Follow KDKA-TV: Facebook | Twitter

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Long-anticipated legislation to pump hundreds of millions of ratepayer dollars into Pennsylvania’s five nuclear power plants is being introduced.

READ MORE: Manhunt Intensifies In Search For Brian Laundrie, Fiancee Of Missing 22-Year-Old Gabby Petito

Monday’s bill unveiling could usher in heated debate over whether the plants deserve what critics call a bailout.

The debate in Pennsylvania’s Capitol will run up against a June 1 deadline. That’s when Three Mile Island’s owner, Chicago-based Exelon, says it’ll start shutting down the financially struggling plant that was the site of a terrifying partial meltdown in 1979.

READ MORE: Pa. State Police Searching For Valentine Eiler, Missing 80-Year-Old Man Near Meadville

MIDDLETOWN, PA – MARCH 28: The Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant is seen in the early morning hours March 28, 2011 in Middletown, Pennsylvania. (Photo Jeff Fusco/Getty Images)

The plan’s sponsor, Rep. Thomas Mehaffie, projects it’ll cost ratepayers around $500 million a year, or the average household $1.77 a month.

Mehaffie says that cost pales in comparison to the multibillion-dollar hit to Pennsylvania’s economy if the plants shut down.

But opponents say most of Pennsylvania’s nuclear power plants are profitable.

MORE NEWS: Pittsburgh Weather: Warm Temperatures For Last Day Of Summer

(© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)