This week the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee (FERC) issued a decision that halts the underlying transactions of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO)-approved subsidy requests from Ohio-based utilities AEP and FirstEnergy. Their bailout proposals would have forced Ohio customers to subsidize old, inefficient power plants for the next eight years at an estimated cost of $6 billion.
OMA president Eric Burkland issued a statement commenting on the FERC’s decision, saying: “The OMA strongly opposed the PUCO decision that harmed wholesale markets that are benefitting Ohio electricity consumers and that served to subsidize potentially uneconomic utility generating units. … The unanimous FERC decision is welcomed by Ohio manufacturers that depend on markets to provide the cost and innovation benefits of competition.”
The non-bypassable new costs under the PUCO-approved plans would have come at a time when the competitive electricity marketplace has begun to mature and is producing benefits in cost savings and innovative, new products. The utilities’ plans would add costs to customers’ bills with no commensurate benefits.
In an effort to prevent the potential damage, the OMA Energy Group, among others, pursued its available legal appeals to the FERC.
This one-page summary of the FERC decision prepared by OMA energy counsel, Carpenter Lipps & Leland notes: “FERC agreed with the arguments asserted by OMAEG (OMA Energy Group) … that customers are captive because they have no ability to avoid the costs associated with the Affiliate PPAs by shopping with a competitive supplier.”