AKRON, Ohio (AP) – Federal regulators ask FirstEnergy Corp. refunds customers after an audit found the electricity supplier had failed to properly track some of the $71 million it spent lobbying for the center’s nuclear plant bailout of a state government bribery mechanism.
The audit found that improper accounting caused FirstEnergy to charge too many customers, and that the company may have done so to conceal or falsify how much it spent on lobbying and why. why.
It said $1.5 million in lobbying costs came from bidders.
Regulators have given the company 60 days to come up with a plan to refund customers, according to an audit released Friday by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
FirstEnergy spokesman Mark Durbin said the utility accepted the findings and recommendations in the audit and that changes in its accounting practices had been made or are underway.
FirstEnergy has faced multiple investigations for its role in a $60 million bribery scheme to win a 2019 legislative bailout for two nuclear plants operated at the time by a wholly owned subsidiary.
In July, the Akron-based company agreed to pay $230 million in fines to avoid federal prosecution.
FirstEnergy said it had made significant strides in reforming company policies after the scandal came to light in 2020 when federal officials arrested Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and 4 associates.
The Speaker, who was subsequently removed from his speakership and expelled from the House, pleaded not guilty to the federal conspiracy charges.
The audit released Friday found that FirstEnergy paid $25 million in lobbying costs related to the bailout, and FirstEnergy Solutions, a former subsidiary, paid $44 million.
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https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2022/02/04/firstenergy-must-repay-customers-over-lobbying-for-bailout/ FirstEnergy must pay back customer debt through lobbying for bailout – CBS Pittsburgh