COLUMBUS, OH (June 16, 2021) – Today the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) approved AES Ohio’s “smart grid” plan. AES Ohio will spend up to $267 million over the next four years on smart meters and self-healing grid technologies capable of responding in real time to service outages and more.
Today’s commission decision approved a settlement agreement that resolves several regulatory cases, including AES Ohio’s smart grid plan, the utilities’ earnings tests for 2018 and 2019, and a 4-year review of AES Ohio’s “electric security plan.”
Under the terms of the settlement AES Ohio will:
- Smart Meters – Invest $77.6 million to install smart meters. Customers will be able to access data about their usage through a secure online portal.
- Self-Healing Grid – Invest $109 million in self-healing grid technologies, including, but not limited to distribution and substation automation, advanced distribution management systems, and conservation voltage reduction and Volt/Var Optimization.
- Electric Vehicle Rebates – Provide $5.1 million in rebates for electric vehicle charging stations.
- Smart Thermostat – Provide $1.4 million towards smart thermostat education and rebates. Funding is provided by AES Ohio shareholders and not paid by utility customers.
- Low-income and Economic Development – Provide $900,000 towards low-income home weatherization, and $800,000 towards economic development initiatives in the city of Dayton. Funding is provided by AES Ohio shareholders and not paid by utility customers.
- Audits and Savings – Smart grid investments will be subject to annual PUCO audits to ensure only appropriate costs are paid by customers. Any operational savings realized by AES Ohio from the smart grid operations will be used to offset the program costs.
AES Ohio estimates that the residential customer using 1,000 kilowatts of electricity per month will see a $0.94 increase in their monthly bill.
Other provisions of the settlement approved today resolve annual earnings tests for 2018 and 2019, and a four-year review of AES Ohio’s electric security plan.
In today’s order, the Commission noted that planned smart grid capital investments by AES Ohio, and capital investments by its corporate parent, AES, helped satisfy the 2018 and 2019 earnings tests. Further, the Commission determined the four-year review of AES Ohio’s electric security plan will continue to provide favorable results compared to a market rate option.
On Oct. 23, 2020 a settlement resolving the above mentioned cases was filed by AES Ohio, PUCO staff, the city of Dayton, Sierra Club, Environmental Law & Policy Center, National Resources Defense Council, Ohio Environmental Council, Smart Thermostat Coalition, Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy, University of Dayton, Ohio Hospital Association, Industrial Energy Users-Ohio, Ohio Manufacturer’s Association Energy Group, Ohio Energy Group, Kroger, Honda, Mission:data, ChargePoint, Amada Power and IGS. The settlement agreement was opposed by the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel (OCC).
In separate business, the Commission rejected five and granted one rehearing request from the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel regarding AES Ohio’s electric security plan. The OCC requested rehearing of the Commission’s Dec. 18, 2019 order authorizing AES Ohio to revert to a previous rate plan after the Commission discontinued a separate “distribution modernization rider” ruled to be unlawful by the Supreme Court of Ohio.
Among the issues raised by the OCC was a request to make AES Ohio’s “rate stabilization charge” subject to refund should the Supreme Court of Ohio rule it unlawful in a subsequent appeal. The Commission granted OCC’s rehearing request on this issue by directing the utility to update the tariff to state it may be refunded “to the extent permitted by law.”
Copies of today’s Commission opinion and order, and entry on rehearing are available online by visiting the PUCO’s Docketing Information System at https://dis.puc.state.oh.us and searching for cases 18-1875-EL-GRD and 08-1094-EL-SSO.