AEP / Coal

AEP rate increase creating static

Schools, governments join small businesses in disbelief over hike

COLUMBUS — “Small businesses aren’t the only ones upset about the sudden increase in American Electric Power bills: Schools and governments are reacting with disbelief that their bills are jumping so dramatically. And the fallout will affect taxpayers.

Economists, meanwhile, say the rising costs are bad news for Ohio’s struggling economy because they could put the state at a competitive disadvantage.

…The rate increases will ‘have a devastating effect on job creation,’ predicted James Newton, chief economic adviser for Commerce National Bank in Columbus. ‘It is basically shooting a torpedo into the economic ship of state, and it’s just plain stupid and self-destructive.’

Gov. John Kasich will not step in, said his spokesman, Rob Nichols. Kasich is going to let the PUCO handle the situation: ‘We don’t micromanage utility-rate cases.’

In this case, rates are rising because of provisions the PUCO approved that shift costs from the largest businesses to small ones, and because of AEP costs that were deferred from previous years. All the components add up to rate increases of up to 40 percent for some customers.”

— Charlie Boss and  Dan Gearino, Columbus Disptach

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