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AEP CEO Seeks "Redefinition" Of Ohio Energy Policy In Grid Mod. Bill That Would Allow Utilities To Offer Value-Added Services (Energy Management/Control, DR, Shared Solar, More)

Touts New Ohio Law Allowing Utility To Enter Into Bilateral Contracts With Customers For Renewables

July 25, 2019

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Copyright 2010-19
Reporting by Paul Ring •

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During an earnings call today, AEP CEO Nick Akins touted the ability of utility AEP Ohio to now enter into bilateral contracts with certain customers for renewable energy development, and looked towards the "redefinition" of Ohio energy policy via pending HB 247, which would allow utilities to offer various smart energy and value-added services

As previously highlighted by, the adopted nuclear subsidy bill, HB 6, allows utilities, subject to PUCO approval, to enter into an agreement having a term of three years or more with a mercantile customer or group of mercantile customers for the purpose of constructing a customer-sited renewable energy resource that will provide the mercantile customer or group with a "material" portion of the customer's or group's electricity requirements

Akins called this provision an "important issue" and said that AEP Ohio has had "specific requests" from customers who have sought for AEP Ohio to be a provider of renewable resources, in addition to being the wires provider

Akins also noted that the 400 MW of proposed AEP Ohio utility solar, currently pending before PUCO, would be eligible for clean air funding under HB 6.

Akins further said that another bill pending before lawmakers, HB 247, would complete the "redefinition" of Ohio energy policy

Akins said that HB 247 would allow utilities to provide "emerging technologies" to customers

Specifically, the bill would allow utilities, under an electric security plan, to provide, "customer-focused energy services or products" and "smart grid technology" to customers

"Customer-focused energy services or products" is defined as including, but is not limited to, the following:

(a) Services related to energy reliability and resiliency

(b) Curtailment and individual customer and aggregated demand response activities

(c) Energy efficiency or reduction

(d) Energy storage or battery functions

(e) Energy management

(f) Energy monitoring and control technologies

(g) Lighting controls and other smart controls

(h) Warranty and repair services

(i) Electric vehicle charging stations

(j) Microgrids

(k) Community solar energy facilities

(l) Energy-related physical security and cybersecurity

"Customer-focused energy services or products" also includes the installation, financing, leasing, or management of technology, data, and devices related to such services or products and the installation and management of smart grid technology to facilitate such services, the bill says

The bill would provide that the utility may not include incremental costs directly related to customer-focused energy services or products in base distribution rates, but shall instead recover such incremental costs of such services through charges to customers who elect to subscribe to those services.

The bill would strike current statutory language requiring that "a product or service other than retail electric service" or a "nonelectric product or service" must be offered through a utility affiliate.

Akins said that hearings on the bill are expected in September

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