COLUMBUS, OH (WCMH) – The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) held a public hearing in Columbus Monday on AEP Ohio’s proposal to increase the customers’ fixed fees 120 percent.
The fixed charge, or “customer charge,” is a portion of the electric bill consumers pay regardless what volume of electricity they use.
None of the customers who spoke during this hearing were for this proposal because the 120 percent increase will add about $10 per month on your bill.
Low and fixed income residents like Matthew Crouch says that’s too much for them.
“When you’re getting paid weekly at my level of work that’s a paycheck,” said Crouch.
He and others spoke in front of AEP representatives and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, or PUCO, in an attempt to stop AEP’s proposal to increase the fixed customer charge.
A PUCO representative said this is the process they take before deciding whether or not the commission will allow the increase, but speakers like Crouch say $10 it is just too much for low and fixed income people.
“This is kind of cooperate brutalism,” Crouch said laughing. “Somebody needs to just so look this is how it’s affecting me and that’s all I’m doing.”
He’s not alone, others said they believe they are being punished even though they are doing all they can to lower their energy bill, because they can’t afford to pay more.
Hilltop resident Kelsey Starr said, “$120 is a lot to a lot of us. I have family members who like other people who testified mentioned they are one medication that they have to pay for, and they can’t always afford them.”
Columbus resident Spencer Dennis added, “$10 a month to me, I’m young. I can go get a second job or whatever, you know, if the financial situation change, but we don’t all have that opportunity.”
AEP released this statement.
AEP Ohio values this public process and we appreciate hearing from our customers. Overall, the change in the fixed customer charge will be offset by decreases in other monthly charges. AEP Ohio continues to support energy efficiency programs, investment in new technologies and renewables.”
If you were unable to make it to this hearing you can call PUCO at 800-686-7826 or go to their website www.puco.ohio.gov.