The Public Utility Commission of Ohio granted AEP’s wish today. PUCO ruled that AEP could add extra charges that would mean any of its former customers would have to pay a 5% premium to switch to another power provider under Ohio’s new “deregulation” scheme. This may be “deregulation,” but it is also PUCO insuring AEP a monopoly stranglehold over its current customers.
Dan Gearino at the Columbus Dispatch has been doing a great job of covering the PUCO/AEP farce. Here is his story on the situation.
He explains PUCO’s gift to AEP this way:
Ohio’s utility regulators today approved American Electric Power’s request to increase a fee it charges its competitors.
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio said AEP can charge $255 per megawatt-day to the electricity suppliers that are serving most customers who have newly switched from AEP.
To do otherwise “could risk an unjust and unreasonable result,” the panel said in its 4-1 decision.
The charge, which is more than double the $110 that would otherwise apply, will make it more expensive for competitors to operate in AEP territory and could slow the migration of customers away from AEP.
Yup. You read that right. AEP has been limited to charging competitors $110 per megawatt day for access to its customers through its existing distribution system. And PUCO is now letting them charge $255 per megawatt day. What is the result?
For residential customers who switch, the higher charge will mean an increase of roughly 5 percent in the overall electricity bill, if the supplier chooses to pass the cost on to the customer.
So PUCO has raised new monopoly walls around AEP’s customers by forcing higher costs onto AEP’s competitors or raising electric rates for anyone who decides to drop AEP and buy electricity from someone else.
Wow. And I thought AEP had too much power in WV.