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Environment & Energy

FirstEnergy, AEP and Their Opponents React to Federal Regulators Blocking The Coal Plant Bailout

photo of FirstEnergy building
Tim Rudell

Federal regulators have blocked Akron-based FirstEnergy and Columbus-based American Electric Power from imposing controversial rate hikes  on customers to bring in money for struggling coal and nuclear plants.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission says the deals that state regulators approved last month for FirstEnergy and AEP aren’t valid unless they get federal approval. Among those celebrating is Todd Snitchler, who’s with a group of electricity generators that opposed the utilities plans.

Photo of a FirstEnergy coal power plant
The plan approved by the PUCO would keep plants like Sammis operating.

“They’re not happy with the returns that they’re getting, despite the fact that both companies reported significant corporate earnings in the first quarter, (They) want to re-regulate to guarantee those earnings rather than compete. And ratepayers will lose.”
But AEP’s Terri Flora says the company stands behind its plan. “We believe it would survive FERC review, but we’re not interested in participating in what would be a very drawn out review process.”
AEP and FirstEnergy both say they’re evaluating their options, and Columbus Business First is reporting that the that the head of AEP is talking about selling its Ohio plants.