THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

Court ruling could mean higher electric bills

U.S. Judge Alan Koschik last week approved a motion to allow FirstEnergy Solutions to reject a multi-company power agreement — an agreement that includes Dayton Power and Light (DP&L) — that requires the participating companies to help keep older coal plants running until the year 2040.

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Some observers say that unless the decision is overturned on appeal, the result may be that Ohio consumers of DP&L, American Electric Power and Duke will pay higher electric bills to cover the remaining costs that FirstEnergy Solutions will no longer pay.

Together, DP&L and the other companies, including FirstEnergy, are part of the Ohio Valley Electric Corporation (OVEC), a group which jointly runs and pays for two 60-year-old coal-fired power plants.

The Ohio River plants are the 1,086-megawatt Kyger Creek plant in Ohio and the 1,304-MW Clifty Creek plant in Indiana.

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The Office of the Ohio Consumers Counsel (OCC) has expressed alarm about FirstEnergy’s bankruptcy case for some time.

The office holds that Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has approved riders, or charges, allowing other Ohio utilities to charge “captive monopoly customers for above-market OVEC-related costs.”

“Thus, there is a strong likelihood that AEP, DP&L, and Duke would ask the PUCO to allow charges to their consumers for (FirstEnergy’s) share of OVEC costs and that the PUCO would allow the charges to consumers,” the OCC office said in a court filing.

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