We attended a meeting held in Mentor on January 11th. The meeting was held to garner support from Lake County public officials to convince State officials to support the Perry Nuclear Plant and Davis Besse Power Plant in Ottawa County. (located in Northwest, Ohio). It was well attended by many of the mover and shakers of Lake County, representatives of the power plant, and public officials of Ottawa County.
As you may already know, the Perry Plant is in severe financial difficulties and is currently renegotiating their existing debt with their bond holders, ad hoc secured creditors (a formal committee formed to represent a group that has a claim to specific assets), and the unsecured creditors (they are the ones that usually get pennies on the dollar). They are working on a plan of re-organization from bankruptcy, and hope to be out of bankruptcy in the late 3rd or early 4th quarter of 2019, The new entity will have a new name and will have to file for a license with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), which is normally a six month process. The current license will expire in 2026 and any renewal would be for 20 years.
The major point that the Perry officials wanted to drive home is that this in not only a “Perry” problem, but it is a macro problem for all of Lake County. An Alliance group has been formed to get the message out regarding what needs to be done, and framing the solution in legislative form. In order for the Perry and the Davis Besse plants to remain open and remain viable for the long term, we are going to need support and approval from the State executives and legislators. That support would not have happened with former Governor Kasich, but has a glimmer of hope with Governor DeWine.
Commissioner Jerry Cirino lead the discussion and asked for each city, township, and village in Lake County to write resolutions supporting the Perry Nuclear Plant. This grassroots support is imperative since it is important that legislators in Columbus see that there is a broad based of support for the Perry Plant. The Lake County Commissioners will also be reaching out to other counties in the State asking for their support.
Here is a flyer prepared the Alliance detailing the economic impact to Ohio, Lake County and to the taxpayers.
We were given the following statistics about First Energy:
- $60 million in annual payroll
- Use 1,300 contractors
- Have 700 employees
- Service 1.2 million residents
- Donated $100 million to community charities such as United Way, Harvest for Hunger, Salvation Army, Adopt-a-Family
- Employees donate their time as volunteers for charitable causes in the community.
How dire is the financial condition of the Perry Plant? We were told that if nothing is done they will be in a “negative cash flow position” by 2021. (That means they will be spending more than they are taking in. That only works if you are the federal government – but eventually there are consequences for those foolish actions)
Sheriff Dunlap was there and expressed disappointment that the other Lake County police departments were not represented because the Perry facility has been extremely generous in providing communication systems for all Lake County departments. The Sheriff then asked the salient question about the ultimate additional cost to the Lake County when the new entity is formed. The Perry officials estimated that all Lake County residents will see approximately $1.40 – $2.50 per month added to their utility bill.
Commissioner Cirino reminded the audience that if the Perry Plant closes the property tax revenue will be reduced, requiring new tax levies by the individual municipalities. Commissioner Cirino was concerned about the impact on Lake County residents – especially seniors.
(LFC Comments: We agree with Commissioner Cirino and are also extremely concerned about the impact to our property taxes if the Perry Nuclear Plant should close. In 2018, Lake County lost $5,647,893 in property taxes because of the decrease in valuation of the Perry Plant. Here is a schedule we created last year, showing the impact to each community, from information we received from the Lake County Auditor’s office. impact of pu decrease in valuation
We will reach out to the Commissioners to get the total property tax decrease if the entire Perry Plant shuts down their operation. We would highly recommend that ALL residents reach out to their local city, village and township officials requesting that they write a resolution in support of the Perry Nuclear Plant. We will be contacting Concord Township trustees asking for their support)