Regulators deny rate hike to fund solar project

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An electricity rate hike that would have funded a solar farm in southern Ohio was denied by state regulators Thursday.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio voted to deny the application saying American Electric Power hadn’t proven a need for the 400-megawatt Highland County project.

Ohio law requires the commission to determine whether a proposed project to generate electricity is needed, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

The company argued customers want more renewable energy and that the project would bring jobs.

The commissioners said there’s already renewable options for customers in the state’s current electricity market.

A typical customer would have paid 28 cents per month initially to finance the project. The company expected this amount to decrease over time, which opponents have disputed.

The project was supported by electricity customers and environmental groups, but opposed by the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, businesses and others.

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