Critics slam higher Ohio utility reconnection fee


COLUMBUS (AP) — Ohio consumer advocates are shaking their heads over a fee increase for people to get their heat back on when they’ve been disconnected.

Regulators recently raised the utility reconnection charge to a maximum of $36, up from the old $20.

Marty Berkowitz, spokesman for the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, says the extra $16 is a lot of money for households already struggling to pay their bills.

A spokeswoman for the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio says the regulators felt the higher fee more accurately reflects what it costs utilities to restore service.

The charge is part of a program overseen by the commission which allows customers to be reconnected one time during the cold weather months, provided they pay the fee and part of their unpaid bill.

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