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Duke Energy Ohio seeks change to rate structure

It won’t have an effect on the utility costs in the Carolinas, but Duke Energy Ohio customers could see rates drop if the company is allowed to change from a regulated rate system to one dictated by the market.

Duke Energy Ohio filed the “standard service offer” Monday, asking the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to approve the company’s move toward a market-based rate structure. The company also plans to ask the commission to approve a transfer of Duke Energy Ohio’s commercial-generation assets out of the regulated utility and into an affiliate.

More than a decade ago, the Ohio legislature began developing a competitive market for deregulated electricity-generation service. In 2008, it created for utilities the option of a market-rate offer that sets prices through an independent, competitive auction process.

In North and South Carolina, customer rates are regulated by state utilities commissions, Duke Energy Carolinas spokesman Jason Wall said.

The move is expected to provide Duke with better returns on its Ohio franchise. The power Duke generates at its Ohio plants could also be sold to other energy providers as coal-powered plants close because of aging and additional federal environmental legislation.

Duke Energy Ohio provides electricity to approximately 685,000 customers and natural gas to approximately 400,000 customers.

Charlotte-based Duke serves customers in the Southeast and the Midwest.

Tara Ramsey can be reached at tara.ramsey@mecktimes.com.

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