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 – is lobbying Buckeye State legislators to pass a proposed amendment to existing law in order to allow the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to raise electric rates, if a utility’s financial integrity is at stake, according to a November 15 report by the Dayton Daily News.
State Representative Niraj Antani (R-District 42) confirmed to the local news outlet that DP&L representatives had approached legislators, asking them to consider the language. DP&L would like to have this amendment added in the coming weeks of the Ohio General Assembly, which is a post-election “lame duck session,” Antani stated.
Antani told the Daily News that consumers do not want rates to go up, but at the same time, “We have to keep the lights on.”
DP&L recently has stated that the utility is dealing with a number of challenges – among them, weakening credit ratings, “anemic load growth” and “historically low market prices,” a November 14 account in the newspaper said.
A DP&L spokesperson also confirmed that the company is pursuing such an amendment. “It’s just one of those tools that the PUCO has when they address electric security plan cases,” said DP&L’s Director of Corporate Communications Mary Ann Kabel. “As you know, the PUCO has a very, very rigorous process. It would have to pass the scrutiny of the PUCO, the (case) intervenors, the hearing process. There are a lot of checks and balances along the way.”
However, foes of the plan also are becoming increasingly vocal. Ryan Augsburger, managing director, Public Policy Services, for the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, told the newspaper that such legislative language would “effectively (insure) utility companies from business risk with customer dollars.”
”It equates to a lot of new costs with no benefits to manufacturers,” said Augsburger
“Ratepayers should not be the unwilling guarantor of a utility’s every business decision,” said Todd Snitchler, a former PUCO chairman and a current principal with the Columbus law firm, Vorys Advisors.
Matt Schilling, a spokesperson for PUCO, said PUCO is aware of DP&L’s efforts, but that the commission does not comment on pending legislation.