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Economy and Business

FirstEnergy backs off on winter-weather surcharges
Akron-based utility had planned to tack $5 to $15 onto electric bills; plus other headlines.

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
Courtesy of FirstEnergy
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In The Region:
  • Storms hit southwest Ohio
  • Ohio State Parks to receive well-needed upgrades
  • Cleveland researchers relaunch study of urban child abuse
  • Dayton boy loses eye in BB gun accident
  • LISTEN: Francis on surcharges

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    FirstEnergy backs off on winter-weather surcharges
    Akron-based FirstEnergy has changed its mind about charging customers an extra $5 to $15 -- what’s known as the Polar Vortex surcharge. 

    Spokeswoman Diane Francis says FirstEnergy had planned to pass on the surcharges from PJM, the group that manages flow of electricity throughout the Midwest region.

    “We received these extremely high charges because of these unusual events in January, and we felt that it was something that we had to do to recoup these charges then from our customers where contracts allow. But being able to provide some kind of relief to our residential customers is something we’re pleased to do right now.” 

    Francis says she doesn’t know if the change will end an investigation by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio into whether FirstEnergy mislead customers who thought they were agreeing to fixed-price contracts. 

    FirstEnergy will release its quarterly earnings next week. Other utilities have reported a boost in profits and sales because of the bitter weather this winter. 

    Storms hit southwest Ohio
    On the northern edge of a series of deadly storms in the South, lightning strikes in the Cincinnati area sparked at least two house fires and struck an elevator shaft at a city building. No injuries were reported.

    Cincinnati City Hal was briefly evacuated this morning when lightning struck the elevator shaft.

    The National Weather Service says severe weather is in the forecast for Northeast Ohio on Tuesday as a large storm system moves in from the west.

    Ohio State Parks to receive $110 million in upgrades
    Ohio legislators have authorized spending $110 million over the next two years to upgrade Ohio’s State Parks.

    The Columbus Dispatch reports the fixes include repairs to dams, shorelines, marinas, and sewer and water systems at State Parks.

    The new allocation comes after years of tight budgets.

    A study done in 2010 showed that Ohio’s parks needed nearly $600 million worth of repairs.

    Cleveland researchers relaunch study of urban child abuse
    Researchers at Case Western Reserve University have been awarded $2.3 million to study the causes of child abuse and neglect and what can be done about it.

    The Plain Dealer reports the grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, will fund four years of research.

    The study beginning next month will build on work done in Cleveland in the 1990’s.

    Dayton boy loses eye in BB gun accident
    A 10-year-old Dayton area boy has lost his eye in a BB gun accident.

    The boy’s grandmother said her grandson and an 11-year-old friend were shooting at bottles with a BB gun when one of the pellets ricocheted and struck him in the left eye.

    The boy, whose name was not reported, was recovering after surgery Sunday. No charges were filed in the incident.

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