AEP to postpone increase in Ohio monthly fees after reaching settlement
- American Electric Power will postpone a proposal to more than double monthly fees in Ohio, putting it off until a distribution case in 2020 allows for a closer review.
- AEP, staff of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and more than a dozen other parties reached the agreement. However, the Columbus Dispatch reports the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel did not sign on.
- AEP's proposal would raise monthly fees from $8.40 to $18.40, over a two year period. Instead, under the settlement the utility could begin collecting less than $1 per month more.
The Columbus Dispatch reports there is no schedule on how the settlement will move forward, but a $10 increase in monthly fees will be considered in 2020 as part of a distribution plan that will allow parties more scrutiny.
Also under the settlement, AEP could begin collecting a Renewable Generation Rider, and would spend more than $10 million to test microgrids. Another $10 million goes towards incentives for electric vehicles.
The Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel rejected the settlement, noting that AEP "already charges Ohio consumers higher bills and profits than its consumers pay in the other states where it operates." Groups in favor of the settlement, included the Ohio Energy Group, the Ohio Manufacturers Association; Environmental Law & Policy Center, Sierra Club; Wal-Mart and Kroger.
The Public Utilities Commission must still approve the settlement. The settlement comes as AEP, along with FirstEnergy, is pushing efforts for partial re-regulation in efforts to save embattled coal plants.
Five years ago, AEP along with Dayton Power & Light proposed a bill rider to help the utilities transition to market-based pricing. But last year, the Ohio Supreme Court rejected those riders.
Now, AEP is continuing efforts to restructure power markets in Ohio, but is not pushing for broad re-regulation of Ohio markets. AEP won support for struggling coal and nuclear generation in 2016, but federal regulators subsequently blocked the deals, leading the company to sell off plants and move toward restructuring legislation.
Clarification: This post has been updated to clarify the Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel's statement.
- The Columbus Dispatch AEP fee increase plan postponed in wide-ranging rate settlement
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