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Thu Jun 20, 2019, 04:51 AM

Ohio Supreme Court nixes FirstEnergy electric grid charge

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Supreme Court has struck down a FirstEnergy charge that had been added to power bills and has cost customers well over $150 million a year.

The court ruled Wednesday that the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio’s authorization of the charge, which began appearing on customers’ bills in 2017, was improper. The charge was called a “distribution modernization rider.” But PUCO placed no conditions on the company to ensure that it would, in fact, use the money for upgrades to the distribution system, the court concluded.

Rather, PUCO may have wanted the rider to provide more money to FirstEnergy Corp. to improve its credit rating, as the commission’s staff members suggested. PUCO staff had indicated that the rider could serve as an incentive for FirstEnergy to modernize its power distribution systems.

“The PUCO’s staff’s wishful thinking cannot take the place of real requirements, restrictions, or conditions by the commission for the use of DMR funds,” wrote Ohio Justice Michael P. Donnelly, in the court’s lead opinion.

Read more: https://www.cleveland.com/open/2019/06/ohio-supreme-court-nixes-firstenergy-electric-grid-charge.html

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