DP&L endorses nuclear bailout bill

The DP&L service building in Moraine. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Dayton Power & Light has endorsed Ohio House legislation that bails out a pair of older nuclear energy plants situated on Lake Erie.

A utility executive sent a letter to the chairman of the Ohio House Energy and Natural Resource Committee this week, saying the bill “positively addresses a broader group of energy issues and reduces DP&L residential customer monthly payments.”

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Above the signature of Tom Raga, DPL Inc. executive vice president, the letter praises aspects of the bill, saying passage would:

  • Let DP&L apply to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) for new energy efficiency programs.
  • Cut the monthly residential charge compared to DP&L's current energy efficiency/peak demand charge.
  • And codify DP&L's PUCO-approved recovery of OVEC coal plant costs through 2030.

The letter does not say by how much customer charges would be reduced. A message seeking comment was sent to a DP&L spokeswoman this morning.

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The letter was dated Wednesday, the same day the committee proposed subsidies to support the continued operation of OVEC coal power plants under HB 6.

An American Electric Power (AEP) executive also sent a letter to House members, dated on the same day, similarly endorsing the legislation.

The Ohio Valley Electric Corp. (OVEC) — a cooperative corporation which includes Ohio utilities DP&L, AEP, Duke, and FirstEnergy Solutions, among others — has been an area of concern since FirstEnergy sought to withdraw from the pact after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the spring of 2018.

The concern was that FirstEnergy’s withdrawal would increase financial obligations for remaining OVEC members for joint operation of two six-decades-old coal-fired power plants. Coal plants are considered relatively expensive to operate.

“There is a strong likelihood that AEP, DP&L, and Duke would ask the PUCO to allow charges to their consumers for (FirstEnergy’s) share of OVEC costs, and that the PUCO would allow the charges to consumers,” the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel cautioned in a court filing last summer.

HB6 passed the committee Thursday, with a possible floor vote being the next step. In its current form, the legislation would replace existing renewable energy mandates with new fees charged to nearly 5 million energy customers across Ohio.

First Energy-operated nuclear power plants could be eligible for financial support from the new fees the regimen would generate each year.

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