FirstEnergy / Utilities

Ohio lawmakers seek to relax profit limits on FirstEnergy, other utilities

FirstEnergy headquarters in Akron.

COLUMBUS — “If passed, the Akron-based utility would stand to make more money from ratepayers, rather than having to issue refunds to more than a million customers in northeast and north-central Ohio.

The amendment, one of dozens added by lawmakers last week, would change the state’s calculation of what constitutes ‘significantly excessive’ profits in a way that allows the utility’s subsidiaries — Ohio Edison, Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company and Toledo Edison — to ‘artificially dilute’ the profits they report, said Jeff Jacobson of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, during legislative testimony Tuesday.

Currently, the three subsidiaries are each restricted from making ‘significantly excessive’ profits (a term that isn’t specifically defined in Ohio law, though two recent Public Utilities Commission of Ohio rulings indicate the profit limit is about 17 percent per year).

Under the amendment, the PUCO would consider the profits made by all three subsidiaries averaged together. This would allow Ohio Edison to make a windfall, Jacobson said, as its higher profits would be grouped with the lower profit margins of Toledo Edison and Cleveland Electric Illuminating companies.”

— Jeremy Pelzer, Cleveland.com

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