Ohio Supreme Court Declares FirstEnergy’s Grid Fee Illegal

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – The Ohio Supreme Court has rejected a 2017 decision by state utility regulators that allowed FirstEnergy to charge an additional fee to be spent toward modernizing the electric grid.

In a 4-3 decision Wednesday, the court sided with environmental and consumer groups that had challenged the so-called distribution modernization rider to FirstEnergy’s rate plan.

The temporary additional charge has generated between $204 million and $168 million annually since 2017. Homeowners using an average of 750 kilowatt-hours of electricity a month pay $30 more a year to cover the cost.

The court’s majority said it was “wishful thinking” by the staff of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to assume the money would be used as intended, when no “real requirements, restrictions, or conditions” were imposed.

FirstEnergy had no immediate comment.