The Company took the first step in what will be a long base rate proceeding, filing a motion to establish a test-year and waiving certain filing requirements. A base rate case is the traditional approach to ratemaking; at its most simplistic, this means you add up all the costs of providing distribution service and divide by the sales. This gives you a rate. There are lots of details that make this a pretty complex problem. Once the full application is filed, the PUCO Staff will have 270 days to review and analyze the proposal and will file a report. That starts the litigation process, which involves filing objections to the Staff Report and ultimately a big rate case or a big settlement. Either way, it’ll be big.
This is a big moment for us. AEP Ohio is including its proposed voluntary DSM program as a part of the rate case filing. OPAE has been told AEP will ask for level funding for the Community Assistance Program (CAP). We have also heard that many of the other programs will be eliminated or downsized. The only thing I know for sure is that there is no way a new program will be in place before next July, which means there will be a gap in funding for CAP.
OPAE is working to get the current program year extended because we’ve been out of the field for a month, and don’t know how long it will be before we go back. Our argument is that the Commission should allow us to spend the money already collected to serve low-income customers for its intended purpose.