Groups File Protest over Ohio Edison Rate Increase Request

Citing a concern that FirstEnergy customers could be subjected to electric bill increases from approximately 4% to 30 % for Cleveland Electric Illuminating, 4% to 26% for Toledo Edison and 4% to 27% for Ohio Edison, the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel (OCC) and two major local government aggregation coalitions, representing all of FirstEnergy’s 1.9 million residential consumers, has filed briefs to ask the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to reject the utilities’ proposed electric security plan and the settlement of other parties that support it.

The high end of the potential electric bill increases would affect customers who use electricity for heating (known as all-electric customers).

The OCC, the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (representing 172 local communities in ten counties in Northeast Ohio) and the Northwest Ohio Aggregation Coalition (representing 11 local communities including Toledo and Lucas County) continued to make the case that FirstEnergy’s proposal, filed April 13, does not qualify for approval under state law.  NOPEC and NOAC provide governmental aggregation service to about 700,000 residential and small business customers of FirstEnergy in all three of the FirstEnergy service territories in Ohio.

FirstEnergy has described its proposal as merely an extension of its current electric security plan, which the PUCO approved in August 2010.  But the consumer groups have countered that FirstEnergy is seeking authorization to collect hundreds of millions of additional dollars from customers.

“I am concerned about the impact of FirstEnergy’s rate proposal on Ohio consumers, and particularly concerned about the adverse impact on customers with all-electric service,” Consumers’ Counsel Bruce J. Weston said.  “In the legal briefs filed today, the consumer groups are recommending that FirstEnergy’s proposal, to collect up to $405 million in new distribution costs from customers, be denied.”

The plan, if approved, will set generation and distribution rates for consumers of the three FirstEnergy Ohio utilities, from June 2014 to May 2016.

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