CLEVELAND — “The city must not delay any longer.”
That’s the message from Dennis Kucinich as he calls on Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and City Council President Kevin Kelley to join four other Ohio cities pursuing a lawsuit against FirstEnergy and to stop the imposition of House Bill 6.
“The City of Cleveland must take a stand to protect all utility customers in our community,” Kucinich, the city’s former mayor, said in a press release Monday. “CEI customers are facing an HB 6 rate increase lasting at least six years. Depending upon usage, the monthly increases will range from a minimum of .85 cents a month for smaller usage customers to $2,400 a month for CEI’s industrial customers,” Kucinich said.
Kucinich said the bill “will cost Ohioans an estimated $900 million in added charges to their utility bills.”
“Cleveland has had since last October to join Cincinnati and Columbus in this lawsuit to overturn the steep utility rate increases which will come from HB6,” Kucinich continued. “Our city must not temporize. The city must ask to join the case now. The discovery phase of the case is expected to begin in early March. This is a chance for the city to stand against the financial and political corruption of HB6 and stand up for our city’s utility consumers. This is also an important opportunity to learn through the discovery process the extent of FirstEnergy’s efforts to undermine Cleveland Public Power.”
The bill, which was passed by the Ohio General Assembly last year, provided a billion-dollar bailout to FirstEnergy and its affiliates and reportedly saved two nuclear power plants from closing in northern Ohio. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is also addressing “new developments” with the bill.
“We must protect our local economy, particularly the energy intensive steel industry and other manufacturers,” Kucinich added. “These unwarranted charges for utility service will be an additional drag on local economies, and therefore a job killer.”
Kucinich, meanwhile, has filed paperwork for a potential 2021 Cleveland mayoral bid.