Youngstown Thermal (YT), a steam provider, has filed a lawsuit against Ohio Edison Co., seeking more than $3 million in damages for alleged anticompetitive practices. An August 31 ruling by the Ohio Public Utilities Commission (PUC) found that Edison's contract to provide cooling services to the Mahoning County jail allowed for revenues below the utility's actual cost of providing service, and was negotiated for the purpose of destroying competition. The lawsuit alleges that Edison's illegal bid prevented YT from securing an anchor customer for its new district cooling service, designed to cool downtown Youngstown buildings through a network of chilled water lines. YT cites what it claims to be an internal Edison memo from 1993 that reads, "It is important for us to defeat the Thermal proposal since this facility would serve as a basis to expand chilled water service to other downtown businesses which presently purchase electricity for their own inhouse chillers." t
Lori A. Burkhart is an associate legal editor of PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY.
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