April 29, 2016 Read More →

With Bailouts Under Federal Scrutiny, Ohio Utilities ‘Look to Legislature’

Ohio utilities are likely to urge an end to the state’s current competitive market for generation and take other actions in the wake of federal regulators’ decision this week to halt wholesale electric deals for affiliates’ less competitive plants.

On Wednesday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission announced it would require commission scrutiny before American Electric Power and FirstEnergy could enter into deals with their generation affiliates to buy all the power from certain power plants that have been less competitive in the markets.

“[T]his Commission has an independent role to ensure that wholesale sales of electric energy and capacity are just and reasonable and to protect against affiliate abuse,” FERC said in its orders.

On Thursday, AEP spokesperson Melissa McHenry indicated that the company would now be undertaking a “strategic review” of the plants.

The comments track remarks made earlier in the morning by AEP CEO Nick Akins.

FirstEnergy CEO Chuck Jones has previously said he would end deregulation of Ohio’s competitive electricity market “in a heartbeat.”

Industry competitors, consumer protection organizations and environmental groups have called the proposed deals “bailouts,” because they would require all ratepayers to guarantee sales and a profit for certain power plants, regardless of whom customers choose as their electricity supplier.

With ‘bailouts’ under federal scrutiny, Ohio utilities look to legislature

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