AEP / Dayton Power & Light / Duke Energy / Energy / FirstEnergy

Lower Ohio electric rates based on federal tax cut won’t be easy or quick

FirstEnergy and Ohio’s three other investor-owned electric utilities are not going to make it easy for the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to order cuts to delivery rates to reflect the windfall tax cut — from 35 percent to 21 percent — the companies are now enjoying.

CLEVELAND — “Don’t plan on lower electric bills anytime soon reflecting the fat tax cut Ohio’s electric utilities are already enjoying.

FirstEnergy, American Electric Power, Duke Energy and Dayton Power & Light have made it clear to the PUCO that passing on their windfall tax break from 35 percent to 21 percent will take a long time to figure out.

In a rare, joint reply to the Public Utility Commission of Ohio’s Jan. 10 order asking utilities to begin looking into how much of the tax break could be passed onto customers and to begin keeping track of what they are over-charging customers, the four companies threw down a barrage of legal objections — even that they have already been deprived of “‘due process.’

They also included a reference to state law and Ohio Supreme Court rulings that  customer refunds are not legal in Ohio because they would constitute ‘retroactive rate making,’ unless provisions were made for them in a rate case.

In other words, even if the PUCO were able eventually order a rate cut based on the lower taxes the utilities are paying, none of the over-collection from the preceding months could be refunded.”

— John Funk, Cleveland Plain Dealer

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