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OH Regulators Hear Testimony On Controversial Utility "Tariffs"

Wed, 09/14/2011 - 9:16am

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio utility regulators are preparing to hear testimony on a plan that would offer utility-bill breaks to businesses that create jobs.

The idea of these "economic development tariffs" was pitched by the staff of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio in July as a unique way to attract growing businesses to the struggling state. Filings with the regulators show details of the plan have raised skepticism not only among utilities and manufacturers that are heavy energy users, but also among consumer advocates and residents.

Consumers would pay for 80 percent of the cost, and utilities would absorb the other 20 percent. One opponent says having customers pay for business perks is "inexcusable." Utilities question whether forcing them to pay a tariff is legal.

A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

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