With the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio offering approval for the latest rate plan from the state's largest utility company, dissatisfaction with Ohio's unfinished electricity deregulation policy has come to a head.
Ohio.com notes that policymakers in the state were initially wary of making a whole-hearted switch to a competitive electricity market when they first implemented this policy.
The idea was to maintain traditional policies for customers of AEP Ohio, which owns the Ohio Power Company and the Columbus Southern Power Company, while opening other utilities to competition. Legislators would then choose one course or the other based on the outcome.
In that time, AEP's electricity rates have risen steadily while utilities like Duke Energy Ohio and FirstEnergy have seen lower electricity prices, with FirstEnergy dropping from the most expensive utility in the state.
In part this stems from the closed process that goes into approving new electricity rates for AEP, but Ohio.com notes that electricity deregulation has proven effective but regulators have only recently made moves to further open the market to alternative electricity providers.
As it stands, the PUCO reports that only 1.7 percent of all of AEP Ohio's customers have chosen to or been able to switch electricity providers, with businesses accounting for nearly 74 percent of that small group.