COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The stocks of FirstEnergy and Energy Harbor are plummeting after Larry Householder, Ohio Speaker of the House, and four associates were charged with receiving approximately $60 million to pass and uphold a bill that funneled state funds to two failing nuclear power plants.
According to the criminal complaint, from March 2017 to March 2020, the group received millions of dollars in exchange for the group’s help in passing House Bill 6, a billion-dollar law that included money given to two Ohio nuclear power plants managed by FirstEnergy in an effort to keep them open.
2019’s House Bill 6 was a “Clean Air Act” that contained a bailout for two nuclear power plants managed by FirstEnergy. There was a controversial effort to block it from going into effect that included accusations of assault on petitioners, bribery, and scare ads involving China. The bill eventually passed through the statehouse and was signed by Gov. Mike DeWine last summer.
FirstEnergy was the original operator of both plants until its subsidiary, FirstEnergy Solutions, filed for bankruptcy. But thanks to House Bill 6, FirstEnergy Solutions survived and renamed itself Energy Harbor, which operates independently from FirstEnergy Corp.
No person at FirstEnergy or Energy Harbor has been charged or arrested and the company was not mentioned specifically in the affidavit or the press conference held by David DeVillers, U.S. Attorney for Ohio’s Southern District. However, FirstEnergy benefitted from HB6, no other nuclear power plant operator received a bailout and FirstEnergy was the subject of a campaign to have the bailout overturned.
FirstEnergy stocks have fallen by more than 15 percent while Energy Harbor stocks have fallen by more than 20 percent as of 4:00 Tuesday afternoon.