The Ohio Manufacturers Association Energy Group thinks electric bills need to be lower, arguing that rates were set with the earlier 35 percent federal tax rate in mind.
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“Now, under the (federal tax cut), each utility is collecting the same amount from customers, but doing so while paying significantly less to the federal government for income tax,” the association said in its Aug. 13 filing.
Ohio grocer Kroger agreed.
“The utilities are currently collecting rates from customers based on an assumption that the federal corporate income tax rate is still 35 percent,” Kroger said in its filing to the PUCO.
When the PUCO first raised the idea of lowering electric rates earlier this year, Ohio utilities — including DP&L, FirstEnergy, American Electric Power and Duke Energy — objected that lowering rates now would amount to “retroactive rate-making.”
In its own recent filing, American Electric Power argues that the PUCO “is not permitted to unilaterally engage in single-issue ratemaking or change base rates without following the statutory process.”
The Ohio Consumers Counsel has argued that electric rates should be cheaper.
“Some Ohio utilities are trying to turn this into an opportunity to enrich their shareholders by keeping the tax savings for themselves,” the counsel’s office said in its Aug. 13 brief.
In June DP&L said it had filed a stipulation on its electric distribution rates case with the PUCO, which was signed by 15 parties and PUCO staff.
If the stipulation is approved by the PUCO, the average residential customer in DP&L’s service area, using 1,000 kWh on DP&L’s “standard service” offer, can expect a monthly bill increase of $2.64.
DP&L said the distribution rates reflected the new tax rates.