FirstEnergy Solutions paid nearly $2 million to at least one group, but most other data remains hidden. After-the-fact filings show that FirstEnergy’s generation subsidiary paid nearly $2 million to Generation Now, one of the special interest groups that orchestrated ads, political donations and other efforts behind Ohio’s nuclear and coal bailout. But legal loopholes make it harder to find out the total spent and who else was behind xenophobic advertising, dueling voter petitions, alleged intimidation and other claims of foul play. And none of those actions fully disclosed who was behind them. The scant public filings that are available show additional connections to FirstEnergy Solutions (now Energy Harbor), as well as the law firm of an outspoken legislator who has long fought the state’s clean energy standard, and others with high-level political influence.
Ohioans’ electric bills charge for more than the cost of making and delivering the electricity. With different utilities serving specific parts of the state, Ohioans’ electric bills and the tariffs that govern them vary. But they all have one thing in common: They’re hard for many people to understand. And the bills don’t clearly detail all charges to consumers. Here’s a guide to what all the small print says — and what it doesn’t say — on a sample bill from June for a residential customer of FirstEnergy’s Illuminating Company.
A look at how affiliate arrangements, subsidies and riders led to higher electric bills in Ohio — even as power prices declined
In a residential neighborhood south of downtown Cleveland, a decorative lamppost provides a stark illustration of what critics say is an abusive system of surcharges that have created billions of dollars in subsidies for the state’s utilities. The 150-watt light in a tiny residential park is the only thing for which the South Hills Neighborhood Association used electricity in July. Yet the electric bill was nearly $70 — only 38 cents of which was for the actual electricity consumed. The bill for that single lamppost is now nearly 750% higher than it was just 11 years ago. In July 2008, the charge for the same light totaled $8.28, with $2.69 going toward electricity.