Ohio Senate budget bill lets PUCO charge power customers higher rate to keep up utility credit ratings

Credit: Tom Knox

COLUMBUS — “Ohio’s utility regulator could consider a utility’s credit rating when establishing base rates paid by customers, an apparent nod to FirstEnergy Solutions, the unregulated subsidiary of Akron electric utility FirstEnergy Corp.

‘Ratepayers in all six (electric utility) service areas could pay higher electricity charges under this,’ according to a review by the nonpartisan Legislative Service Commission.

The latest iteration of Ohio’s budget bill introduced on Tuesday allows the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to establish or raise rates filed under a utility’s electric security plan, which includes the basic bill rates for customers who do not shop for electricity and get it from the local utility.

Raising rates would allow the utility to get or maintain a minimum investment-grade credit rating. Moody’s downgraded FirstEnergy Solutions late last year.”

— Tom Knox, Columbus Business First

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