COLUMBUS — AES Ohio, a subsidiary of The AES Corporation (NYSE:AES), received approval from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) for the company’s Electric Security Plan (ESP) settlement, the company announced on Wednesday.
A residential customer using 1,000 kWh a month will see a $2.71 decrease from the ESP settlement, which will offset the distribution rate increase of $8.04 for a net increase of $5.33, according to AES. “This reflects a 3.4% increase for customers on AES Ohio’s Standard Service Offer (SSO),” according to a statement from AES.
Both the new ESP settlement and distribution rates will go into effect the first billing cycle in September.
A three-year “comprehensive plan to invest in and upgrade its network, strengthen service reliability, provide greater safeguards for price stability and continue investments in local economic development” was cited as a benefit to customers in the announcement.
“Approval of the ESP settlement represents a significant milestone for AES Ohio to create meaningful reliability improvements while supporting customer needs and the rapid growth of the Dayton region,” said Ahmed Pasha, acting AES President, US Utilities. “We are appreciative of the efforts and collaboration among our stakeholders to reach this settlement for the benefit of our customers.”
The Ohio Consumers Counsel (OCC) issued a statement Wednesday expressing “disappointment” with the PUCO’s decision.
The statement from Merrilee Embs on behalf of Bruce Weston of OCC read: “The PUCO today approved an AES rate increase that will be a double whammy for Dayton-area electric consumers. Over the next three years consumers will pay $160 million in rate increases to AES for a so-called ‘electric security plan.’ And AES consumers will now start to pay an additional $75 million annually for another AES request that was suspended until today’s case. That’s about $385 million more over the next three years, for both rate increases. OCC calculates that, on average, a typical consumer will pay $6.65 more per month to AES for the increases. The PUCO-approved charges will further allow AES to take more consumer money for nothing, in the form of corporate welfare for the two aging coal plants that are also subsidized in tainted House Bill 6. With Dayton-area consumers already struggling under inflation and higher energy prices, now is not the time for higher rates for essential utility service.”
AES, in its statement, touted benefits to its customers and economic development, including:
• Increase educational outreach of utility assistance and low-income energy efficiency programs, prioritizing communities with a high percentage of disconnections. Translation needs will be addressed.
• Over the three-year term of the ESP, AES Ohio will contribute $150,000 of shareholder funds to the Gift of Power program for emergency relief to customers facing disconnection due to financial hardship.
• Elimination of the $25 Reconnection of Meter charge for customers with smart meters.
• New and enhanced customer programs such as weatherization assistance, electric vehicles (EVs) and customer education.
• Introduce new programs to address green energy and the growing electrification needs of customers.
• Economic development incentives for new and existing customers to promote attracting or expanding business or manufacturing facilities.