CLEVELAND (WJW) — More than 2.75 million of Ohioans might soon see a hike in home gas and electric rates.
Ohio utility companies including Columbia Gas, AES Ohio, Duke Energy, and Aqua Ohio have collectively asked state regulators for permission to raise home gas, electric, and water costs for customers.
They are asking for another $400 million in annual charges.
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, headed by five commissioners chosen by the governor for five-year terms, needs to approve these rate increases.
“It is bad timing for utilities to be seeking rate increases at the PUCO, with consumers already hurting from soaring energy prices and inflation,” said Bruce Weston, executive director of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, a state agency that represents residential ratepayers in PUCO cases. “Ohio should lead with its heart and keep Ohioans connected to their utility services.”
Columbia Gas is requesting a $212 million rate increase in monthly bills for natural gas distribution service nearly tripling its current fixed monthly distribution charge from $16.75 to $46.31.
In five years residential consumers could be paying up to $80 per month in fixed charges, before they use even a single unit of natural gas.
Duke Energy is proposing annual revenue caps of $12 million for the last six months of 2022, $46 million in
2023, $75 million in 2024, and $40 million for the first five months of 2025.
According to the OCC, this means a typical residential customer will see a monthly base distribution charge increase from about $37 to $49, costing roughly $144 per year.
AES has asked for a $121 million rate hike. A residential consumer using 1,000 kWh per month would pay about $13.42 more per month to AES who wants to more than double its monthly residential fixed charge from $7 to $15.66.
OCC says this would raise customers’ bills by about $13.42 each per month.
Supplying water service to about 150,500 consumers within the state, Aqua Ohio proposed a base distribution revenue increase of about $8.3 million.
Staff counter-proposed a $2.3 million to $4.1 million revenue increase.
The proposals are still under review. There is no word on expected approval dates.