AEP / Fixed Rate Hikes

Critics of AEP plan to raise billing fee see harm to low-income customers

Members of the public at an April 25th public hearing before the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

COLUMBUS — “American Electric Power wants to raise its billing fee by $10 per month, a proposal that critics say would hit low-income consumers hardest and would discourage clean-energy technologies.

The opponents had the floor to themselves Tuesday at a public hearing before the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. All 14 speakers urged the panel to reject AEP’s plan.

‘This kind of a rate increase is really on the backs of the poor and those on limited incomes, particularly seniors,’ said Sister Gemma Doll, 67, a Dominican Catholic sister in Columbus who was one of several people from local faith groups to testify. ‘It’s not fair for big corporations to make profits on people who can’t absorb those kinds of increases.’

Under the proposal, the current monthly charge of $8.40 would go up by $5 this year, and an additional $5 next year, bringing the total to $18.40. Other parts of the bill would decrease, leading to an increase of less than $2 for a typical household, according to AEP’s filing.

The billing-fee increase is part of a much-larger proposal that AEP made in May and then revised in November. It requests changes to rates and programs that will run through 2024.”

— Dan Gearino, Columbus Dispatch

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