AEP could stick customers with $61.8M in storm costs

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American Electric Power has a filed a proposal with Ohio regulators that could raise the average customer bill $36 for the next year, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

Although it's a common practice for utilities to seek reimbursement from customers after large storms due to revenue restrictions, the $61.8 million request is one of the largest seen by Ohio regulators.

AEP spokeswoman Terri Flora told the Dispatch that the costs suffered during a June derecho were far beyond what is normally seen and came without warning.

"There is not a utility in this country that does not (go to customers) to recover costs for large-scale storms," Flora said. "We recognize that customers were inconvenienced during the storm, but the work we did was helpful in maintaining our system, and the customer gets the benefit."

The Office of the Ohio Consumer's Council plans to review and respond to the request.

"The OCC will scrutinze AEP's request to collect storm costs from customers, and make recommendations on behalf of consumers to state regulators," said Marty Berkowitz, senior media specialist at OCC.

AEP is certainly not alone, a storm recovery costs have been increasing as a number of severe storms such as Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy have ravaged utility service territories and battered aging infrastructure.

For more:
-see this article
-see the AEP application

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