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Newsletter - Spring 2018

PowerForward: Looking ahead

Phase 3 might be over but the work of PowerForward continues. Watch below to see what the PUCO commissioners had to say about the entire process and what's coming next.

In the news

Commission approves new AEP electric security plan

AEP Ohio, an American Electric Power company received approval of its Electric Security Plan (ESP) from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) on April 25, 2018. The ESP allows AEP Ohio to expand access to renewable generation and electric vehicle (EV) charging, while continuing to enhance distribution grid reliability. PUCO Chairman Asim Haque noted:

“Today’s Commission decision on AEP Ohio’s electric security plan or ESP application is noteworthy for a few reasons:

  • First, stability. This decision represents stability for AEP customers. The rates that will be set as a result of today’s decision will be in place until May 31, 2024. ESPs are big cases. They are time intensive and they are very litigious. To have stability in the AEP footprint until May 31, 2024 is a very good thing for AEP’s current customers and for job creation in AEP’s service territory.
  • In fact, with this decision, and assuming that some form of the universal settlement stipulation filed in the Duke service territory is approved this year, we will have rate stability for all four of our electric utilities until the mid 2020s. This will mark the longest period of rate stability in the state since the passage of the ESP statute.
  • Second, collaboration between the parties. This decision represents a collaborative effort amongst almost all of the parties in this case. 27 of the 28 parties that intervened in this case have either signed or do not oppose this settlement. I’d like to compliment our staff and specifically Chief Analyst Howard Petricoff for leading these negotiations. I’d also like to thank the parties for their willingness to compromise. Industrials, environmental and residential groups, large retail employers, competitive suppliers and a host of others support this settlement.
  • AEP themselves conceded much from their original application, including their original request for a very large fixed customer charge.
  • Finally, the Commission supports the Columbus Smart Cities endeavor through this decision by allowing for an EV rebate program, the deployment of microgrids, and other items that will serve to support AEP’s commitment to this initiative.”

As a result of the ESP, a typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month will see an average bill increase of approximately 11 cents per month.

Part of the new ESP includes a new rate schedule for county fairgrounds that allows them to reduce their bills in the months that they do not operate. 

AEP said in a release, “Our customers want reliability and access to advanced technologies, such as EV charging stations, microgrids and renewable energy resources,” said Julie Sloat, AEP Ohio president and chief operating officer. “Our plan allows us to bring these services, which also will support economic development in Ohio, to customers across the state. The ESP enables us to continue our investments in the electric grid to provide reliable power and help advance the new technologies and cleaner energy that our customers want.” See more here: 

Tax reduction to be returned to utility customers

The Commission rejected legal arguments from the state’s four electric utilities challenging the PUCO’s authority to examine the impacts of the reduction in corporate income tax on utility rates, saying American Electric Power, Dayton Power & Light, Duke Energy and FirstEnergy - and all regulated companies - must continue to set aside all money from the tax cut until plans are made to return funds to customers.

In issuing the ruling PUCO Chairman Haque said,

“…Congress reduced the federal corporate income tax rate paid by the utilities. The utilities recover their tax obligations from customers through their rates. So, if the tax rate is reduced, and the utilities are paying less to the federal government yet still collecting from their customers based upon the old tax rate, then they are receiving a windfall. That money is not theirs. It is their customers. The Commission opened this investigation to receive comment on how overcollection in taxes should be returned to customers, not if it should be returned. To those utilities who are working productively with the PUCO to ensure that your customers are not wrongly overpaying, I am grateful to you. In fact, the Commission has already approved many of our utilities plans to reduce rates. Ohio, along with other states, will continue to work to return the tax savings to customers. To those utilities, specifically our electric distribution utilities, that appear to be fighting us based upon legal grounds: Your legal arguments are denied. Continue to set aside money as of January 1, 2018 that is rightfully due to customers, and be productive with us in trying to figure out how that money will be returned to the people and businesses of Ohio.”

2017 Rail Stats book now available

Curious about the safety of railroad crossings in your county? Check out the 2017 Rail Statistics Report from the PUCO.
The PUCO prepares this report each year to help legislators, county engineers, safety advocates and members of the public understand public grade crossing safety trends.
Included in this report are statistics about 2017 railroad crashes, including where, when and why they happened. Also included are detailed crash report pages for each county going back six years. 
Expanded features of this year's report include an updated design, more detailed trend analysis and links to a new interactive database that allows users to filter and get specific details on each crash.
That database is available here
In addition to crash information, readers can learn more about crash prevention with statistics and maps on PUCO-approved safety improvements.
That information is also available here.

Rollout of the PUCO Community offers regulated businesses a time-and money-saving online system

The PUCO continues to modernize and streamline its business processes, recently launching the new online PUCO Community. Currently, regulated companies may file their annual report and pay annual assessments and view active and inactive certificates.  The Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) assessment report was recently added. And coming soon, businesses will be able to update important business contacts on file with the PUCO, work to resolve investigations and consumer concerns sent to the PUCO Call Center and other important business transactions - all in a secure, transparent online environment.

PUCO website now available in 100+ languages

From Africkaans to Zulu, the PUCO website is now available in over one hundred different languages, thanks to Google Translate. To view the website in your preferred language, scroll to the bottom of any PUCO page and select from the dropdown menu. Translation is only available on webpages and doesn't extend to PDFs or images.

Upcoming events

June 5 - 7: International Roadcheck

PUCO inspectors will be participating in the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) International Roadcheck June 5-7, 2018. Over that 72-hour period,inspectors in jurisdictions throughout North America will conduct inspections of commercial motor vehicles and drivers. This year’s focus is on hours-of-service compliance. When drivers are able to stay rested and alert, all Ohioans on the road are safer!

June 7: AEP transmission line hearing

The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) will hold a hearing to allow the public to express their views about AEP Ohio Transmission Company’s (AEP Ohio Transco) proposal to build a new 138 kilovolt electric transmission line spanning southern Monroe County and northeastern Washington County. The local public hearing is scheduled as follows:

June 7, 2018, at 6 p.m.
Frontier High School – Cafeteria
44870 State Route 7
New Matamoras, Ohio 45767
More information about the proposed line is available here.

July 19: Icebreaker Windpower public hearing

The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) will hold a second local hearing to allow the public to express their views about Icebreaker Windpower, Inc.’s application to construct a wind-powered electric generation facility in Lake Erie. The local public hearing is scheduled as follows:

July 19, 2018, at 6 p.m.
Cleveland City Council Chambers
Cleveland City Hall
2nd Floor – Room 216
601 Lakeside Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44114
More information about that project is available here. 

Consumer Info

Call before you dig

Big outdoor projects this summer? Remember to call 811 before you start digging to avoid underground utility lines.


Summer energy conservation tips

Summer heat can send your bills soaring. To keep costs low, follow our recommended tips.


What to know when hiring a moving company

Before deciding to hire a mover, there are a few things you should know to keep your stuff safe.


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