The former FirstEnergy Solutions has officially emerged from bankruptcy, the company announced Feb. 27.
The company that owns Ohio’s two nuclear power plants including the North Perry-based Perry Nuclear Power Plant, successfully completed its Chapter 11 restructuring process and is now known as Energy Harbor. The company is based in Akron and employs about 2,600, according to an Energy Harbor news release.
“With our industry-leading nuclear fleet focused on safe and resilient production of substantial carbon-free electricity, Energy Harbor is in an excellent industry position for a future focused on environmental, social and sustainability goals,” Energy Harbor Executive Chairman John Kiani said in a statement.
A spokesperson for Falls Communications, which handles press communications for Energy Harbor, said the company is not seeking buyers for the nuclear plants.
FirstEnergy Solutions filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March 2018. That announcement came days after the company announced plans to close down its two nuclear plants in Ohio and its other in western Pennsylvania by 2021.
The company lobbied state lawmakers to pass subsidies for the plants. Those efforts predated the bankruptcy announcement. Proposed subsidies in the Ohio legislature stalled in 2017 and 2018, but with a new governor and new speaker of the house in office in 2019, renewed legislative efforts succeeded.
Gov. Mike DeWine signed House Bill 6 into law in July, and it went into effect in October.
Charges paid by residential, commercial and industrial customers will generate an estimated $170 million a year. Of that total, $150 million annually will go to the Perry and the Ottawa County-based Davis-Besse nuclear power plants. The other $20 million is earmarked to support six solar energy projects in Ohio.
The nuclear plants will receive money between 2021 and 2027.
Among other things, the law by the end of 2020 eliminates state electric mandates for energy efficiency, peak demand and the solar renewable portfolio standard carve-out. A solar carve-out is the part of a state’s renewable portfolio standard that sets a specific level of electricity to be generated from solar panels.
A group known as Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts attempted to put a repeal effort of the bill on the November 2020 ballot. The group fell short of the required signatures needed, but sought additional time through the legal system. They ultimately dropped that effort in early 2020, with a spokesperson saying they “could see no clear path to a successful petition drive.”
House Bill 6 sponsor, Rep. Jamie Callender, R-Concord Township, said he was excited to see Energy Harbor emerge from bankruptcy. Callender’s district is home to the Perry plant.
“It’s very good for the Perry Plant, the employees and the region,” Callender said.