PUCO adopts settlement agreement in AEP Ohio electric security plan
COLUMBUS, OHIO (April 25, 2018) – The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) today adopted a settlement agreement to establish an electric security plan (ESP) for AEP Ohio through May 31, 2024.
“Today’s order establishes long-term regulatory stability for AEP Ohio and its customers, as the rate plan extends into 2024” stated PUCO Chairman Asim Z. Haque. “Our decision provides for continued investment in reliable power delivery while also spurring innovation through its support of the Smart City Columbus project. This mix of old and new, which arose from a nearly unanimously unopposed settlement stipulation, continues to strengthen the grid while also taking advantage of innovation.”
The agreement continues to use a competitive bidding process to establish default generation rates for AEP Ohio’s customers who have not elected to receive service from a competitive supplier.
The Commission modified the settlement to remove an obligation for AEP Ohio to file a specific rate design proposal in its next distribution rate case that would increase the utility’s fixed customer charge. In doing so, the Commission noted it is instead examining all of Ohio’s electric distribution utilities’ rate designs through its PowerForward initiative.
AEP Ohio will pursue two programs throughout its territory related to the Smart City Columbus project. AEP Ohio will administer a $10 million rebate program for electric vehicle charging stations. The company will make rebates available to qualifying public, government, workplace and multi-unit residences, with a portion reserved for low-income areas. AEP Ohio will also pursue microgrid projects with non-profit or public-serving customers. AEP Ohio will collect up to $10.5 million during the term of the ESP for the microgrid projects.
The agreement allows AEP Ohio to continue to recover its incremental costs from annual upgrades to its distribution infrastructure and vegetation management program until the utility files a new distribution rate case. AEP Ohio will be required to file a distribution rate case with the PUCO by June 1, 2020.
AEP Ohio will also continue to fund its low-income Neighbor-to-Neighbor bill assistance until new rates are effective following the distribution rate case.
On May 13, 2016, AEP Ohio filed an application to extend and modify its current electric security plan through May 31, 2024. AEP Ohio amended its application on Nov. 23, 2016.
On Aug. 25, 2017, a settlement agreement intended to resolve their positions in the case was reached by AEP Ohio, PUCO staff, Ohio Energy Group, Ohio Hospital Association, Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition, Environmental Law and Policy Center, Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy, Electric Vehicle Charging Association, Ohio Manufacturers’ Association Energy Group, IGS, Ohio Environmental Council, Environmental Defense Fund, Retail Energy Supply Association, National Resource Defense Council, Sierra Club, Industrial Energy Users – Ohio, and Constellation NewEnergy.
The PUCO held local public hearings to allow AEP Ohio customers to offer testimony regarding the company’s application. Hearings were held in Bucyrus, Marietta and Columbus in April 2017, and an additional hearing in Columbus in February 2018. An evidentiary hearing also occurred in November 2017.
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) is the sole agency charged with regulating public utility service. The role of the PUCO is to assure all residential, business and industrial consumers have access to adequate, safe and reliable utility services at fair prices while facilitating an environment that provides competitive choices. Consumers with utility-related questions or concerns can call the PUCO Call Center at (800) 686-PUCO (7826) and speak with a representative.
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