Settlement for FirstEnergy to refund Ohio customers approved

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FILE – This April 4, 2017, file photo shows the entrance to FirstEnergy Corp.’s Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in Oak Harbor, Ohio. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane, File)

CLEVELAND (WJW) – The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio approved a settlement Wednesday that FirstEnergy‘s three Ohio utilities have to refund customers $306 million for having collected significantly excessive profits.

The agreement calls for the utilities to refund $96 million (which includes interest) related to the utilities’ 2017-2019 annual earnings tests.

Residential customers would receive a one-time bill credit of about $27, while nonresidential customers would get about $2.60 per megawatt hour credit over a six-month period.

Ohio’s three Ohio utilities are Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company, Ohio Edison and Toledo Edison.

“I’m pleased to see that the Commission has approved refunds and rate reductions for FirstEnergy’s Ohio utility customers,” stated PUCO Chair Jenifer French. “Today we resolve years of effort by numerous stakeholders in these cases and thank them for coming together to craft this sensible resolution.”

The case began with the Consumers’ Counsel appealing a decision by PUCO that the FirstEnergy companies did not earn significantly excessive profits between 2017 and 2019. As regulated companies responsible for keeping the lights on, they are allowed to make money, but are not permitted to earn significantly excessive profits.

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled in December 2020 that FirstEnergy companies could not exclude revenue from a customer charge for electric grid modernization in calculating profits.

FirstEnergy in July agreed to pay $230 million in penalties to avoid federal prosecution for having secretly funded a $60 million bribery scheme to win a legislative bailout in 2019 for two nuclear plants operated at the time by a wholly-owned subsidiary.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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