Rep. Stinziano Calls for Open Dialogue on Utility Rate Case Process

COLUMBUS – State Representative Michael Stinziano (D-Columbus) is calling for reform in the wake of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio’s decisions to throw out a previously approved American Electric Power rate plan.

“While I applaud today’s decision by the PUCO to give relief to our small businesses, churches and schools, the process by which the PUCO reached this decision has been troubling,” said Rep. Stinziano, who represents the residents and businesses affected by the AEP rate plan.

The recent issue regarding the AEP rate plan has raised concern among members on both sides of the aisle. After the new rates took effect in January, it was reported that small businesses, churches and schools were some of the consumers hardest hit by the new rates. Rep. Stinziano, a member of the House Public Utilities Committee, has called for hearings to examine the need for reforms in the rate approval process and to ensure that Ohio’s small businesses, churches and schools are protected from unfair burdens in the future.

“We have seen positive indicators that show we are beginning to climb our way out of the economic downturn,” Rep. Stinziano said. “Recent events have shown that now is the time to look for reforms in the rate process that remove economic barriers and establish a truly competitive marketplace. It is important that the decisions the PUCO makes not slow or reverse the progress Ohio is making. I look forward to working with the PUCO and my colleagues on the committee to find the right balance of reforms that will protect consumers from shouldering an unfair burden of the cost while maintaining a competitive marketplace.”

AEP now has 30 days to decide whether it will reapply with the same rate proposal submitted in January 2011, or submit a new one.