State officials, utilities and other groups have worked on deregulating the energy market in Ohio for more than a decade. Now two major utility companies want to go back toward re-regulation after the feds nixed their temporary rate hike plan.
AEP and FirstEnergy had a plan to keep their struggling coal plants afloat by charging customers an extra fee. While the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio approved that plan, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said it contradicted the wholesale market rules. Officially, AEP and FirstEnergy say they’re evaluating their options.
But AEP CEO Nick Akins told investors during a conference call hours after that decision that they don’t want to fight the feds. Instead AEP plans to lobby state lawmakers to change the rules back to regulated market.
“Ohio needs to decide expeditiously -- does it want to control its own development of resources within the state or leave it to PJM and the federal government who have conflicting multi-state interests,” said Akins.
Critics say the utilities want to re-regulate to get out of needing to compete for profits.