Stop Fixed Rate Hikes

Four Ohio utilities have put forth proposals to make their customers pay more every month before they even turn on the lights.  Dayton Power and Light (DP&L), American Electric Power (AEP), Duke Energy, and First Energy have asked the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio for large mandatory fixed charge increases, also known as the “customer charge”.

This is about utilities unfairly reaching into families’ wallets every month for much bigger mandatory fees, regardless of what electricity a home actually uses.

If approved, DP&L customers would see a 223% increase in annual fixed rate charges-Instead of $51, they would pay $164.76.

AEP customers would see a total increase of 119%- their annual fixed charge would go from $100.80 to $160.80 and by 2018 would be $220.80.

Duke Energy has filed its proposal to nearly quadruple its fixed monthly charge, from $6 to $22.77.

FirstEnergy customers would see an increase from $6-8 per month (depending upon where you live), to $18-25 per month — which is almost four times the current charge.

This means instead of paying $75-100 per year, customers would be paying $226-300 per year for this charge, which for most people is like adding a 13th-14th electric bill.

In a desperate attempt to shore up profits, utilities across the country have attempted to pass fixed rate hikes beginning in 2014. The good news is, widespread public opposition defeated or lessened close to three-quarters of fixed rate hike proposals in 2015. But in states like Wisconsin, where regulators approved rate increases for three utilities in 2014, the door is open wide for more of these proposals.

Increases to fixed charges benefit the utilities and their shareholders by adding what for many people amounts to a 13th electric bill. There’s less ability to control your bill by reducing energy use, and less incentive to invest in energy efficient upgrades if you have to pay a steep flat fee regardless of usage. Raises in fixed charges every month unfairly burden low and fixed income members of our community, already struggling to pay for rent, medicine, and groceries every month.

All Ohio residential customers have a stake in this. If DP&L, AEP, Duke Energy, and FirstEnergy get their way, we’ll see more utilities turn to fixed rate hikes as a way to cover their losses from doubling down on coal and delaying investments in renewables and efficiency.

Please send an official comment to the Public Utilities Commission:

Public Utilities Commission of Ohio

180 East Broad Street

Columbus, Ohio 43215

Make sure you include the case numbers in your comment:

AEP: 16-1852-EL-SSO

DP&L: 15-1830-EL-AIR

Duke Energy: 17-0032-EL-AIR

FirstEnergy: 17-0334-EL-ATA

Comments are most effective when written in your own words. Here are some points to get you started:

  • I am opposed to proposals that allow a utility to charge me a mandatory fee for power I am not using
  • Customers who use less energy should not be punished by steep fixed rates
  • Fixed rate charge increases burden low and fixed income users already struggling to pay their bills monthly
  • I support an increase in energy efficiency and renewable energy programs in Ohio