Agencies urge FERC to cut utility transmission rates to reflect corporate tax cut

The Ohio Consumers’ Counsel on Tuesday urged in a letter that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission expedite an investigation into fees gas and electric utilities charge to pay corporate taxes because those taxes have been cut from 35 percent to 21 percent.

At stake for consumers, the OCC noted, are immediately lower heating and power bills instead of iffy refunds at an unknown future date.

“If immediate action is not taken, electric and natural gas consumers in Ohio will be charged excessive rates for their electric and natural gas services,” the letter stated.

“Utilities, including those in Ohio, are already collecting and accumulating excessive customer charges previously approved to pay the 35 percent tax rate,” the letter warned, denying customers “the full rate reduction they are entitled to.”

At least 19 other states had already petitioned the FERC, which, according to a spokeswoman, has not yet made a decision on their petitions.

The initial petition signed by attorneys general and consumer advocates of 18 states asked the FERC — as the OCC now has — to immediately revise interstate tax formulas rather than wait for a “true-up” later. And they asked the FERC to immediately set a refund date.

At stake across the nation, they argued, are “hundreds of millions of dollars” in over-payments already being collected by gas pipelines and utilities that move power across state borders.

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