FirstEnergy’s Ohio Utilities to Refund Customers $306 Million



 

COLUMBUS, OHIO (Dec. 1, 2021) – The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) today approved a settlement agreement and ordered FirstEnergy’s three Ohio utilities to refund customers $306 million. FirstEnergy’s three Ohio electric utilities are Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company, Ohio Edison and Toledo Edison.

“I’m pleased to see that the Commission has approved refunds and rate reductions for FirstEnergy’s Ohio utility customers,” stated PUCO Chair Jenifer French. “Today we resolve years of effort by numerous stakeholders in these cases and thank them for coming together to craft this sensible resolution.”

The settlement agreement resolves 10 pending regulatory proceedings related to 2017-2020 annual earnings tests, a 4-year review of FirstEnergy’s electric security plan, and 2014-2018 energy efficiency audits.

The unopposed settlement agreement is supported by PUCO staff, Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company, Ohio Edison, Toledo Edison, Ohio Energy Group, Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, Industrial Energy Users-Ohio, Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy, Nucor Steel Marion, The Kroger Co., Interstate Gas Supply, Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council, and Ohio Hospital Association.

Specifically, the agreement calls for the utilities to refund $96 million (which includes interest) related to the utilities’ 2017-2019 annual earnings tests. Residential customers would receive a one-time bill credit of approximately $27. Nonresidential customers would be provided approximately $2.60 per megawatt hour credit over a six-month period.

The remaining $210 million would be refunded as a monthly bill credit as follows:

  • $80 million during 2022
  • $60 million during 2023
  • $45 million during 2024
  • $25 million during 2025

The agreement maintains the terms and conditions of its previously approved electric security plan, including FirstEnergy’s commitment to file a base distribution rate case by May 31, 2024.

A copy of today’s opinion and order is available on the PUCO website by clicking on the link to Docketing Information System and searching for case 20-1476-EL-UNC.

Case background

On Sept. 10, 2020, the PUCO opened a proceeding to conduct a 4-year review of the utility’s electric security plan to ensure its terms and conditions remain favorable when compared to a market rate option. FirstEnergy’s electric security plan began on March 16, 2016 and will remain in place until May 31, 2024.

Ohio law requires the PUCO to review electric distribution utilities’ annual earnings, called a “significantly excessive earnings test”. The PUCO examines utilities’ annual return on equity compared to similarly situated utilities across the country.

The PUCO performs annual audits to ensure charges passed onto customers through its “demand side management and energy efficiency rider” were accurately calculated.