A unit of FirstEnergy Corp. chosen by some consumers to supply their electricity has decided not to impose a winter surcharge related to January’s “polar vortex.”
The charge, however, will still apply to businesses, a company official confirmed.
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio launched an investigation into FirstEnergy Solutions, the Akron-based subsdiary of FirstEnergy Corp.
FirstEnergy Solutions said it would charge consumers for its extra expenses to obtain electricity during the extreme cold of this past January.
The charge was to be a one-time fee of $5 to $15, even if those customers had contracts that call for a fixed price or a guaranteed discount off the regulated price.
Business customers would pay up to 3 percent of their annual electricity-generation cost, which could be substantial, though no examples were available.
Residential and business customers were angry with the surcharge, which would have affected 2.1 million customers in six states that had signed up with FirstEnergy Solutions as an alternative to their local utility.
In a news release, the company said it would waive the surcharge for residential customers that would have shown up in May, June or July bills.
“It was a very difficult winter, particularly for residential customers, and hopefully waiving the surcharge will make it somewhat easier,” said Donald R. Schneider, president of FirstEnergy Solutions. “Even though our contracts allow us to pass through surcharges, we have decided we won’t seek reimbursement from residential customers for the added costs.”
Matt Schilling, spokesman for the PUCO, said he was not sure whether FirstEnergy’s decision would close the agency’s investigation since business customers will still be charged.
FirstEnergy spokesman Todd Schneider confirmed that business and industrial customers would still be charged up to 3 percent of their annual electricity-generation cost.