This week the OMA continued its opposition to a FirstEnergy customer rider, “distribution modernization rider or DMR,” by asking the Supreme Court of Ohio to stop the collection of the charge from customers during the pendency of its appeal.
In approving the DMR in 2016 over strong customer opposition, the PUCO awarded FirstEnergy a $132.5 million (plus taxes) customer-paid annual windfall with virtually no strings attached on how it must be spent. With taxes, FirstEnergy is currently collecting $168 million annually from customers.
The PUCO in December responded to a request from the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel (OCC), the state’s residential consumer advocate, to investigate where the money is going by opening a case.
According to an article in Energy News Network, through the opened investigation, OCC has been attempting to gain information from FirstEnergy about how the rider proceeds are being spent. FirstEnergy has refused to comply with OCC’s discovery requests.
What makes it particularly onerous for business and residential customers to pay the rider is that it was awarded to prop up FirstEnergy’s underwater generation affiliate company, FirstEnergy Solutions (FES). Now that FES is bankrupt the justification by the PUCO to boost the company’s credit becomes even weaker. 8/2/2018