OMA Continues to Challenge FirstEnergy Subsidy

Ohio electric customers in the FirstEnergy service territory have been paying a new subsidy to FirstEnergy since January 1, 2017.

The OMA Energy Group opposed the new customer surcharge during proceedings at the PUCO; however, the state agency authorized FirstEnergy to collect $132.5 million (plus taxes) annually over three years from customers through a distribution modernization rider (DMR) with virtually no strings attached on for how it must be spent. With taxes, FirstEnergy is currently collecting $168 million annually from customers.

This week, together with the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, the OMA Energy Group asked the court to halt collecting the money from customers until the appeal is complete.

“We believe this new rider is an unlawful generation subsidy meant to prop up the bankrupt FirstEnergy Solutions corporate parent and are appealing it the Ohio Supreme Court,” commented the OMA’s Ryan Augsburger.

Furthermore, “despite the name of the new rider, the charge does not require the FirstEnergy utilities to spend a penny of the money on distribution service or modernization. Instead, the charge makes Ohio customers pay for credit support regarding the FirstEnergy utilities’ parent company, FirstEnergy Corp,” the OMA said in its joint motion for a stay. 8/2/2018