“There could be several types (of agreement),” Schilling said. “You could get every single party to sign on, everyone to agree to a single set of terms. But you might actually get one or two or three or four of them (of the interested parties) to settle.”
He added; “Every who signs on to it, it would resolve their issues.”
Even after a settlement with most parties, it’s possible some opposition to higher rates may remain, Schilling also said.
A representative of the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, which has opposed any increase of distribution rates for the former Dayton Power & Light, said the office is a participant in talks but declined further comment.
“We cannot discuss those settlement talks,” AES Ohio spokeswoman Mary Ann Kabel said Tuesday. “The continuing of the hearing is a procedural step to allow time for confidential settlement negotiations.”
Schilling could not say who is participating in the talks, but the Ohio Manufacturers Association Energy Group, Walmart Inc., the University of Dayton, Kroger, the Retail Energy Supply Association, Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy, the Ohio Hospital Association and others have either filed documents in the case or are listed in the PUCO case docket as parties of record, indicating a level of interest.
The increase first sought by AES Ohio would have amounted to a 14.3% increase in customer bills.
However, PUCO staff last summer recommended reducing the annual revenue requested by nearly half — from $120 million to a range between $61.1 million and $66.6 million.
If the commission passes what PUCO staff has recommended, a customer using 750 kilowatt-hours a month would see a 5.47% increase in their bill.
The utility has said it has the lowest residential rates across Ohio’s investor-owned utilities and among the lowest residential rates in the country.
AES Ohio serves more than 527,000 customer accounts, representing 1.25 million people in West Central Ohio.