Utility company warns customers will see nearly 30 percent rate hike in electric bills

Beth Torres

If you’re a customer of the utility company American Electric Power Ohio (AEP Ohio), you’ll need to start preparing yourself for much higher electricity rates starting in just a few months.

In a recent press release, AEP Ohio announced that the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) had accepted the auction results that determine the price of electricity generation. These higher electricity prices—combined with increased energy use during the summer months—will mean a substantial increase in customer bills.

AEP Ohio anticipates customers will begin to see this spike in their electric bills starting in June 2023.

Just how high will electric bills soar?

The increase will be substantial. According to AEP, customers can expect an increase of about 28 percent. To put that in perspective, a residential customer who uses in a month 1,000 kilowatt-hours of energy can anticipate their bill to jump from $155 to approximately $198. As to be expected, higher usage will mean a higher bill.

And it’s not just one month that Ohio AEP customers will need to pay higher electricity prices. The utility company says these higher rates will be effective until May 2024.

AEP pays more profits to shareholders

AEP faced criticism over its handling of last summer's forced blackout that left people without power for days. Now with this latest round of bad news regarding increased rates, some media outlets are taking a closer look at the utility company’s profits.

In this video, WBNS 10TV reports that AEP’s increase in electricity rates comes at the same time as the utility company is giving more profits to its shareholders.

What should you do if you can’t afford to pay your AEP Ohio bill?

AEP Ohio president Marc Reitter encourages customers to prepare for higher electric bills by determining if they might qualify for payment plans or bill assistance programs.

The AEP Ohio website lists various programs designed to help consumers pay their utility bills. These include:

  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • Neighbor to Neighbor Bill Pay Assistance Program
  • State of Ohio's Percentage of Income Payment Program (PIPP)

How will higher utility bills impact you?

Inflation is taking its toll on many people who are already struggling with the high cost of living. Seniors on fixed incomes along with low-income wage earners will find these higher utility bills especially challenging.

Let us know in the comments section your feedback and suggestions on this important topic.

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