Next DP&L leader will face changing company, utility needs

Dayton Power and Light’s next chief executive will take over a power company that has greatly changed in past years with workforce and business restructuring.

For the second time in less than a year, the company that supplies power to 515,000 customers in 24 counties throughout west central Ohio announced this week a change at the company’s helm.

Craig Jackson, DP&L president and CEO, will leave the company at year’s end to spend more time with his family and search for new professional opportunities, the utility said this week.

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DP&L owner AES Corp.’s Strategic Business Unit (SBU) said Jackson — who also serves as president and CEO of Indianapolis Power & Light Co. (IPL) — has resigned effective Dec. 31, 2018. The company has begun a search for Jackson’s successor.

“As a result of Craig’s leadership, we refocused our business strategy in DP&L and exited the generation business in Ohio. At IPL, we’ve invested over $2 billion in ‘greening’ our generation portfolio and providing reliable and affordable energy to IPL customers,” Lisa Krueger, AES US SBU president, said in a release.

DP&L is a utility whose regulatory filings in recent years have expressed concern about its financial position. And Jackson himself ascended to the CEO’s office in an AES restructuring announced earlier this year, a restructuring that saw 160 jobs cut in Ohio and Indiana.

Jackson at the time replaced Tom Raga, who was named executive vice president of DP&L’s holding company, DPL Inc.

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DP&L has sent signals about its financial stability for years. In applying for state permission to enact new charges in 2016, DP&L told the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) that “Without approval of the company’s (distribution and modernization rider), both DP&L and its parent DPL Inc. would be unable to maintain their financial integrity.”

In June 2016, S&P Global Ratings ruled that an Ohio Supreme Court ruling that month had “increased the likelihood of a weaker financial profile, reflecting weaker financial measures for DPL and DP&L that could result in a near-term ratings downgrade.”

DP&L declined to make Jackson available for an interview this week. But a utility spokeswoman insisted the company is on a solid footing today. She noted that the PUCO has in recent months approved new DP&L riders for distribution expenses and electric security protection.

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“That is a very bright future for the service territory,” DP&L spokeswoman Mary Ann Kabel said. “With that comes grid modernization, investments in our infrastructure, leading to a smarter energy future. So let’s put that in perspective.

“We’re moving forward,” she added. “That’s key. Craig’s leadership and work to get us to that point and through that approval process were key.”

She called Jackson’s decision an “inflection point” and a “personal decision” to “spend more time with his family.”

Said Kabel: “Now we have the company on a good path.”

Over the years, DP&L and its foundation have been a big supporter of the Dayton Art Institute and many other local organizations.

This July, the DP&L Foundation announced $455,000 in grants to the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance, the Victoria Theater Association, the Friends of Levitt Dayton, the Omega Community Development Corp. and the Murphy Theater Co.

In all, the foundation said it has awarded 57 “power grants” to 24 local organizations totaling more than $4 million.

Michael Roediger, CEO of the Dayton Art Institute, said Thursday he does not see Jackson’s resignation as a threat to the utility’s continued local support.

“I don’t see that as being a problem,” Roediger said.

The Office of the Ohio Consumers Counsel, which has been persistently critical of DP&L in recent months, declined to comment on the leadership change.

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