Regulators Set Votes on FirstEnergy, AEP Rate Deals

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ohio utility regulators have set votes on two proposed energy deals that have drawn national attention from consumer, business, energy and environmental groups.

The power purchase agreements were submitted separately in December by Akron-based FirstEnergy and Columbus-based AEP. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has added both proposals to its agenda for Thursday.

The proposals ask regulators to permit rate increases over the next eight years to subsidize certain aging coal-fired and nuclear plants, modernize the power grid, reduce carbon emissions and guarantee profits.

The Ohio Consumers’ Counsel estimates the settlements would cost consumers $5.9 billion combined over the duration. Some money from rate hikes will be rebated to customers later.

Critics call the plans bailouts. The companies say they’ll protect jobs and help fund the transition to cleaner energy.