FirstEnergy is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Ohio Secretary of State's Office. Federal authorities allege FirstEnergy helped fund the scheme led by Householder to win the bill's passage and to fund a dirty-tricks campaign to prevent Ohio voters from having their say on the bill in a referendum.
Current House Speaker Bob Cupp, a Republican from Lima, issued a statement Tuesday night that said a variety of opinions on what is "good and appropriate public policy has forestalled a consensus on what should be done: revise, repeal, replace, partial revision, partial replacement, partial repeal, total repeal with no replacement.”
The Legislature will continue working on a bill next year, he said.
“Time and circumstances often intervene to make the way forward clearer,” Cupp said. "We shall see.”
Senate President Larry Obhof, a Medina Republican who personally supported a full repeal of the bailout bill, said Tuesday that he allowed the House to take the lead on determining the bill's fate. Obhof could not seek reelection in November because of term limits.
“My position, and I think I've been very clear from the beginning on this, is: ‘Would we have passed the bill in July 2019 knowing what we know today?’ and the answer is ‘No,’" Obhof said. “I am hopeful that my colleagues who are back in January will find a way to deal with this.”
The nuclear plant bailout is not the only troubling part of the bill for some legislators.
The bill also contained a new charge that began being collected for most Ohio electric customers in January 2020 to subsidize two aging coal plants owned by a consortium of electric utilities. One of the plants is in Indiana. More than $80 million has been collected thus far, according to the Ohio Consumers' Counsel website.
Another provision in the bill guarantees revenue for FirstEnergy's three Ohio electric companies at the same level earned in 2018, one of the hottest Ohio summers on record. Collections for the revenue guarantee are more than $16 million since the provision took effect in February.
This story has been corrected to show that a provision in the bailout bill guarantees revenue, not profits, for FirstEnergy’s three Ohio utilities.