OCC and NOPEC Advocate for Record $306 Million in Consumer Refunds
By NOPEC on January 20, 2022
Consumer advocacy by the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel (OCC) and the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC) led to a historic settlement at the PUCO resulting in FirstEnergy refunding $306 million in “significantly excessive” profits to 2.1 million customers. The first installment of the refunds, averaging $26.91 for residential customers, appear as bill credits on this month’s Cleveland Electric Illuminating, Ohio Edison and Toledo Edison bills. Non-residential customers received $2.68 per mWh. The remainder of the refund will be paid out to customers as credits on their electric bills over the next five years. The average FirstEnergy residential customer will receive a total of $85.71 paid in installments as follows:
· $1.87 per month ($22.44 annually) per consumer (for $80 million in total will be credited in 2022, through a monthly bill credit).
· $1.40 per month ($16.80 annually) per consumer (for $60 million in total will be credited in 2023, through a monthly bill credit).
· $1.05 per month ($12.60 annually) per consumer (for $45 million in total will be credited in 2024, through a monthly bill credit).
· $0.58 per month ($6.96 annually) per consumer (for $25 million in total will be credited in 2025, through a monthly bill credit).
The settlement involves profits cases under a 2008 utility ratemaking law known as Senate Bill 221, which requires refunds of charges for “significantly excessive” utility profits. Previously the most any electric utility was required to refund to consumers for “significantly excessive” profits was $43 million from AEP Ohio about a decade ago. The 2008 law limits electric utility refunds to “significantly excessive” profits and allows electric utilities to keep excessive profits.
"Today's record refund is the culmination of OCC's hard-fought efforts over several years to secure refunds for consumers regarding FirstEnergy's high profits," said Ohio Consumers' Counsel Bruce Weston. "Last year, in an OCC appeal, the Ohio Supreme Court threw out a PUCO decision shielding FirstEnergy from refunding profits. Consumers are to get $306 million of justice. We hope it's a trend," Weston added.
"As Ohio's largest non-profit retail energy aggregator, we consider advocacy to be an important cornerstone of NOPEC's core mission to protect consumers against unfair, excessive charges," said NOPEC Executive Director Chuck Keiper. "Our partnership with the OCC in this mission has yielded yet another meaningful win for Ohio ratepayers. This massive settlement is a tremendous victory for NOPEC's half a million electric customers that rightfully puts money back into their pockets and holds utilities accountable," Keiper added.
About the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC)
NOPEC is Ohio's largest non-profit energy supplier that provides competitive energy cost savings to residents and small businesses using a buy in bulk method. NOPEC negotiates for lower energy rates and better terms and conditions, educates residents and customers on how they can conserve energy and save even more on their energy bills and advocates for consumer-friendly energy legislation at both the state and federal level. Since 2001, NOPEC has saved Ohio consumers hundreds of millions of dollars on their energy costs. NOPEC has also awarded over $40 million in community energy-efficiency grants.
About the Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel (OCC)
The Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel is the state's representative of millions of residential utility consumers, as the utility/PUCO watchdog. The state agency serves Ohio consumers in state and federal proceedings affecting their electric, natural gas, telephone, and water services. The agency also educates consumers about their utility services.