Kroger is among the parties that have filed with state regulators seeking to stop Dayton Power and Light (DP&L) from raising rates after a recent state directive.
Along with a group of Ohio manufacturers, Kroger seeks to prevent a DP&L proposal to charge consumers higher electric bills, in effect circumventing a Supreme Court ruling that state regulators say should result in lower bills.
“DP&L’s maneuvering is a heads I win, tails you lose for consumers,” Kroger and its allies told state regulators in their filing Wednesday.
DP&L released a statement Friday saying: "DP&L has worked to maintain Ohio’s lowest residential rates among investor-owned utilities. We were disappointed with the termination of our distribution modernization rider, as it was designed to allow DP&L to modernize its distribution system.
"Our current proposal is designed to allow DP&L to maintain basic financial stability," the utility added. "If the PUCO approves our request, DP&L will still have the lowest residential rates in Ohio."
Shortly before Thanksgiving, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) ordered DP&L to terminate its “distribution modernization rider” — which is a monthly charge — in light of a Supreme Court of Ohio ruling against a similar charge for another Ohio utility.
That order resulted in a flurry of new state filings.
In a filing this week, the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel charged that DP&L was attempting to “maneuver” around the PUCO order.
“On November 26, 2019, DP&L filed a plan that defies the PUCO’s ruling – and by necessary extension, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Ohio Edison. DP&L proposed that the PUCO allow it to continue collecting from customers an unlawful above-market transition charge, under a different name (the rate stability charge), from customers,” the counsel’s office wrote in a joint filing with Kroger, the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association and IGS Energy.
The PUCO acted to eliminate the DP&L charge after the state Supreme Court ruled that the PUCO’s allowance of a similar charge to consumers of another utility, First Energy, was unlawful.
In a response to the original PUCO order, Vince Parisi, DP&L’s president and chief executive, said the state directive harms the company’s ability to invest in its power distribution infrastructure.
DP&L also said it already maintains “the lowest residential rates among Ohio’s investor-owned utilities and some of the lowest residential rates in the country.”
“DP&L is disappointed with this (PUCO) decision because it negatively impacts our ability to move forward with investments in the distribution system that allow us to meet customer needs,” Parisi said last month.
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