AEP Ohio announced Friday that $84 million will be refunded to customers through a credit on their June 2017 electric bills in a settlement partly related to the huge spikes in electric bills that hit the Hillsboro area and other parts of Ohio in 2012.
The refund to customers was agreed to as part of a major settlement that AEP Ohio, the Consumers’ Counsel and several other parties negotiated in December 2016. The settlement resolved rate issues in lawsuits and legal challenges in 14 cases, including 11-348-EL-SSO, the case involving the 2012 rate spikes.
In that case, a rate plan initially approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio was ultimately rolled back after public outcry from customers and elected officials. The rollback was considered an unprecedented move by the PUCO following an approval.
Officials in 2012 – including Hillsboro Mayor Drew Hastings, Highland County Commissioners Tom Horst and Shane Wilkin, Highland County Chamber of Commerce director Katy Farber, Brent Huffman, a local businessman who owned Beechstreet on Main, and State Rep. Cliff Rosenberger – either traveled to various regional meetings or met with AEP and PUCO officials demanding the rate plan be rescinded. The Times-Gazette published numerous editorials opposing the rate hike.
In a press release, AEP said Friday that “a one-time bill credit will be issued to those AEP Ohio customers who purchased their generation service from AEP Ohio through its Standard Service Offer any time from August 2012 through May 2015. Credit amounts are based on a customer’s electricity usage under the Standard Service Offer during this period.”
The release stated, “An average residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month during this time will see an approximate $60 credit, according to the press release. All AEP Ohio customers, former and current, are eligible to receive the credit. Customers will not receive a bill credit for any purchases of generation service that they made from an energy marketer during this time period.”
“AEP Ohio strives to provide safe and reliable electric service to our customers,” said Julie Sloat, AEP Ohio president and chief operating officer. “Thanks to the advocacy and combined efforts of the Consumers’ Counsel and others involved in the Global Settlement, we were able to reach an agreement that allows us to focus on providing an enhanced customer experience through new technologies, building a smarter grid and improving reliability.”
“Many consumers purchase their electric service from AEP Ohio’s ‘standard service offer’ where they receive the benefit of low market prices on their monthly electric bills,” said Ohio Consumers’ Counsel Bruce Weston. “I am pleased that we and AEP Ohio settled our differences about electricity charges, so that these consumers could receive a refund.”
Customer bills that include the credit were sent beginning May 30, 2017, and will continue through the end of June 2017.
The 2012 case revolved around an AEP rate plan that was initially approved by the PUCO in December 2011, but which resulted in such unexpected rate increases that the accompanying outcry eventually led the state utilities commission in February 2012 to rescind its earlier approval – an unprecedented turnaround.
AEP was ordered at the time to return rates to December 2011 levels while it revised its plans.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.