AARP Ohio earlier testified against the subsidy proposed by American Electric Power (AEP), which the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) soundly rejected in February, and remains opposed to granting AEP a surcharge that will cost consumers an estimated $2 billion to bail out an aging coal plant, according to Trey Addison, who leads work on state utilities issues for AARP Ohio. He notes:
“Ohio’s utilities cannot have it both ways – profiting from a competitive electric market with their unregulated generation affiliates but seeking subsidies as a back stop when they don’t like the prices they are getting in the wholesale power market. Indeed, low wholesale power prices are good for electric consumers.
“The estimated $660 million in enhanced capacity payments given to AEP by PJM – the regional transmission organization – already addresses the issue of making such plants more economic. Charging consumers for additional subsidies is duplicative.
“Further, such state action interferes with the operation of the PJM regional wholesale market by picking certain plants for subsidies charged to consumers and violates Ohio’s electric restructuring act.
“Ohioans who depend on Social Security are not getting a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for next year. They and others on fixed and low incomes who are struggling to make ends meet can't afford electric bills padded with subsidies to bail out an inefficient power plant.”