FirstEnergy Solutions: Proposed AEP Ohio Settlement Would Shut Out Successful Governmental Aggregation Programs on November Ballots

Plan will deny electric savings to more than 300,000 eligible households in Ohio

Sep 28, 2011, 16:03 ET from FirstEnergy Corp.

AKRON, Ohio, Sept. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A proposal by AEP Ohio would effectively prevent more than 50 communities – comprising more than 300,000 households – from receiving the benefits of governmental aggregation programs that are currently on the November ballots, according to testimony filed on September 27, 2011, by FirstEnergy Solutions (FES).  FES is opposing a proposed settlement in AEP Ohio's Electric Security Plan that is currently before the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO).  

The proposed settlement includes various provisions which effectively operate as a cap to shopping and would prevent a majority of AEP Ohio's customers from shopping between 2012 and mid-2015.  The timing and design of these caps would be particularly damaging to governmental aggregation efforts.

Hundreds of communities across Ohio currently offer residential and small business customers electricity savings through governmental aggregation programs.  However, due to the shopping caps, the anticipated savings from the programs being considered by voters in AEP Ohio's territory could be eliminated.   The plan would essentially block municipal aggregation in AEP Ohio's territory for three more years – at a time when electricity prices are at historic lows and many homeowners and small business owners are struggling in a sluggish economy.

"State law requires the promotion and development of governmental aggregation.  It's a proven, effective means of reducing energy costs for Ohio's families and small businesses," said Donald R. Schneider, president of FES.  "Given this mandate, and the PUCO's mission to facilitate an environment that provides competitive choices, communities should be given priority under AEP's plan – not moved to the back of the line.  The best avenue to economic growth is providing access to low cost, reliable electricity.  Instead, this plan inhibits shopping and makes AEP Ohio customers pay a billion dollars in above-market rates for the term of the plan."

FirstEnergy Solutions and many other competitive retail electric suppliers are prepared to provide AEP Ohio customers with savings for their homes and businesses.

"The proposed settlement harms customers through higher rates and has the effect of holding them captive to AEP Ohio's service offer by effectively preventing suppliers from offering competitively priced electricity to those customers," says Schneider.

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