Electric Utility News: Now what?

PUCO Hearing: Monday, January 12 at 6:30, Ocasek Building, 161 S. High, downtown Akron

Please join us the evening of July 12 in Akron at the Public Utilities Commission (PUCO) hearing on the FirstEnergy request to raise electric rates.

As you read in the September-October Signal Tree, Ohio’s largest electric utilities are seeking approval from the PUCO to bill customers for long term contracts with aging coal-powered plants owned by the utilities.

One aspect of utility deregulatation begun in Ohio 15 years ago was to separate  electricity generation and transmission.  Customers were no longer required to buy the power generated by plants owned by their utilities’ parent companies.  This gave customers more choices.  It also made it likely that the oldest, least efficient and costliest plants would be closed.

Now First Energy, American Electric Power (AEP), and Duke Energy are claiming that they have to maintain  power purchasing agreements with their generating utilities as a hedge against market volatility.  They argue that, while less costly sources are available now, a time will come when electricity from these old plants will be the best bargain around.  Therefore customers should pay for long term contracts to keep the plants, including some of the dirtiest coal-powered plants in the country, in operation.  These power purchasing agreements would cost Ohio ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

Under this arrangement  customers would pay more than necessary and subsidize the very worst form of electricity generation and subsidize corporate managers who are determined to wring the last dollar of profit from their obsolete facilities, the impact on their customers’ health and our climate be damned.

Hearings on the FirstEnergy petition will be held in Akron, Toledo, and Cleveland in January.  We expect that FirstEnergy will attempt to pack the hearing room in their Akron home base.  Please join us so that theirs is not the only voice heard.

For more details about FirstEnergy’s petition to the PUCO and the ways in which you can be heard, contact Energy Chair Colleen Orsburn at colleen.orsburn@gmail.com.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s