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Ohio Issues Rules for Interruptible Electric Service

Fortnightly Magazine - June 15 1996

The Ohio Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has OK'd final guidelines for interruptible (IT) electric service, with rules for pricing service options, returning to firm service, and obtaining replacement power so that customers can "buy through" interruptions.

The PUC stressed that new IT tariffs should not guarantee reentry to firm service prior to the expiration of a stated notice period. Utilities must use best efforts to provide replacement power in non-emergency situations and allow customers to specify a source of replacement power. Customers will be compensated for delivered replacement power that exceeds load requirements. However, the PUC rejected a proposal to allow host utilities to condition customer "buy-through" arrangements on reciprocal access to the IT customers of the firm that provides the replacement power. It said that IT customers could seek to buy through an interruption using offsystem supplies only when the host utility otherwise cannot provide the service and that, in times of such power shortages, "public policy and economic development implications weigh in favor of maximizing the number of sources available to Ohio's industrial customers."

Under the new guidelines, utilities may limit the amount of IT service available, but must offer the service on a nondiscriminatory basis. Rate or service unbundling is not required; utilities are encouraged to price IT services so as to recover both marginal costs plus a contribution to fixed costs and other nonavoided costs such as research and development, conservation, and low-income assistance. Re Interruptible Elec. Serv. Guidelines, Case No. 95-866-EL-UNC, Feb. 15, 1996 (Ohio P.U.C.).

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