The Cincinnati Enquirer, May 1, 2009
Critic wants Duke Energy audited
By Mike Boyer
Duke Energy critic Albert Lane is taking his fight against the utility's $55 million annual electric rate hike to the Ohio legislature.
Lane, the only private citizen among the official parties to the rate hike now before the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, has asked the Ohio House and Senate utilities committee to examine whether consumers are being treated fairly in the case.
Lane, a retired commercial real estate broker, refused to sign an agreement between Duke and other parties to the case including the Ohio Consumers' Counsel (OCC) and the PUCO staff, which reduced the rate request from $86 million to $55 million, or about $3.17 a month for the typical residential customer. The agreement is advisory and isn't binding on the five-member commission, which is expected to make a final decision by summer.
"The OCC has signed stipulations and said that the electric rate increase was beneficial to consumers," Lane wrote in a letter to the commission and the House and Senate utility committee chairmen. "Who is now representing the 680,000 Duke Energy of Ohio customers?"
Lane wants an independent third party audit of Duke's accounting among other things.