Public Hearing on FirstEnergy Proposal Set for Tomorrow


We mentioned last month the growing debate over whether FirstEnergy and other regional energy giants should be granted their requests for locked-in fixed-rate contracts for customers. The measure, termed a "bailout" by critics, would guarantee rates for the company's customer base and thereby maintain operations at aging coal plants. 

The debate, in a sense, comes to Cleveland tomorrow when the final public hearing over FirstEnergy's proposal takes place at Cleveland City Hall (6 p.m., Room 216). 

Last week's hearing in Akron drew a fairly even split between the 'for' and 'against' sides of this issue. About 100 people showed up, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. An excerpt:
Geniro Dingle, 22, of Akron, said he feared that the plan would hurt low-income Akron residents who cannot afford more costly electric bills.

Critics called the utility’s proposal unnecessary and costly and said it would force customers to subsidize some of its power plants through a surcharge on electric bills over the next 15 years.

Support for the plan came from a range of elected and labor officials stretching from Akron to the Ohio River.

They included Summit County Executive Russ Pry; Richard Rebadow, executive vice president of the Greater Akron Chamber; Akron company owner Paul Thomario; and Fred Wright, president and CEO of the Akron Urban League.

All said they supported the plan because it would assure low-cost reliable electricity.

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