A political football that’s inflated with well over a billion dollars has landed squarely in the huddle of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.
The PUCO commissioners are scrambling to find a solution to skyrocketing electric rates being experienced by “General Service 2” customers of AEP Ohio. Most affected are small businesses and schools, whose rates jumped as much as 100 percent under a new AEP Electric Security Plan that was modified and approved by PUCO in December.
Rate increases in the new plan were actually slashed in half by PUCO, but charges that were reinstated after being deferred or capped for more than a decade far exceed any rate relief. PUCO has characterized the AEP rate increases as “exorbitant” even though they emerged from a vetting process PUCO called “a transparent legal process during which 30 witnesses provided testimony and faced cross-examination.”
PUCO Chairman Todd A. Snitchler seemed to point a finger at AEP in a Feb. 10 statement, saying that PUCO’s “decisions are only as good as the company billing information they are based upon. In this case we depended upon AEP to provide accurate data.”