Bill Proposes Consumers Pay to Protect Utilities’ Credit Ratings

06/23/2017

Without any debate, members of the Ohio Senate Finance Committee this week adopted an omnibus amendment in the state budget bill that included a provision that would give electric utilities yet another path to obtain consumer-paid subsidies. This time it is for protecting their credit ratings. The OMA with the Office of Ohio’s Consumers’ Counsel and other business and consumer groups filed this letter of opposition with the members of the state budget conference committee, explaining that: “… the language reverses rulings of the Ohio Supreme Court, that last year overturned PUCO decisions allowing utility charges to customers for financial stability for electric utilities … and the Senate language could interfere with customer appeals now pending in the Ohio Supreme Court, to protect Ohioans from electric rate increases. ” Here is an analysis of the provision by OMA energy counsel, Kim Bojko, of Carpenter Lipps & Leland. She concludes: “The utilities continue to ask for more customer-paid subsidies due to an alleged fiscal crisis due to their parent company or affiliates’ bad business decisions.  Once again the utilities are asking customers to bail them out, seeking to shift ordinary business risk from shareholders to ratepayers.” 6/21/2017

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