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PUCO Approves FirstEnergy Plan To Boost Credit

For nearly 2 years Akron based First Energy has lobbied for permission to increase fees on customer’s bills to fund infrastructure improvements. Earlier this week the Ohio Public Utilities Commission said yes.  The new fee is expected to raise $200 million dollars a year.

First Energy plans to use those fees to help boost the company’s credit and allow them to borrow beyond the $200 million and modernize their network.

The company’s Doug Colafella says this is a first step to start using new technology for power distribution.

“We believe that the dollars we are requesting would really help provide the ability for us to obtain the financing we need to jumpstart smart grid modernization,” said Colafella.

The plan, could cost ratepayers $1 billion over the course of five years. 

Several critics of the proposal say there’s no enforcement mechanism to make sure FirstEnergy achieves grid modernization, and appeals to PUCO are possible.

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