Demand Lower Bills For Electric Power

Editor, News-Register

Your June 15 Editorial favoring more assistance for Ormet is somewhat understandable. But, urging the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to help Ormet is, at best, ironic.

Ormet has filed an application with the PUCO seeking exceptions from the significant electric bill increases that the PUCO approved for AEP in 2012 over the objections of Ormet and every other consumer stakeholder.

The application filed by Ormet explains that the PUCO-approved prices have escalated dramatically over the last few years and are significantly above electric prices available in the market. Ormet understandably wants further relief from the PUCO approved rate increases because it uses a lot of electricity and it competes in the global market.

But this is also true of many of the large manufacturers who happen to be located in AEP’s service area. AEP’s electric bills are too high for all AEP customers.

Transferring Ormet’s excessive electric bill problem to other customers (as Ormet has proposed) does nothing to address the root cause of the problem.

The root cause of the problem is the PUCO’s unique approval of significantly above-market prices for AEP as AEP was threatening to move its headquarters if the PUCO did anything else. In Ohio, customers are supposed to have the right to obtain electricity from other suppliers. But the PUCO also allowed AEP to collect a large portion of the above-market prices even if customers obtain supply from an alternative supplier.

Your paper and Ohio can help Ormet and do so without shifting the burden of Ormet’s excessive electric bill to other customers. Urging the PUCO to let Ormet procure electricity from the market and doing so without Ormet or other consumers continuing to subsidize AEP’s above-market prices is a much better option.

Sam Randazzo