FirstEnergy Agrees to Repay $ 306 Million to Ohio Customers | national

CLEVELAND (AP) – Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp., one of the largest utilities holding companies in the United States, on Monday announced it had reached an agreement with the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel and other groups to reimburse its customers in Ohio and cut their rates by a total of $ 306 million for taking grossly excessive profits.

Refunds total $ 96 million, including $ 51 million to residential customers. Customer bills will also be reduced by a total of $ 210 million over four years starting in 2022. Reimbursement and bill credits total about $ 85 for the average residential customer.

The regulation must be approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

“Today’s record rebate is the culmination of OCC’s tireless efforts over several years to secure reimbursements for consumers for FirstEnergy’s high profits,” said Ohio Consumer Lawyer Bruce Weston, in a statement. “Consumers need to get $ 306 million worth of justice. We hope that’s a trend.

NOPEC, a non-profit energy aggregator that sells electricity to residential customers, worked with the Consumers Council on issues leading up to the settlement.

“This massive settlement is a tremendous victory for NOPEC’s half a million electrical customers who are rightfully putting money in their pockets and holding utilities accountable,” said Chuck Keiper, Executive Director of NOPEC.

The Ohio Energy Group, which represents major industrial and commercial customers, also played a role in the settlement.

The case began when the Consumers Council appealed a decision by the Ohio Utilities Commission that the FirstEnergy companies did not make significantly excessive profits between 2017 and 2019. As a regulated companies responsible for keeping the lights on, they are allowed to make money, but are not allowed to make significantly excessive profits.

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled in December 2020 that FirstEnergy companies could not exclude revenue from a customer charge for power grid modernization in the profit calculation.

FirstEnergy President and CEO Steven Strah said in a document filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission Monday that settlement talks began in August. Strah said the settlement “is truly in the best interests of all of our Ohio customers.”

FirstEnergy agreed in July to pay $ 230 million in penalties to avoid federal prosecution for secretly funding a $ 60 million bribery program to secure a legislative bailout in 2019 for two nuclear power plants then operated by a subsidiary wholly owned.

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