Rates to Increase by 1% as Duke-Ohio Hits Smart Grid Finish Line

Duke Energy Ohio submitted a notice to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) on January 31 (Case No. 17-33-EL-ATA) stating the utility’s intent to file for a regulatory review of its electric distribution rates on March 2.

The pending regulatory filing is a legal requirement that follows the deployment of smart grid technologies across Duke Energy Ohio’s service territory in southwest Ohio, the company stated, noting that Duke Energy was the first Ohio utility to complete a full smart grid deployment.

As part of its electric grid modernization efforts, the company installed smart meters, communications nodes, self-healing networks, and related technology between 2008 and 2015 – at a cost of about $1.3 billion . Some of the smart grid costs Duke Energy Ohio incurred were recovered via a separate rider on customers’ bills.

One of the regulatory requirements of this rate review is to eliminate this rider and include the outstanding balance in base rates. According to data in the filing, a typical residential customer using 1,000 kWh of electricity per month would see his or her bills increase by about $1.15, or less than 1 percent from 2018 through 2022.

For a typical residential customer, distribution accounts for about 34 percent of monthly charges, Duke said. Most of the remainder is for electric supply. Duke Energy Ohio/Kentucky’s operations provide electric service to about 840,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in a 3,000-square-mile service area and natural gas service to about half a million customers.

Duke Energy Ohio will file its application on March 2. Once that happens, the PUCO will initiate a detailed process that includes hearings in Columbus, as well as public hearings in Duke Energy Ohio’s southwest Ohio service territory.

Duke Energy last filed for a review of its electric distribution rates in 2012.

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