Press Release

Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Stands Up for Consumers, Affordable, Clean Energy



August 7, 2013


FirstEnergy Renewable Energy Credit Case Shows

Clean, Renewable Energy is Affordable, Working for Ohio

Columbus, OH – The Public Utility Commission of Ohio on Wednesday stood up for consumers by ruling that Akron-based FirstEnergy, the state’s largest utility, must refund customers for $43.3 million in overcharges related to renewable energy credit purchases for 2011. The ruling stems from an audit that found the Utility purchased renewable energy credits from its subsidiary, FirstEnergy Solutions, for 15 times the market rate.

“We are pleased that the Commission will refund customers for charges that should not have been incurred. The fact is that renewable energy is better for our environment and can be better for our bank accounts,” said Nick McDaniel, a staff attorney in the Columbus office of the Environmental Law & Policy Center.

Maryland-based Exeter Associates was asked by the Utility Commission to perform an independent review of FirstEnergy’s purchase of renewable energy credits between 2009 and 2011. That audit determined that FirstEnergy overspent by millions of dollars and recommended that the Utility Commission order the company to return the money that was overcharged to customers.

In its ruling Wednesday, the Utility Commission determined that customers were in fact overcharged and that they should be reimbursed for those charges.

“FirstEnergy has spent much of the last year trying to convince the public and the state legislators that renewable energy is too expensive for Ohio,” said Rob Kelter, senior staff attorney with the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “What they haven’t been telling people is that they’ve been gouging customers while paying their own subsidiary far above the market rate for renewable energy credits.”

Kelter added an additional silver lining for supporters of renewable energy.

“The facts in this case show that renewable energy is affordable because the state’s renewable energy standard is working to deliver clean, renewable, affordable energy to Ohio,” said Kelter.