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.