Betsy Rader for State Senate Requests Transparency and Accountability in Connection with HB6 Repeal and Replace Legislation

Rader cites need to ensure security of workers’ jobs and a diverse energy portfolio 

GEAUGA COUNTY- Candidate for State Senate Betsy Rader requested today that during consideration of repeal and replacement of HB6, legislators demand both transparency and accountability from First Energy and Energy Harbor, formerly known as First Energy Solutions. For example, hearings on repeal and replacement of HB 6 should include public access to financial information that was not provided during the original passage of the ratepayer-funded bailout of the power plants’ owner.

“We certainly need to preserve Lake County jobs and a diverse energy portfolio. However, when we look at investing the public’s money into a private company, we need to require that the money be used responsibly to preserve jobs and to ensure the Perry plant’s long-term viability, not just find its way into shareholders’ pockets,” Rader pointed out.

After receiving $1.3 billion in subsidies through the 2019 legislation, First Energy authorized $800 million in stock buybacks in the Spring of 2020. The criminal bribery complaint alleges that Company A (First Energy) paid over $60 million in bribes to obtain the passage of HB 6. The Senate amendments to HB6 also protected company profits by giving First Energy the ability to decouple annual revenue from the volume of energy sales. Regarding that provision, the criminal complaint quotes First Energy’s CEO as saying, “So, I get a question a lot about where I’m worried about a future recession. It’s 2 million customers in Ohio that this is going to help make sure that doesn’t impact us.”

Rader, therefore, believes it is imperative that the legislature conduct the due diligence lacking in the initial passage of HB6.

“As an employment lawyer who stands up for workers, I certainly want to preserve jobs in Lake County now and into the future,” Rader said. “However, evidence has come to light since HB6 was passed that casts into serious doubt whether the company actually needed public funding to preserve jobs, or instead is using the public money in order to increase shareholder profits.”

Rader further noted, “Legislators need to exercise independent judgment and oversight. This is why I have taken a no corporate PAC pledge. Voters need to be able to trust that their legislators are not just acting as corporate lobbyists but instead are truly representing their interests.”