor’s office behind the nuclear bailout bill and signed the corrupt measure into law the very day it passed. The “energy” legislation championed by DeWine also put ratepayers on the hook to bail out two money-losing, hyper-polluting coal plants (one in Indiana) partially owned by other utilities and two FirstEnergy subsidiaries. Plus, the bailout boondoggle the governor couldn’t sign fast enough thoroughly gutted renewable energy and energy efficiency standards and removed all incentive to build more renewable energy projects in the state.

Is it too much to expect that the governor looks out for Ohioans? What is he waiting for?

Please help us keep the pressure on and hold policy makers accountable


Fairborn Joins PCFO

Jan 21, 2022 9:46 AM

At this Tuesday’s City Council meeting, the City of Fairborn unanimously passed a resolution to join Power a Clean Future Ohio (PCFO), making them the 27th community.

The city plans to work with the PCFO team to identify energy efficiency solutions to save the city money and find new sources of grant funding for building improvements and clean transportation projects. 
City Manager Anderson said, “We look forward to working with Power A Clean Future Ohio, along with other cities and local governments to plan for the future of our community. We joined PCFO because they are able to bring several resources, experts, and additional information we can use without cost to the city. We will look for ways to save energy costs and plan for the future needs of our residents. I’m proud that our city council took advantage of this opportunity and recognized the importance of this first step which helps move us towards a cleaner, more sustainable future.”
Fairborn City Councilmember Tana Stanton said, “I’m proud that Fairborn has joined other neighboring communities such as Dayton, Yellow Springs, and Montgomery County to become the 27th community to join PCFO. We’re joining a distinguished group of leading cities and counties across the state and I look forward to working together and learning from one another. The environmental and economic challenges we are all facing require innovation and investment. Our work with PCFO will set us up to be successful in both.”
 
We look forward to how Fairborn will partner with the Power a Clean Future Ohio team to create a clean energy future for their community.


Ohioans on the hook for coal bailouts 💸

Jan 13, 2022 1:19 PM

Thank you to all the good people who contributed to our year-end appeal. We raised $37,415 - a good bit over our $30K goal!

It's so important we carry that momentum into this new year as we continue working to repeal the OVEC coal plant bailouts that are rooted in HB 6 corruption.

Here's the latest:


From the Plain Dealer editorial board:

"If any Ohioan doubts that tainted House Bill 6 is still exacting huge costs from them and other utility ratepayers, they need only go to the website of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, the state advocate for utility customers, and look at an OCC calculator that’s been running since HB 6 took effect. As of Friday, it showed nearly $172 million paid out by Ohio ratepayers to subsidize two money-losing coal plants, one of them in Indiana."


Gov. DeWine signed the corrupt House Bill 6 - he knew what was in it. Now he says he doesn’t support HB6′s coal-plant subsidies 

Governor Mike DeWine told the editorial board of The Plain Dealer that he doesn’t support the part of House Bill 6 that requires Ohio ratepayers to subsidize an Indiana coal-fired power plant.

DeWine also pledged that his campaign would no longer accept any political contributions from FirstEnergy. The Governor should also be refusing dollars from AEP as they are even bigger beneficiaries of the coal subsidies under HB 6. The OVEC bailout is what garnered their support for the bill.

DeWine also said he’s open in principle to making some changes regarding how Public Utilities Commission of Ohio members are chosen.

Our voices are being heard, but we won't stop until we repeal all of HB6

Please take action by urging your legislators to repeal the OVEC coal plant subsidies!


They Called the Cops on Us

Dec 15, 2021 12:32 PM

Our demonstration at the statehouse December 9 was a rousing success. We thank all our fellow activists and supporters for showing up! It’s the kind of on-the-ground, grassroots organizing that is our calling card.

Because we are citizen-funded, we need your help to keep up momentum over the holidays. Will you support us with a contribution today?

Santa and his elves delivered stockings filled with coal to all the naughty legislators who haven't yet acted to repeal the OVEC coal plant subsidies.

We know at least some of them made it to their intended recipients.

The real kicker of the protest though was when someone called the senate sergeant-at-arms to escort us from the building. As if we were the problem.

HB6 has forced Ohioans to pay more than $140.4 million in subsidies to bail out the OVEC coal plants: The Kyger Creek coal plant in Gallia County, Ohio, and Clifty Creek coal plant in Indiana. Over that same period the two plants have spewed more than 17 million tons of carbon dioxide into the air.

We won't stop until this bill is repealed in full- our future depends on it!


Your Support Safeguards First Amendment Rights

Nov 30, 2021 1:18 PM

As a member-supported organization, we simply could not do this work without you.

With each new and renewing member, we grow stronger. Therefore, your #GivingTuesday gift today really makes a difference. 

With the help of our members, we keep fighting for a full and complete repeal of House Bill 6. Ohio lawmakers repealed the portion of HB 6 that provided subsidies for FirstEnergy nuclear plants in March. But they've failed to repeal the OVEC coal bailouts that cost Ohioans $233,000 every day. It's time to literally get out into the street and get our money back. 

Ohio Citizen Action has a long history of protecting First Amendment rights. Every day we exercise those rights to speak for or against pressing issues in our state, whether it's through knocking on doors or peaceful assembly.

Please join us by making a special #GivingTuesday gift and stand up for the right to demand a just, equitable, clean energy future.

Thanks for standing with us,

Rachael Belz, Ohio Citizen Action
http://www.ohiocitizen.org/

P.S. Another great way to make a difference is to join us in person to demonstrate against the OVEC coal plant bailouts in Columbus on December 9th!


December 9 Rally at the Statehouse

Nov 29, 2021 2:55 PM

We need to repeal ALL of HB6 and that includes the OVEC coal plant subsidies.

The OVEC bailout costs us $233,000 a day in subsidies for two 66-year-old coal plants — including one that isn’t even in Ohio.

Ohio Citizen Action supports the peoples’ right to peacefully assemble and speak for or against pressing issues in our state. It’s more important now than ever to make our voices heard.

It's time to rally together at the statehouse to repeal the OVEC coal bailout

On Thursday, December 9 at 12:00 pm, we will meet at 1 Capitol Square, on the High Street side, in Columbus, to urge our legislators to pass SB 117 and HB 351, bipartisan legislation that will repeal one of the last pieces of corrupt House Bill 6 and refund money to consumers.

We'll give a cheer to Santa and his elves as they leave to deliver stockings with coal to legislators, and then line High Street to show our support.

Wear your festive holiday attire and ugly Christmas sweaters, and bring your homemade signs! We will have extra for those without signs.

Please dress for the weather. We will be practicing social distancing and we encourage you to wear a mask. 

RSVP here and please share this with friends and family!

See you there!

Ohio Citizen Action

http://www.ohiocitizen.org/

P.S. If you can't join us at the rally, please consider including Ohio Citizen Action in your Giving Tuesday plans this year, so that we can continue to fight back against corruption: ohiocitizen.org/givingtuesday21


New Facts Demand Investigation

Nov 11, 2021 12:18 PM

We continue to organize communities around the state to address climate change and build a clean energy economy, and...

We're calling for reform at the PUCO

FirstEnergy will refund customers more than $306 million after a long fight over the way it calculates rates and profits.

Our executive director Rachael Belz says this is further proof the PUCO needs to be reformed in order to prioritize consumers.

Belz says reform should include more consumer input, more transparency in the decision-making process, and better consumer representation on the commission.


Shocking new revelation of text exchange between FirstEnergy executives details favors delivered by Sam Randazzo

Former PUCO Chairman Sam Randazzo lobbied lawmakers to include a provision in the 2019 state budget that saved FirstEnergy millions of dollars, according to texts from FirstEnergy executives Chuck Jones and Michael Dowling. 

State law requires utilities to demonstrate to the PUCO every year that their earnings aren’t “significantly excessive.” The law doesn’t define the term and leaves it to PUCO to determine via a “significantly excessive earnings test” (SEET). Thanks to Sam Randazzo, the 2019 budget changed this formula to protect utilities structured like FirstEnergy from issuing PUCO-ordered consumer refunds.


We won't stop until we repeal all of HB6

We continue to work to repeal the OVEC coal plant bailouts that are rooted in HB 6 corruption. Please contribute and help us repeal this corrupt law once and for all.

Thanks for sticking with us!


Ohio Citizen Action


Say No to NOPEC

Nov 09, 2021 2:44 PM

 

Do you live in a NOPEC town

If you live in a NOPEC town, your Mayor and/or town council have involved your community in the smart process of electricity aggregation. This allows your community to combine its buying power to get you a better deal on your electric bill. It’s a good idea, if implemented wisely. Through this process, your community’s leaders chose NOPEC, the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council, as your community's electricity provider -- you have probably seen the name NOPEC somewhere on your electric bill. Aggregators like NOPEC effectively function as utility businesses.

Smart Community Choice Aggregation can be a great tool to fight climate change

Aggregation can do more than save you money. When utilized thoughtfully, aggregation can also help your community reduce its local carbon footprint, fight climate change, and improve our environment and public health -- but only if your town fights to include renewable energy sources in their NOPEC aggregation contract.

NOPEC does not automatically include or require even a minimum of green energy sources in their contracts -- not unless communities demand it. While a lot of towns don’t know that negotiating green contracts is even an option, some are wisely adding renewable energy requirements to their aggregation contracts. Several Ohio communities have done so, making pledges to get to 100% renewable energy by 2025. But these kinds of goals can only be met with the help of aggregation contracts that prioritize green energy in their electricity choices.

NOPEC should be regularly offering affordable renewable energy choices to all of its customers, and communities have the right to know exactly what’s in any NOPEC renewable energy program so you can be sure they’re offering the best deal.

Ohio Citizen Action, together with the Power a Clean Future Ohio campaign, is working to help communities across Ohio understand how to negotiate stronger, greener aggregation contracts for your electricity. But we need your help to make better contracts a genuine priority -- with your community and with NOPEC.

NOPEC towns just received an offer that should be refused.

If you live in a NOPEC town, NOPEC recently made a pitch to your city’s leaders about participating in their questionable renewable energy plan, and they are moving fast to get your town locked into a contract with a needlessly rushed end-of-the-year deadline. It’s questionable because they’ve left too many things up in the air that community decision makers need to know BEFORE making a decision of this magnitude. This isn’t the time for a “blind faith” approach to lowering emissions and cutting the cost of our energy bills. 

Ohio Citizen Action is very concerned that NOPEC is trying to rush your community’s leaders into a lasting decision with little notice or public input. We know NOPEC can do better than this bare-minimum plan, and now is the time for your town to do its homework and demand a better deal -- and your elected leaders need to hear from you about it
 
Join us in urging your mayor to not be pushed into a quick decision on such an important issue. Tell your city leaders to say No to NOPEC on this expensive and hasty deal, and urge them to push NOPEC for real clean energy solutions that will reduce BOTH our local carbon emissions and our electricity bills.

Please write your Mayor!

By contacting your town’s elected leadership now, you can not only help your community avoid a rushed deal but also hold NOPEC accountable to your community’s values.