AEP / Fixed Rate Hikes / Utilities

AEP Ohio rate plan excludes merchant generation

AEP's Conesville Power Station Credit: Delta Whiskey, Creative Commons

AEP’s Conesville Power Station | Credit: Delta Whiskey, Creative Commons

COLUMBUS — “AEP Ohio proposed a new retail rate plan that would more than triple residential customers’ fixed charges and shift more costs to customers that do not purchase their power through a competitive supplier.

But the company’s request for a six-year extension of its ‘Electric Security Plan’ (ESP) lacks the controversial proposals in its last rate case to subsidize the company’s merchant generation — a plan that crumbled after FERC said it would be subject to its review. Instead, the company is hoping Ohio legislators will agree to revamp the state’s deregulation law to allow it to bring its merchant generation back into the rate base.

The utility said it expects the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to decide on its Nov. 23 request in April (16-1852-EL-SSO).

…If the extension is not approved, AEP says it will terminate the current plan before its May 2018 expiration, freeing it from its promise to build 900 MW of renewable generation.

AEP Ohio, a subsidiary of American Electric Power, had requested a 2024 expiration date when it applied in 2013 for its third and current ESP, but PUCO in 2015 approved a three-year plan.

…The proposal also includes adding or modifying several other riders to customer bills, such as an ‘alternative energy rider’ to recover expenses for renewable energy credits. It also would more than triple the residential customer charge from $5/month to $18.40 by January 2018 while reducing the share of fixed charges included in distribution energy charges.

AEP committed in the last rate case to developing 500 MW of wind generation and 400 MW of solar generation in its stakeholder agreement. The extension proposal includes commitments to install between eight and 10 microgrids, 250 electric-vehicle charging stations and self-dimming street lighting in Franklin and 10 surrounding counties.”

— Rory D. Sweeney and Rich Heidorn Jr., RTO Insider

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