State watchdog seeks probe of utility tied to bribery scheme

State watchdog seeks probe of utility tied to bribery scheme

CLEVELAND (AP) – Ohio’s consumer watchdog has asked a regulatory agency to conduct an independent investigation of the state’s largest electric utility, FirstEnergy Corp., that federal authorities have tied to a $60 million bribery scheme involving one of Ohio’s most powerful politicians.

The Ohio Consumers’ Counsel in a motion filed late Tuesday with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has asked that outside investigators examine whether money collected from consumers “was improperly used for any activities in connection with HB6 instead of for electric utility service.”

HB6 is now considered a tainted piece of legislation that, in part, created a $1 billion bailout of two Ohio nuclear power plants owned by a FirstEnergy subsidiary until early this year. The law requires a charge on all Ohio ratepayers’ electric bills to fund the nuclear bailout.

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The Consumers’ Counsel also asked that the investigation and a management audit determine whether FirstEnergy violated any state laws or regulations.

The investigation should examine

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