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Ohio legislators considering comprehensive energy bill

An energy bill currently making its way through the Ohio Legislature will impact Farm Bureau members.

House Bill 6 is a comprehensive energy bill that currently addresses many topics, but it would predominantly create the Ohio Clean Air Program offering price supports to in-state, utility-scale nuclear generation until Dec. 31, 2026. The new rider will be $1/month for residential customers through 2026. It will be $10/month in 2020 and $15/month from 2021-2026 for commercial customers. It is important to note ratepayers in an electric cooperative or municipal utility are not subject to the new rider.

Another major provision would allow electric utilities with shares in the Ohio Valley Electric Corporation to continue recovering costs through 2030 since the purpose of those coal plants was to support the uranium enrichment project in Piketon as a matter of national security.

There are other provisions that could potentially impact Ohio Farm Bureau members. Townships affected by a wind project are permitted under the bill to have a referendum in order to reject a certificate issued by the Ohio Power Siting Board if the majority of all townships impacted agree. If not all the townships reject the certificate, then the certificate goes back to the Ohio Power Siting Board for modification.

In addition, county fairs and agricultural societies would receive a fixed monthly rate based on a kilowatt-per-hour charge from their electric utility and are exempt from any demand-based riders. Electric utilities are prohibited from their “minimum monthly service fee” exceeding their fixed monthly fee.

There is also a provision regarding E-check, which would allow Ohio EPA to apply to U.S. EPA for an exemption from the program; however, it is not clear at this time that the Ohio Clean Air Program would meet the requirements of the Clean Air Act. If Ohio is not in compliance with the Clean Air Act, the state could lose federal highway funds.

HB 6 is one of many energy bills introduced in recent years. Ohio Farm Bureau has previously remained neutral on these various energy bills and will remain neutral on House Bill 6 as well.

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