Ohio approves Dayton Power and Light power auction results

Oct 30 (Reuters) - Ohio utility regulators on Wednesday approved the results of Dayton Power and Light Co's first wholesale electric auction that will ultimately determine its retail generation service rates through May 2017.

But the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) could not immediately say whether the auction's results would raise or lower power costs for consumers.

"We should have a better idea of price impact closer to the end of the year," PUCO spokesman Jason Gilham told Reuters.

Officials at DP&L, a unit of U.S. power company AES Corp , were not immediately available to discuss customer prices.

The PUCO said in a release that three competitive suppliers submitted winning bids during the auction held on Oct. 28 to provide electricity to DP&L customers, but it will keep the names of the winning bidders confidential for 21 days.

The auction resulted in an average clearing price of $49.32 per megawatt hour for 10 percent of DP&L's standard service offer load for the delivery period Jan. 1, 2014 through May 31, 2017.

Standard service offer is for customers who buy power from DP&L instead of choosing a competitive supplier.

As a state with a deregulated power market, electric customers in Ohio do not have to buy power sourced by their local utility. Instead, they can buy power from an alternate supplier or join a local government aggregation group.

Regardless of whether a customer buys power from DP&L or from a competitive supplier, DP&L distributes the power to the customer.

About 37 percent of DP&L's customers buy power from competitive suppliers, according to the PUCO website. But, since many of those who have switched are commercial and industrial customers that use a lot of power, those switched customers represent about 70 percent of the utility's total sales.

DP&L will conduct other auctions for 10 percent of its standard service offer load for the period of Jan. 1, 2014 to Dec. 31, 2014; 40 percent for the period of Jan. 1, 2015 to Dec. 31, 2015; and 70 percent for the period of Jan. 1, 2016 to May 31, 2017.

By the end of 2017, the PUCO said DP&L is expected to have divested all of its 3,800 megawatts of generation, of which 2,800 MW are coal-fired and 1,000 MW are natural gas and diesel-fired, as part of the state's ongoing deregulation of the power market.