FirstEnergy Corp.'s Ohio utilities – Ohio Edison, Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company and Toledo Edison – announced recently that the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) approved a comprehensive settlement agreement that will return additional savings to customers related to federal income tax law changes and includes investments to modernize the electric distribution system with advanced automation equipment, real-time voltage controls and smart meters.
The settlement is supported by the PUCO Staff, residential consumers, low income advocates, representatives of industrial and commercial customers, environmental advocates, hospitals, competitive generation suppliers and other parties.
FirstEnergy's Ohio customers will receive 100 percent of the tax savings created by the federal Tax Cut and Jobs Act, which includes tax savings already credited to customers since last year. As a result of the additional tax savings, a typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity could expect to see a reduction of over $4 in monthly bills.
"We are pleased to resolve the tax reform issues and will pass along the tax savings to customers," said Samuel L. Belcher, senior vice president and president of FirstEnergy Utilities. "We look forward to modernizing our electric system with advanced equipment that will help reduce the number and duration of power outages. Smart meters also will allow our customers to make more informed decisions about their energy usage."
Key components of FirstEnergy's approved grid modernization plan include:
- Investing more than $500M over three years
- Installing 700,000 smart meters in the Ohio Edison, The Illuminating Company and Toledo Edison areas along with the necessary supporting communications infrastructure and data management system
- Developing time-varying rates that give customers the opportunity to reduce their monthly electric bill by using energy during off-peak periods
- Installing automated equipment on at least 200 distribution lines that can automatically isolate problems, prevent entire circuit lockouts, and quickly restore electric service to customers
- Installing voltage regulating equipment on more than 200 circuits to provide energy efficiency benefits by reducing excessive voltage levels on the distribution grid.
FirstEnergy is dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The company's transmission subsidiaries operate more than 24,500 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. For more information, visit www.firstenergycorp.com.