Columbus, OH (Vocus) July 31, 2008
The Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel (OCC), the residential utility consumer advocate, said today it will be carefully reviewing each utility’s Electric Security Plan and is concerned about any rate increases for residential consumers.
"The anticipated impact of the Electric Security Plans would be a one-two punch to customers’ wallets, as any rate increases would be on the heels of the higher distribution rates proposed by most of Ohio’s major electric and natural gas utilities," said Janine Migden-Ostrander, Consumers’ Counsel.
"These are dire times for many residential consumers, and well beyond just those with low incomes," said Migden-Ostrander. "The decisions made in the coming months -– through Public Utilities Commission of Ohio rules and the utilities’ proposed rate plans -– will determine future rate increases. We need accountability that the money being requested by the utilities is fair and reasonable. The OCC will continue to work as part of the Ohio Consumer and Environmental Advocates and stands ready to protect the interests of residential consumers."
While residential consumers can anticipate a rate increase, the level is undetermined.
"This is uncharted territory in terms of how rates are being set, which highlights the need for the OCC to protect consumers from any unjustified rate increases," said Migden-Ostrander. "While traditional rate cases involve a year-long process, consideration of the Electric Security Plans is on a faster timeline."
As the process moves forward, the OCC will continue to keep residential consumers informed.
About the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel:
The Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel (OCC), the residential utility consumer advocate, represents the interests of 4.5 million households in proceedings before state and federal regulators and in the courts. The state agency also educates consumers about electric, natural gas, telephone and water issues and resolves complaints from individuals. To receive utility information, brochures, schedule a presentation or file a utility complaint, residential consumers may call 1-877-PICKOCC (1-877-742-5622) toll free in Ohio or visit the OCC website at http://www.pickocc.org.
lippe @ occ.state.oh.us