July 1, 2019 / 6:07 PM / 3 months ago

FirstEnergy Solutions says will work with Ohio on nuclear bailout

    July 1 (Reuters) - FirstEnergy Solutions said on Monday it
hopes Ohio lawmakers will pass a bill by July 17 to prevent the
early closure of the state's two nuclear power reactors but
cannot buy fuel for the units at this time without legislative
    FirstEnergy Solutions, a bankrupt subsidiary of Ohio energy
company FirstEnergy Corp       , had said it would shut the
Davis-Besse and Perry reactors on Lake Erie in 2020 and 2021 if
it did not get some financial help from the state for the
money-losing plants by the June 30 fuel purchase deadline for
    The Midwestern state's House of Representatives passed a
nuclear bailout bill in May, known as "House Bill 6" (HB6). 
    The Ohio Senate worked on its own version of HB6 over the
weekend and was still working on it early on Monday, according
to a legislative aide.
    State legislators were now working toward final passage of
HB6 by July 17, FirstEnergy Solutions said.
    "Should we receive the long-term certainty that comes with
an affirmative vote within this timeframe, we will immediately
re-evaluate our options," FirstEnergy Solutions said in a
statement, noting the company remains "on path for a safe
deactivation and decommissioning" of Davis-Besse.
    "Given the expectation that the legislation will be passed
in the coming weeks, we have communicated our commitment to
doing everything possible to accommodate this process, which
will come with increased financial burden associated with
missing the June 30th fuel purchasing deadline," it said.
    The House version of HB6 would provide FirstEnergy Solutions
with about $150 million a year from 2020 to 2026, according to
local newspaper reports.
    A version of the Senate bill last week also included
subsidies for a couple of coal plants owned by Ohio Valley
Electric Corp (OVEC) like the House version of the bill. 
    OVEC is owned by several utilities, including units of
American Electric Power Co Inc         and Duke Energy Corp
    Cheap and ample gas from shale fields like the Marcellus and
Utica in Ohio has depressed electricity prices nationwide over
the past several years, making it uneconomical for generators to
keep operating some nuclear- and coal-fired power plants.
    The version of the bill passed by the House was opposed by
most environmental groups because it would weaken the state's
renewable and energy efficiency targets to reduce consumer power
    FirstEnergy Solutions has warned that shutting the reactors
could result in the loss of 4,300 jobs.             

 (Reporting by Scott DiSavino, editing by G Crosse)
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