PUCO staff amends proposed DP&L rates

Staff for the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) are recommending a revenue increase for Dayton Power & Light of about $23.2 million to $28.1 million a year, while also calling for cuts in plant equipment costs of nearly $102 million.

According to a recommendation filed by PUCO staff on Tuesday, a customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours of (kWh) electricity per month would see a bill increase of $4.11.

But that’s not accurate, a PUCO spokesman said Wednesday.

Staff corrected the earlier estimate Wednesday, saying the previous filing did not calculate in the staff’s recommended revenue requirement of $23 million to $28 million for DP&L.

“We can say simply that if PUCO staff recommendations are approved, (monthly) rates would fall by 39 cents for a 1,000 kWh user, compared to the level distribution rates are at today,” said Matt Schilling, a spokesman for the PUCO.

In 2016, the average annual electricity use for a U.S. residential customer was 10,766 kWh, an average of 897 kWh every month, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Earlier, Schilling also said that DP&L has proposed a fixed customer charge of $13.73 while PUCO staff has recommended just $7.88.

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A spokeswoman for DP&L on Tuesday said the company is reviewing the recommendation now.

In October 2015, DP&L first applied to PUCO for an increase in distribution rates across its entire 24-county West Central Ohio service area.

RELATEDPUCO: New DP&L plan raises rates.

The utility said its base rate for maintaining distribution equipment such as poles and wires has not changed since 1991.

A PUCO spokesman said hearings on the recommendation will take place this spring, but none had been scheduled as of Tuesday.

The next steps in the process include opportunities for parties in the case to file objections before the five-member PUCO issues its own order and opinion. And there could be further appeals after that.

PUCO staff also recommended a reduction in DP&L “plant in service” costs, or costs tied to the “surviving original cost of the plant that is used and useful, or projected to be used and useful.”

Echoing the findings of an audit, PUCO staff recommended a reduction in such costs of $101.6 million. It wasn’t immediately clear Tuesday where that kind of reduction in costs would fall or how it would be implemented.

The filing also excluded the “employee fitness equipment from the MacGregor Park Office (DP&L’s headquarters off Woodman Drive) and various Dayton Power & Light service centers” since these facilities “are not used and useful in the provision of utility service.”

A 2017 audit included in the filing said the company’s MacGregor Park headquarters building is “underutilized,” with about 135 employees.

Last month, DP&L told the state it intends of lay off about 60 Montgomery County employees.

In total, staff recommended a reduction in “plant in service” costs of about $101.9 million.

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