FERC Decision On Nuclear Plants Could Be Expensive For Perry Schools And Others

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The future of Ohio’s two nuclear power plants is up in the air following a decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Monday. FERC’s decision may have profound impacts on Perry Local Schools in Lake County.

In the 1980’s when the Perry Nuclear Plant was new, Perry Local Schools were flush with property taxes and built new luxurious school buildings that made them the Beverly Hills of Ohio school districts.

“There was some good times back in those days,” said Jack Thompson, superintendent of Perry Local Schools today. “We have not passed an operating levy since 1976.” 

They haven’t had to. 

But last year the state devalued the nuclear plant property meaning a $2.3 million dollar hit to the district. Most of that will be made up by state funding.  

But now the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has rejected a Trump Administration proposal to subsidize coal and nuclear plants.

Thompson says if the Perry plant is shut down it would be a devastating blow to the school district.

“We’re talking about upwards of 60 percent of our revenue. In a $22-23 million budget it could be $15 million total,” Thompson said.

There are a couple lifelines for coal and nuclear. Some Ohio legislators want the state to help them. And FERC has given electrical grid operators 60 days to issue their opinion on the bail-out.    

FirstEnergy spokesman, Jennifer Young, says the company will complete a review of its generation facilities sometime this year and decide what to do with them.

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