“Today’s decision by the Ohio Supreme Court — that DP&L should not have charged consumers above the market price of electricity — gives Ohioans a benefit of competitive markets for the future,” Ohio Consumers’ Counsel Bruce Weston said in a statement.
DP&L has already collected $250 million from customers under the plan, according to Weston. Customers will not see a refund in this amount because the Supreme Court does not allow retroactive refunds.
“The decision should spare consumers from paying up to $80 million to DP&L,” Weston said. “But it is unfortunate that consumers, with a poverty level of 35 percent in Dayton, already paid a quarter billion dollars to DP&L that they likely will not get back.”
The charge is about $5 a month for the average DP&L customer.
Messages seeking reaction were sent to a DP&L spokeswoman and a spokesman for the Industrial Energy Users of Ohio, a trade group that says it represents companies that spend $3 billion per year on electricity and natural gas and employ more than 250,000 people in Ohio.
Matt Schilling, a PUCO spokesman, said the commission is reviewing the ruling.
The utility had sought approval for the plan to shoulder changes in the market. With a new federal emphasis on “cleaner”-burning fuels, traditional coal-burning generation is expected to get more expensive for power companies.
Power utilities are increasingly expected to use an array of fuel sources — including coal, natural gas and “alternative” sources, like wind and solar. But there’s a price for that “diversity,” DP&L President and Chief Executive Tom Raga has said.
“There’s a small charge to keep reliability, keep the fuel diversity, since prices won’t be as volatile, it keeps price stability in there,” Raga told the Dayton Daily News in a February interview.
In reversing the ruling, Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor with justices Paul Pfeifer, Terrence O’Donnell, William O’Neill, Sharon Kennedy and Judith French concurred. Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger dissented.