A final effort by Ohio American Water (OAW) to regain more than $5.8 million at issue in a recent rate case was denied by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) June 23 after the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel (OCC) argued OAW did not comply with the necessary rehearing requirements.
OAW, which provides water to Blacklick Estates in Madison Township, asked for a rehearing of parts of the PUCO’s decision to limit the utility’s latest request to increase rates. The PUCO ruled the utility could increase overall rates 7.1 percent – a fraction of OAW’s original request.
In response to OAW’s rehearing request, the OCC, a residential utility consumer advocate, argued OAW failed to follow the law and should have its application thrown out. The PUCO agreed with the OCC and denied the application. The OCC had requested the PUCO reduce residential customer rates below levels during the consideration of the rate case.
"This decision confirms that OAW’s increase request was too large and that it must reign in spending," Consumers’ Counsel Janine Migden-Ostrander said. "The OCC’s and the PUCO’s staff recommendations to not allow OAW to collect several millions of dollars from its customers were correct."
In May, the PUCO removed more than $4 million in management fees and other expenses, reduced rate case expense by nearly $300,000 and ordered the customer charge to remain at $9.51 per month from the utility’s rate increase request. OAW also will be subject to a management audit as a result of the PUCO’s May decision.