FirstEnergy, other utilities challenge call to lower electric rates of Ohioans


Associated Press

COLUMBUS

Ohio’s four big electric utilities have joined forces to challenge a request by state regulators to return proceeds from the federal tax cut to customers by reducing rates.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio in January instructed FirstEnergy, American Electric Power, Dayton Power & Light and Duke Energy to treat any tax savings received after Jan. 1, 2018, as potential consumer savings.

The commission ordered the companies to begin tracking how much they are overcollecting when using delivery rates developed under the previous 35-percent federal tax rate, rather than using the new 21-percent rate.

The companies pushed back in an unusual joint filing in February. They argued the PUCO’s order lacks specifics, potentially violates a rule against retroactive utility refunds and falls outside the normal rate-making process.

“This is a significant and complex undertaking, and the (companies) urge the commission to methodically pursue the task in a thorough manner using a process that is fair and deliberate for each utility,” the companies said in the filing.

The PUCO is accepting responses in the case through Wednesday.

President Donald Trump signed a $1.5 trillion tax cut package into law in December that provides generous tax cuts for corporations, including the utilities, but more modest reductions for middle- and low-income individuals and families.

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