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Updated: Ohio House Recesses Until August Without Voting On Senate Version Of Nuclear Subsidy Bill

Ohio Senate Passes Nuclear Subsidy Bill With Provision Allowing Utility To Construct Renewable Energy Generation For Customers

July 17, 2019

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Copyright 2010-19
Reporting by Paul Ring •

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Updated, 7/18: With several members who support the bill absent, the Ohio House, lacking votes to pass the Senate version of HB 6, recessed until August 1 without taking up the Senate version of the bill

House Speaker Larry Householder said that he was one vote shy of passing the bill

Earlier (Published 7/17):

The Ohio Senate has passed HB 6, which provides subsidies to nuclear and other qualifying resources

The House still must concur with the Senate's bill, or the bill must undergo a reconciliation, for the bill to become law. As of publication time, the House has not yet addressed the Senate version, but has just reconvened

The bill does not create any nuclear purchase obligation on retail suppliers. Subsidies will be funded via nonbypassable charge. The bill does not provide for the use of any subsidized generation in default service

As passed by the Senate, the bill includes a provision stating that, "An electric distribution utility may, on a nondiscriminatory basis and subject to approval by the public utilities commission, enter into an agreement having a term of three years or more with a mercantile customer or group of mercantile customers for the purpose of constructing a customer sited renewable energy resource in this state that will provide the mercantile customer or group with a material portion of the customer's or group's electricity requirements."

The Senate-passed bill further provides that, "Any direct or indirect costs, including costs for infrastructure development or generation, associated with the in-state customer-sited renewable energy resource shall be paid for solely by the utility and the mercantile customer or group of mercantile customers. At no point shall the commission authorize the utility to collect, nor shall the utility ever collect, any of those costs from any customer other than the mercantile customer or group of mercantile customers."

The Senate-passed bill retains an RPS, but lowers the overall RPS each year starting in 2020 versus current law.

Additionally, the bill eliminates the solar carve-out in the RPS

Under the bill, the RPS will be 8.5% in 2026, versus the current 12.5%. See the bill for the specific year-by-year changes in RPS (page 38)

The Senate-passed bill provides that if an electric distribution utility has executed a contract before April 1, 2014, to procure renewable energy resources and there are ongoing costs associated with that contract that are being recovered from customers through a bypassable charge as of September 12, 2014, that cost recovery shall, regardless of the amendments to section 4928.64 of the Revised Code by H.B. 6 of the 133rd general assembly, continue on a bypassable basis through December 31, 2032.

Furthermore, the bill reduces, for both EDCs and retail suppliers, the RPS baselines to remove load associated with any subsidies to nuclear or other facilities qualifying for a subsidy under the bill, starting in 2020

Similarly, any load associated with self-assessing mercantile customers under ORC 5727.81 (related to the excise tax) would not be included in an EDC's or retail supplier's RPS.

Self-assessing mercantile customers would not be subject to any bypassable RPS charge imposed by the EDC

The bill authorizes a nonbypassable charge for OVEC (legacy generation resource) costs.

An electric distribution utility, including all electric distribution utilities in the same holding company, shall bid all output from a legacy generation resource (OVEC) into the wholesale market and shall not use the output in supplying its Standard Service Offer provided under section 4928.142 or 4928.143 of the Revised Code

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