As Ohio debates subsidies for nuclear power, a look at New York and Illinois via The News-Herald

Supporters and critics began lining up as soon as an Ohio Senate bill subsidizing the state’s two nuclear power plants was introduced.

In early April, State Sens. John Eklund, R-Munson Township, and Frank LaRose, R-Hudson, introduced a bill that would generate about $300 million in annual additional revenue for the two FirstEnergy-owned plants through the creation of a “Zero Emission Nuclear Resource Program,” or ZEN.

Those additional funds would be raised by ratepayers, with residential customers’ bills increasing by up to $5 a month. Businesses would pay “much more,” according to the Associated Press.

The ZEN program would last at least four years, working on two-year periods for up to 16 years (eight program periods).


The Perry Nuclear Power Plant in North Perry is one of Lake County’s largest employers. There are about 720 employees working at the plant that was commissioned in 1987. The plant is a major tax revenue for the community and Perry Schools as well as the Perry Joint Fire District and Perry Joint Economic Development District.

Eklund argued that although customers will see rate increases, in return they get the “economic, environmental and fuel diversity benefits nuclear provides.”


Like with the Ohio proposal, the Illinois plan subsidizes the two plants with hikes to ratepayers’ bills.

The law is supposed to cap the increase in ratepayer bills at an average of 25 cents a month for ComEd customers in northern Illinois and 35 cents a month for Ameren users in central and southern Illinois, but opponents of the bill argue the caps are “too loosely defined and unenforceable.”

According to Midwest Energy News, the BEST Coalition believes the rate increase is likely to be closer to $4 a month.

The BEST Coalition is a non-profit comprised of “business, government and consumer groups as well as small and large businesses” that strongly opposed the Illinois bill.

“We do not oppose nuclear power,” the group stated on its website. “We oppose bad policy that would increase costs to consumers and businesses without providing any benefits.”

Among the groups the BEST Coalition partnered with is the AARP, which is strongly opposing the Ohio bill as well.

Read more at As Ohio debates subsidies for nuclear power, a look at New York and Illinois

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