State sets hearing on AES Ohio’s first distribution rate increase since 2015

Photo courtesy AES Ohio.

Combined ShapeCaption
Photo courtesy AES Ohio.

Staff recommends paring back proposed increase by nearly half.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has set a hearing date in what could be AES Ohio’s first rate increase since 2015 — and PUCO staff has recommended granting the electric utility a rate boost far smaller than it originally sought.

A PUCO staff report has recommended reducing the annual revenue requested by AES Ohio by nearly half — from $120,771,561 to a range between $61,115,418 to $66,665,151, said Matt Schilling, a spokesman for PUCO.

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If the commission passes what PUCO staff has recommended, a customer using 750 kilowatt-hours a month would see a 5.47% increase.

The increase sought by AES Ohio — formerly Dayton Power & Light (DP&L) — would have amounted to a 14.3% increase.

One kilowatt-hour is enough to watch TV for 10 hours or run a vacuum cleaner for an hour.

The case has been scheduled for an evidentiary hearing at PUCO’s Columbus offices beginning Oct. 4 . A pretrial hearing is set for Sept. 16.

A PUCO staff report is not final. The commission is expected to make a ruling after the hearing.

DP&L’s last distribution rate case was in 2015.

Meanwhile, the Office of the Ohio Consumer’s Counsel recently filed to dismiss the utility’s application to raise those rates.

The office argues that AES Ohio is prohibited from increasing base rates because it agreed to freeze base distribution rates in a 2009 PUCO-approved settlement.

The office argues that DP&L signed a settlement agreeing to a rate freeze for the duration of its “electric security plan,” called “ESP 1.”

“DP&L has gotten far more from consumers than it ever bargained for,” the office said in an Aug. 5 filing with PUCO. “Now, for once, it is time for consumers to get what they bargained for under the DP&L settlement: a freeze on DP&L’s base rates while ESP 1 is in effect. The PUCO should enforce the rate freeze. The way to do that is by denying the application and dismissing this case with prejudice for the duration of ESP 1.”

“We are currently reviewing the PUCO’s proposed recommendation and working through the regulatory process,” a representative of AES Ohio said Thursday.

AES Ohio serves more than 527,000 customer accounts, representing 1.25 million people in West Central Ohio.

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