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DP&L Alters Proposed Electric Fees Shortly Before PUCO Hearing

October 3, 2016 By Cheryl Kaften

On September 23 – four days before a public hearing scheduled by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) at Dayton City Hall – Dayton Power & Light (DP&L) withdrew a proposed Reliable Electricity Rider, or charge, in favor of another proposed charge – this one for a Distribution Modernization Rider, according to a report by local TV channel WHIO.

Dayton Power and Light (DP&L), a public utility that services more than 515,000 residential, commercial, and industrial retail electric customers in West Central Ohio, had filed the application with the commission last February 22 (Docket No. 1-0395-EL-SSO).

According to the local news outlet, a DP&L spokesperson could not immediately clarify how rates for residential customers might be affected by the last-minute change, filed electronically with the PUCO. “Right now, we’re gathering testimony, as we’re speaking, for a Distribution Modernization Rider,” said Mary Ann Kabel. “That’s where we are.”

In addition, a PUCO spokesperson interviewed by the TV station said the new filing from the company was “devoid of any details” on possible consumer costs. “That’s a great question, and unfortunately I have no idea,” said Matt Schilling, the PUCO spokesperson. “It’s hard to know how any impacts may apply.”

He said utilities occasionally change applications to make them easier to accept as public hearings approach.

The new rider retains customers’ ability to shop for a competitive electric supplier and introduces a distribution investment rider to “support continued investment in distribution system reliability.” The change also “introduces a clean energy rider that will facilitate future investment in renewable and advanced technologies” and “maintains DP&L’s financial integrity and its ability to provide reliable, safe and stable customer service,” the utility’s filing stated.

As presented when DP&L first submitted the plan last February, starting in 2017, the average residential customer’s bill — for every 1,000 kilowatt- hours (kWh) of use — would increase by about 1 percent, or $1.21 per month, the utility said at the time.

Ellis Jacobs, a Dayton attorney, did not testify before the commission, but he told WHIO that DP&L’s request is “not appropriate.”

“It just locks in old technology that DP&L customers already paid for many times over,” Jacobs said, referring to coal-fired power plants. “We need a forward-looking company that thinks about how to provide energy in the future. This just doesn’t help them get there.”

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