Two Ohio utility companies, DP&L (Dayton Power and Light) and AEP (American Electric Power), have petitioned the Ohio Public Utilities Commission to increase their fixed rate charges. These are the charges on your utility bill that do not vary when you use more or less energy. In the case of DP&L, the charges will increase up to 223%. Utility companies across the country have made similar proposals in the past few years. It’s easy to guess why. Threats to usage-based revenue loom large on the horizon. Homes have become much more energy efficient in recent years, and the popularity of programs such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), Passivhaus, and the Living Building Challenge suggest that they could be drastically more efficient in just a few years.
In February, Consumers Union enumerated the problems with fixed-charge increases thusly:
Low-usage and low-income customers are hit hardest by mandatory fixed fee hikes.
Utilities keep pushing for increases in fixed charges, even as utilities commissions often steer away from them.
Fixed charges reduce customer control.
Reduced incentives for energy efficiency and distributed generation can raise costs for all consumers.
The article and link to the full report are available here, and well worth a read. Other strategies, such as inclining block rates, can provide utilities with the necessary operating revenue without burdening the poor or discouraging the forward-thinking.
If you feel the same please write the PUC and voice your opposition to fixed charges:
Public Utilities Commission of Ohio
180 East Broad Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
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