- AEP Ohio wants to more than double its fixed charges on all consumers, Midwest Energy News reports, a request that mirrors similar debates going on in many states.
- AEP says a growth in net metering customers are resulting in a "cost-shift" as such users are pushing grid upkeep costs onto non-net metering customers.
- In Ohio, AEP has proposed raising its fixed charge from $8.40 per month to $18.40.
It's a familiar story: Last year, regulators decided 37 fixed charge cases, according to the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center. While 16 were dismissed, on average the approvals were for about a 20% increase. Requests to increase fixed charges is a popular move by utilities who claim such users fail to pay their fair share for grid upkeep, shifting the costs to non-solar customers.
In this case, an AEP spokesperson told Midwest Energy News that the increase to a customer's fixed costs was being driven by an increase in customers with solar panels—from about 300 in 2011, to almost 1,000 today. The argument is similar to Wisconsin, whose utilities proposed a variety of solutions over the past two years, mostly raising fixed charges, to cover costs from a nascent, but growing, solar market.
In another Midwestern state, Oklahoma Gas and Electric proposed doubling its monthly customer service charge and also install separate demand charge that it says would better capture a customer's peak demand costs on the grid, and help manage costs associated with solar net metering customers.
OGE's numbers are similar to AEP. The Oklahoma utility has 350 rooftop solar customers and service territory of 800,000. In Ohio, AEP serves 1.5 million.