AEP and FirstEnergy are back at it, engaged in another regulatory hair-pulling, wedgie-yanking, silly girl slapdown in Ohio. The last time these two went at it like this, the public was treated to a remarkably unfocused and confused public relations campaign featuring front groups, high-priced lobbyists smoking cigars, and TV commercials about gigantic checks, scary cafeteria ladies and dodge ball. This time I simply must demand a crying Indian! First company to use the Indian in a commercial wins!
Read the story in the Columbus Dispatch:
AEP said in a filing that, “While AEP Ohio made various attempts to informally resolve this issue, both before and during commission-assisted mediation, it is clear that (FirstEnergy) has no intention to provide any collateral.”
Anyhow, AEP has now launched a collateral attack by intervening very late in the game in PUCO's investigation of FirstEnergy's renewable energy credit ripoff. It seems that FirstEnergy bought renewable energy credits from itself at outrageous prices, and then recovered these costs from consumers in Ohio, instead of paying a much cheaper fine for failure to buy the credits in the first place. FirstEnergy's reasoning is suspected to be that the cost of buying the credits could be foisted off on ratepayers, while the cost of fines would be the shareholders' responsibility. AEP makes another stunning realization in its brief:
AEP Ohio has been monitoring the proceeding as best it could with the prevalent confidential treatment claims in the record that culminated in FirstEnergy filing its initial post-hearing brief as only a cover page with no attempt at redactions of the limited confidential material. That document was recently filed (redacted) in the docket for outside parties to examine. As an observer of this docket and a market participant, AEP Ohio questions FirstEnergy’s motives for its repeated attempts to shroud the market-related issues in this case under a veil of secrecy.
While this bitch-slapping contest is fun to watch (and even more fun when accompanied by an advertising campaign) FirstEnergy has lately been finding that Karma is a cruel master. Just last year, FirstEnergy was on top of the heap. What a difference a year makes. All that scheming and conniving seems to have caught up with FirstEnergy and the company is now caught in a spinning death spiral of increasing velocity. Nothing is going FirstEnergy's way. But that's not unexpected. In addition to my services manipulating advertising campaigns in other states from afar, I also do a little fortune-telling on the side...with the help of my Magic 8 Ball.