FERC puts brakes on Ohio energy deals for AEP, FirstEnergy

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Two closely watched energy deals in Ohio allowing two utility companies to impose short-term rate increases on electricity customers cannot take effect until federal regulators approve them.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said Wednesday that the power purchase agreements filed separately by Akron-based FirstEnergy and Columbus-based American Electric Power are not valid unless the two companies apply for, and receive federal approval.

The Columbus Dispatch reports the decision comes in response to complaints filed by competing electricity companies that say the plans are illegal subsidies.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio last month approved the deals that would allow FirstEnergy and AEP to raise rates to subsidize some older coal-fired and nuclear power plants.

The deals have drawn national attention from business, consumer, environmental and energy groups.

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