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Court dismisses challenge of AEP rate hike

IRONTON — The Ohio Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a challenge of an already imposed rate increase by American Electric Power.

Several organizations had objected to the three-year increase, which was approved in March by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. Much of the objection centered on the utilities plan that a portion of the increase would be imposed retroactively because AEP considered the PUCO tardy in reaching its decision.

“We are disappointed at the outcome, but will continue to take action to protect residential customers from rate increases we believe are unlawful,” Ohio Consumers’ Counsel Janine Migden-Ostrander said. “We have been fighting for months to get refunds we believe consumers are entitled to receive.  We will likely file another appeal of the AEP rate plan after the PUCO issues another order on rehearing.”

With the court’s announcement, the current rate plan will stay in effect, barring some future action by the PUCO or any other type of legal action.

AEP customers will have a maximum rate increase of 7 percent in 2009 and 6 percent in both 2010 and 2011.

The utility serves large portions of both Lawrence and Scioto counties.