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Ohio defers vote on FirstEnergy renewables rebates

Julie Carr Smyth, Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio utility regulators have delayed action in a case affecting potentially millions of dollars in rebates of renewable energy overcharges to customers of FirstEnergy Corp.

Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Chairman Todd Snitchler said Wednesday's vote was postponed a week to allow time to fine tune an order addressing whether the Akron-based utility overpaid for renewable energy credits and passed those excess costs on to customers.

Environmental and consumer advocates expressed disappointment in the delay.

Portions of audits detailing estimates of the overcharges have been blocked from public view because of confidentiality claims by the company. That has meant parties — including FirstEnergy competitor American Electric Power-Ohio, the Ohio Consumers' Counsel representing utility ratepayers and environmentalists — can't discuss details.

One estimate put excess payments between $96 million and $126 million.