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FirstEnergy filing could delay court ruling in ‘bailout’ case

Jessica Smith-Szabo, staff director for Ohio Citizen Action, addresses the crowd in Columbus at a rally protesting FirstEnergy’s utility bailout request in April 2015.

COLUMBUS — “Despite a big win from Ohio regulators last month, FirstEnergy has filed papers asking for still more review. The move could ultimately delay a court ruling on a $200 million per year charge to prop up the company’s credit rating.

At issue is a ‘distribution modernization rider’ that the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio ordered last October to shore up the credit rating of FirstEnergy and its utilities. Appeals from that ruling had already been delayed more than nine months, until the PUCO ruled on August 16 that the charge would stand.

Ohio consumers have been paying for the charge since last winter. More delay won’t work to their advantage.

Dan Doron at the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel said that agency will most likely appeal the ruling, ‘but even if the Ohio Supreme Court reverses the PUCO’s allowance of these charges, FirstEnergy consumers may never see a penny of their money returned because of the 1950’s precedent against refunds.'”

— Kathiann M Kowalski, Midwest Energy News

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