AEP

photo of Tom Froehle
Andy Chow / Statehouse News Bureau

One of Ohio’s largest electric companies is weighing in on the bill that would create a new charge to benefit “green energy” but eliminate an existing fee on ratepayers.

The proposed legislation would likely bailout the state’s two nuclear plants while also tossing out the requirements that utility companies invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

AEP’s Tom Froehle said his company has spent years following these standards and urged that the energy bill honor their current contracts and programs, which he said have saved customers $1 billion.

A photo of solar panels
SERGEY EDENTOD / SHUTTERSTOCK

State regulators are still looking over what would be the largest renewable energy farm in Ohio. But opponents of the project say it would result in a handout to American Electric Power and customers would foot the bill.

Those arguing against AEP’s solar and wind farm proposal in Highland County say the utility would rely on ratepayers to offset the costs of generating the renewable energy in the first few years.

8th St. entrance, Affinity Medical Center
Affinity Medical Center website

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, April 10:

Ohio Statehouse
Statehouse News Bureau

Many homeowners throughout the state have changed to more efficient lightbulbs. Now, one of the state’s most storied and iconic buildings will be getting a lighting upgrade too. 

Imagine changing 900 light bulbs. That’s what spokesman Luke Stedke says is happening now at the Statehouse.

“To a more efficient, LED lightbulb that saves energy, saves money and then gives the right type of historical lighting that we need for a building like the Statehouse.”

Oklahoma wind farm
Invenergy Website

Ohio-based American Electric Power, is applying for regulatory approval to build the transmission infrastructure for the “Wind Catcher.”  That’s the massive wind farm project under construction in Oklahoma that will be the second largest in the world.

AEP was once a leading coal-fired power plant operator. Now, it‘s gearing up for a building program for renewable energy distribution that includes the Oklahoma project -- and much more.

American Electric Power (AEP)
AEP Webcast / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

One of the state’s largest utility companies is proposing a change in the way they charge customers for their power. Consumer groups are objecting, but AEP Ohio says other changes will offset those costs. 

AEP wants to increase the fixed rate, or so-called customer charge, to ratepayer’s electric bills. It’s about a $10 hike per month. But they’re decreasing the cost of using power.

Consumer and environmental advocates argue this shift takes away the incentive to save power in order to lower electric bills.

photo of Cathy Cowan
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

State energy regulators are looking over a new plan, proposed by AEP, that would allow the utility company to increase rates on customer electric bills. 

photo of PUCO logo
PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION OF OHIO

Some power customers are going to see a decrease in their monthly electric bills thanks to a decision by the Ohio Supreme Court. 

For the second time this year, the Supreme Court decided that attaching a fee to electric bills known as the service stability rider or transition revenue was unlawful.

Photo of a FirstEnergy coal power plant
FIRST ENERGY / WIKIPEDIA

NOTE: This is the third of three stories examining Ohio's environmental and energy future.  

Ohio’s largest energy companies are trying to figure out what they’re going to do with their coal power plants as they navigate through a vital time in the utilities industry. Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow explores the different paths those utilities can take and what that means for Ohio residents.

photo of FirstEnergy building
TIM RUDELL / WKSU

NOTE: This is the second of three stories examining Ohio's environmental and energy future. 

A decision to block a plan that would’ve guaranteed profits for struggling coal plants in Ohio may have created a domino effect for the future of energy in the state.

In part two of a three-part series, Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow takes a look at the history of deregulation in Ohio and the bombshell suggestion to reverse course.

AEP photo of transmission lines
AEP

 State officials, utilities and other groups have worked on deregulating the energy market in Ohio for more than a decade. Now two major utility companies want to go back toward re-regulation after the feds nixed their temporary rate-hike plan.

photo of power transmission lines
WIKIMEDIA

It’s not every day that a group known for defending the free market celebrates federal intervention. But a conservative group in Ohio is saying the feds made the right choice by blocking a temporary rate hike plan from AEP and FirstEnergy.  

photo of FirstEnergy building
TIM RUDELL / WKSU

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 Sammis plant
FIRSTENERGY

Ohioans could see a new charge on their electric bills as early as June, now that state regulators have approved plans by FirstEnergy and AEP to guarantee income for struggling coal plants. But opponents of the costs say the fight isn’t over. 

Photo of a FirstEnergy coal power plant
FIRST ENERGY / WIKIPEDIA

A vote is set for tomorrow on plans from FirstEnergy and AEP that is estimated to hike customers’ electricity bills by nearly $6 billion over eight years and to generate guaranteed income for struggling coal plants.  

Alliance for Energy Choice
Alliance for Energy Choice

  Opponents of the so-called coal plant bailout proposed by two electric utilities are taking a big swing at the plan through a media blitz. 

“You want us to pay for what? This is crazy!”

So begins the ad by a  group of energy producers, known as the Alliance for Energy Choice, who are taking their fight against a price guarantee for AEP and FirstEnergy to the airwaves with radio and TV ads.

“They want a handout and they want you to hand it to them.”

photo of Bill Ridmann
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Hearings have ended and now it’s up to state regulators to decide if the so-called coal plant bailout for two electric utilities should be approved. Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow reports.

FirstEnergy and AEP say adding a charge to customers’ monthly bills in order to guarantee income for struggling coal plants will stabilize costs and ensure grid stability. Opponents say this is an unnecessary bailout that helps ineffective and dirty coal plants.

Photo of a FirstEnergy coal power plant
FIRST ENERGY / WIKIPEDIA

Utilities FirstEnergy and AEP want state regulators to approve plans that allow them to hike their customers’ bills to ensure energy production and guarantee income for their struggling coal plants.

But as Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow reports, a new energy player wants to crash the party.

 

photo of Sammis power plant
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Utilities, energy officials and environmental advocates are all debating a landmark proposition that would set the stage for the future of energy in Ohio. And as Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow reports, for the average consumer, this could mean paying hundreds of dollars more on electric bills.

Who should be paying to keep inefficient power plants that don’t do very well in the market afloat: The utility company or its customers?

That’s the question these proposals, known as power purchase agreements, come down to.

photo of Bill Allen
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

  The state’s utility regulators are looking over a plan that would guarantee a profit for two utilities that operate coal plants by raising the price on electric bills and want to hear why certain groups are ok with it. Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow reports.

AEP’s latest draft would keep three coal units afloat for eight years and then guarantee their closure by 2030.

Kasich
ANDY CHOW / OHIO PUBLIC RADIO

State officials could soon decide if some electric utility customers see a hike in their bills to keep coal plants running. Now Gov. John Kasich is offering his thoughts on the issue. Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow reports.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio is looking over what’s known as power-purchase agreements proposed by AEP and FirstEnergy. These essentially guarantee a profit for their coal plants regardless of their value in the market.

ALLY MAROTTI / WOSU

An environmental group and a major utility have reached an agreement that could change the future landscape of energy generation for that company. But as Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow reports, others aren’t so sure about that.