Ohio Settlement Commits DP&L To Drop Coal, Add Renewables

Posted by Joseph Bebon on January 31, 2017 No Comments
Categories : New & Noteworthy

In conjunction with nine intervening parties, Dayton Power and Light (DP&L), a subsidiary of The AES Corp., has filed with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) a settlement to its electric security plan (ESP) that would end its ownership in 2,093 MW of coal-fired generation and bring more renewable energy to Ohio.

The parties agreed to a six-year settlement after months of intense negotiation, says the Sierra Club, which has come to an agreement with the utility to also sign on to the settlement later this week.

The environmental group says DP&L originally submitted a request to the PUCO last winter for hundreds of millions of dollars from its customers to prop up its coal plants, which had been losing money for years. Now, the new settlement reached by DP&L and stakeholders reduces DP&L’s rate increase request and secures investments in clean energy and energy efficiency programs.

The Sierra Club and DP&L have reached an agreement (in principle) on terms that would retire the Killen and Stuart coal plants in June 2018 due to economic reasons. Additionally, DP&L has committed to commence a sales process for its ownership shares in the Conesville, Miami Fort and Zimmer coal plants.

According to the Sierra Club, in the proposal submitted to the PUCO, DP&L also commits to the following:

  • Developing at least 300 MW of solar and wind energy projects in Ohio no later than 2022;
  • Providing $2 million in shareholder money to be used for workforce and economic development efforts in Adams and Brown counties and the surrounding communities. This shareholder money would also be used to provide direct job training assistance to working families impacted by the closure of the Stuart and Killen coal plants;
  • Contributing $565,000 annually to help DP&L low-income electricity consumers reduce their energy use and provide bill payment assistance to customers at risk of losing electric service; and
  • Investing $35 million in the first year of the plan to deploy smart grid initiatives. This investment will create the backbone needed to develop electric vehicle charging infrastructure at multifamily homes, retail locations and workplaces.

“DP&L’s coal plants are unable to compete against the cleaner, cheaper options demanded by customers to meet their energy needs,” comments Dan Sawmiller, senior campaign representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign in Ohio.

DP&L says it has asked for an extension of the hearing date by one week to Feb. 8 in order to allow time for parties currently not joining the settlement, including the PUCO Staff, to file testimony.

A final decision by the PUCO is expected by March 31. If the PUCO agrees to the proposed settlement, the average residential customer in the DP&L service territory using 1,000 kWh on the company’s standard service offer can expect a monthly bill increase of $2.39, the utility says.

“While this settlement is still subject to approval by the PUCO, we believe it meets our goals of providing the company an opportunity to achieve the credit metrics necessary to establish financial stability,” says Tom Raga, DP&L’s president and CEO. “This settlement also provides DP&L’s customers safe, affordable and reliable service and prepares our system for the future.”

Sawmiller adds, “This plan includes real opportunities and initiatives, paid for by DP&L’s shareholders, to support the hardworking families in Adams County and the surrounding area through this transition. The Sierra Club is committed to continue working with DP&L and the PUCO to ensure that the clean energy, job creation and transition components of the plan are thoughtfully implemented as soon as practical.”

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