AEP Ohio, 13 government, corporate and industrial organizations agree to rate changes to support grid, reliability improvements

Published on March 16, 2021 by Chris Galford

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AEP Ohio, together with 13 other organizations, including the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, Kroger Co., and the Ohio Hospital Association, has filed with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to roll out new base rates for electric distribution and dedications to improvement.

The major agreement between the parties involved followed an initial AEP Ohio request from June 2020, which had called for a $5.68 monthly increase for the average residential customer. Under the terms of the settlement, that actually became a $0.71 decrease, although a monthly customer charge will be increased by $1.60 to reach $10 per month overall. This was offset by reductions in other rates.

“This last year has stressed the importance of providing reliable electric service to our customers, and AEP Ohio employees have risen to the challenge,” AEP Ohio president and COO Raja Sundararajan said. “While the economy is still recovering from the effects of the pandemic, we have worked to ensure that we continue to deliver the reliable electric service customers need as efficiently and safely as possible. The agreement we have reached will allow us to continue our work to improve the reliability of the electric grid while offering innovative products and services to our customers.”

AEP Ohio noted that the agreement — if approved — would allow it to expand and maintain various programs put in place to address reliability and resiliency through investments made over the next four years. These investments would go toward power outage prevention, efficiency updates, and making service restoration safer and quicker.

The last time AEP Ohio updated its base rates was in 2011, so the change would also allow a variety of programs that were not on the radar a decade ago. For example, it would allow AEP Ohio to convert streetlights to LED fixtures, roll out a new charging program to incentivize charging electric vehicles at low demand times, and establish a renewable distributed generation pilot to encourage customers to generate their own electricity and utilize renewable energy.

New rates will go into effect 14 days after PUCO adopts the settlement.