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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

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The Lake Township trustees are joining in what appears to be an upcoming battle between FirstEnergy and aggregations of Ohio communities over the utility’s plan for providing future service.

The trustees Tuesday approved a resolution authorizing solicitor Tom Hays to represent the township in the case filed recently with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

The township is a member of the Northwest Ohio Aggregation Coalition (NOAC) with the cities of Maumee, Oregon, Northwood, Perrysburg, Toledo, and the Village of Holland, Perrysburg Township, and unincorporated townships in Lucas County.

FirstEnergy on April 13 filed an agreement to extend what is called its electric security plan through May 2016.

Members of NOAC, the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council, Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Environmental Law and Policy Center are challenging the plan on several fronts, including FirstEnergy proposed timeline offers insufficient time for affected parties to prepare a response.

The coalitions also allege FirstEnergy seeks a waiver to avoid filing financial projections on the effect of the plan.

“There is not good cause to grant this waiver request,” the challenge says. “The information that FirstEnergy wants waived from filing would show the financial impact on the electric utilities. Such information can be useful, for example, assessing the effect of rate collections, such as $405 million in distribution collections, on the FirstEnergy utilities.”

The case affects almost 2 million Ohioans in FirstEnergy’s service area.

A request by FirstEnergy for a waiver of a rule requiring notices of certain hearings to be published in newspapers in each county of the utility’s service area is also being challenged.

“…the procedural schedule sought by FirstEnergy would not fulfill the law, because it cuts off interventions on April 20, 2012, without any arrangements to notify the public in advance regarding this case,” the coalitions’ argument says.

The Lake Township resolution contends the FirstEnergy plan would add “tens of millions of dollars to the electric bills of homeowners and small business in NOAC territories.”

The PUCO approved the current FirstEnergy electric security plan in August 2010 and it went into effect last June. Under the plan, electric generation rates are determined through a competitive bid process conducted in October and January through 2013.

In other business, the trustees approved a resolution requiring oil and gas developers wanting to use township roads to sign an agreement that establishes rules for preventing damage to the roads and other infrastructure.

The developers would be required to meet with the township road supervisor prior to starting operations in the township.

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