FirstEnergy Corp.’s Ohio electric companies – Ohio Edison, Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company and Toledo Edison – have filed a proposed Electric Security Plan (ESP) with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) that would support their commitment to investing in, modernizing and maintaining the electric distribution system while creating new customer assistance programs and energy efficiency initiatives that help customers manage and control their electric bills.
“Our plan will build on the significant enhancements we’ve made to reinforce the grid against progressively stronger storms,” said Patricia Mullin, acting president of FirstEnergy’s Ohio operations. “We’re committed to making the right investments to ensure a modern, more reliable grid while also keeping electric bills affordable, and we will continue working with interested stakeholders to ensure an open and thorough review of our proposal.”
Utilities in Ohio are required to file plans to establish electric service for their customers. FirstEnergy’s plan – the company’s fifth ESP – maintains an auction process to determine the pricing and supply of electricity for customers who rely on their company for all aspects of their electric service. While the ESP preserves the ability for customers to select their own energy supplier, enhancements to the auction process are proposed to help ensure competitively priced electricity for those who do not shop by increasing interest in the auction from energy suppliers while minimizing their risk.
The eight-year ESP term would begin June 1, 2024, through May 31, 2032. The plan supports additional investments in the distribution system, including grid modernization, maintenance such as storm restoration work and increased tree trimming, energy efficiency programs and bill assistance measures that aim to keep customers’ needs and expectations top of mind. The plan includes:
- Measures to support the companies’ continued investment in the electric distribution system. These include investments in grid modernization, such as the companies’ $626 million Grid Modernization II proposal which was submitted in July 2022 and is pending PUCO approval.
- Provisions to enable the companies’ continued maintenance of the distribution grid, including an enhanced tree-trimming program to accelerate removal of trees and brush that can cause power outages. The plan would help reduce outages caused by trees outside the companies’ rights-of-way, which are a leading contributor to outages during major weather events.
- New energy efficiency programs for residential and commercial customers to help them save energy, reduce their bills and ease their environmental impact.
- Commitment to spend $52 million over the eight-year term of the ESP, without recovery from customers, on initiatives to assist customers and enhance the customer experience. These include low-income bill payment assistance programs, a new senior citizen electric bill discount program, educational efforts to support deployment of electric vehicles and funding to deploy energy storage supporting the distribution system.
If the ESP is approved, the average FirstEnergy Ohio residential customer using 750 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month could expect to see an initial increase of approximately $3.11, or 2.2%, on their electric bill. Over the eight-year term of the plan, the estimated average annual impact to these customers’ bills is an increase of 0.5%.