COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The cities of Columbus and Cincinnati filed a lawsuit Tuesday against First Energy to stop House Bill 6.
According to the Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein, the lawsuit is going to protect Ohioans from nearly a billion dollars of fees included in their utilities over the next six years. The suit was filed in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.
“Because of HB 6, the people of Ohio are required to pay a $900 million corporate bailout to FirstEnergy that was created through corruption, bribery and deception,” Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein said. “In the City of Columbus alone, our residents are on the hook for $25 million.”
House Bill 6 was created to rescue FirstEnergy Solutions, now called Energy Harbor, from bankruptcy. It is the source of a bribery scandal involving former House Speaker Larry Householder and four others.
Leaders from both cities say the bill is an unconstitutional way of lending the state’s credit to private enterprises.
“We call upon every Ohio city to join Columbus and Cincinnati in fighting HB6’s unconstitutional $1 billion tax on consumers,” said Tom Bullock, executive director of the Citizens Utility Board of Ohio. “While Ohioans suffer from the COVID-19 public health crisis, it’s not right to force them to pay more on their monthly bills for a corrupt bailout of FirstEnergy.”
The lawsuit seeks to stop the new utility fees from being collected from ratepayers.