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Economy and Business

FirstEnergy spends extra to meet state requirements, charges customers more
FirstEnergy customers will have to pay a 7 percent interest charge on their energy bills

Ozie Ikuenobe

FirstEnergy has spent millions of dollars more than necessary to meet state renewable-energy requirements, according to two independent audits.

Under the state’s standards, power companies must sell a certain amount of energy created by renewable technology, including wind and solar. If that’s not possible, the companies can buy renewable energy credits or pay a state fine.

The audits found that FirstEnergy Solutions bought credits that were 15 times more than the state fine. FirstEnergy spokesman Todd Schneider says the company had to buy the credits to comply with the law.

Sawmiller on the FirstEnergy credits

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Schneider on the FirstEnergy credits

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Windows Media / MP3 Download (0:13)

“At the time, the market was just developing so the costs were higher. As the law states, we’re required to purchase these RECs if they’re available.”

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio approved passing the high costs on to FirstEnergy customers along with a 7 percent interest charge.

But Dan Sawmiller, of the Sierra Club, says that FirstEnergy had other options it could have pursued.

“Instead of just purchasing them and charging their customers for them, the company should’ve realized that these were unreasonably high and taken actions to work with the commission to find an alternative to paying that high price.”

Sawmiller says he hopes the Public Utilities Commission will take a closer look at the costs to determine if they are fair and reasonable to FirstEnergy customers.

The PUCO says it would need a formal objection to reconsider. 

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