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Settlement Would Establish New Bypassable Charge Added To Default Service Rates

Expand Supplier Consolidated Billing Pilot

Launch Enroll-By-Wallet Program

August 28, 2017

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Copyright 2010-17
Reporting by Paul Ring •

A settlement signed by numerous parties in AEP Ohio's electric security plan proceeding would institute and set the level for a new bypassable charge, the Competition Incentive Rider (CIR)

On a temporary basis until AEP Ohio's next base rate case, the bypassable CIR would be $1.05/MWh. AEP Ohio agrees under the stipulation to file a base distribution case by June 1, 2020.

The CIR, first approved conceptually in a separate case but not yet implemented, would be an addition to the SSO non-shopping rate, intended to incentivize shopping and to recognize that there may be costs associated with providing SSO service that are not fully reflected in the bypassable component of the SSO rate

PUCO Staff had previously provided a proposed level for the initial CIR of $0.62/MWh.

A nonbypassable SSO Credit Rider (SSOCR) would also be established, which would flow amounts collected under the bypassable CIR to all distribution customers (less amounts used to fund a discount on AEP Ohio receivables paid to the utility by suppliers using a supplier consolidated billing pilot)

Affirming a condition under a prior stipulation, AEP Ohio will provide an analysis as part of its next distribution rate case to show all of the actual costs required to provide SSO generation service that are included in the utility's cost of service study, and AEP Ohio also now agrees to propose in the rate case that these costs should be allocated to default service.

Under the ESCO stipulation, AEP Ohio agrees to remove PUCO and OCC assessment fees from the various default service components: Riders GEN-E (energy), GEN-C (capacity), and ACRR (reconciliation). Issues relating to unbundling of SSO costs will be addressed in the next base rate case

AEP Ohio agrees to propose in the next rate case that recovery of bad debt associated with default service generation receivables should be collected through a bypassable portion of the current collectible rider

The stipulation also revises AEP Ohio's Supplier Consolidated Billing (SCB) pilot to allow more supplier participants, and to include a collection discount to the receivables paid by suppliers to AEP Ohio.

The total number of SCB pilot participants would now be five suppliers (currently limited to four specific suppliers, though only three may be currently participating). The settlement states that an additional two suppliers will be selected from certified CRES providers in good standing who submit a formal request in this docket within 30 days of the approval of the stipulation. If more than two certified CRES providers in good standing apply by the deadline, the additional two participants will be selected in a random manner

The number of customers that suppliers could bill under SCB would be expanded to a maximum of 80,000 customers

The SCB pilot would now apply a collection fee or discount rate, as applicable, for AEP Ohio's receivables of 0.66%

The settlement would cap expenditures for the SCB pilot at $2 million -- $1 million funded by the CRES Participants, $1 million funded by customers

Under the settlement, AEP Ohio agrees that within 9 months of approval of the stipulation, AEP Ohio agrees to implement an "enroll from your wallet" alternative using AEP Ohio's CRES Portal for authorized CRES Providers in lieu of complete retail lists. The CRES participants will be notified by the utility if the customer has opted out of enrollment lists, in lieu of switching that customer. Customers that have opted out of enrollment lists will be initially excluded from this program. CRES providers will supply AEP Ohio with the same information that a customer would supply the utility with in order to release the account number associated to the customer account: (1) the customer's phone number assigned to the account; and (2) either (a) the last four digits of the customer's Social Security Number; or (b) the amount of one of the customer's last three bills, to the extent the utility possesses that information for the affected customer. This functionality will allow for batching of information.

The CRES provider must have the Letter of Authorization (LOA), as required by Rule 4901:1-10-24 (E) on file for release of the Service Identification number that AEP uses in lieu of the account number to enroll customers under the enroll-by-wallet program. AEP Ohio will conduct random audits of the CRES providers using this functionality to verify the CRES provider have and retain the LOA at a minimum of once a year.

The participating CRES providers will be charged a one-time authorization fee of $5,000 to cover the cost of enroll-by-wallet implementation. Once the cost of implementation has been recovered AEP Ohio will credit any additional funds through the Smart Grid Phase 2 rider to offset the costs of changes to the supplier portal/EDI protocol.

The settlement was signed by, among other parties, PUCO Staff, AEP Ohio, the Retail Energy Supply Association, IGS Energy, Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy, and several manufacturing groups

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