Ohio Commission Will Vote This Week on Whether to Require Ratepayers to Bail Out 2 Utilities

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享John Funk for the Cleveland Plain Dealer:The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio said late Tuesday it will vote Thursday on requests from FirstEnergy and American Electric Power to have customers help subsidize continued operations of older power plants.FirstEnergy in August 2014 filed a new rate plan containing unprecedented “power purchase agreements” between FirstEnergy Solutions, its unregulated company that owns its power plants, and its traditional utilities like the Illuminating Co., that are today just distribution companies.The agreements as proposed would have the Illuminating Co., Ohio Edison and Toledo Edison buy all of the electricity produced by the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant on Lake Erie and the coal-fired W.H. Sammis coal-fired plant on the Ohio River.The distribution companies would pay FirstEnergy Solutions whatever it cost to generate the power plus a 10.38 percent profit — and then immediately sell that power into the wholesale grid.If the companies received less money in the competitive markets where lower-priced power from gas-fired plants sets the pace, then customers would have to make up the difference.Extra charges would appear on the delivery side of their bills, meaning no customer could avoid the charges, even those customers buying power from other companies.FirstEnergy initially asked that the power purchase agreements run for 15 years but later agreed to an eight-year plan during negotiations with the staff of the PUCO.The company agreed that that plan would cost customers in its initial years but has steadfastly argued that it would save them money in later years because the cost of natural gas would rise over time, increasing the price of power from gas-fired power plants.Experts retained by the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel and the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC) calculated that each of FirstEnergy’s 1.9 million residential customers could pay as much as $800 in higher bills, on average, over the next eight years (later updated in a federal case to $1,100 extra).The total additional costs shouldered by all FirstEnergy customers could reach $5.15 billion, the agency and NOPEC argued.Similarly, the OCC/NOPEC expert calculated that each of AEP’s 1.3 million residential customers could pay as much as $700 in higher bills, on average, over the next eight years (later updated in a federal case to $1,000 extra).The total additional costs borne by all Ohio Power customers could reach $3.1 billion, the agency and NOPEC argued.PUCO to decide FirstEnergy power plant subsidy case Thursday Ohio Commission Will Vote This Week on Whether to Require Ratepayers to Bail Out 2 Utilitieslast_img

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