first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享John Funk for the Cleveland Plain Dealer:FirstEnergy customers could save $256 million over the next eight years, state regulators believe, by paying increased monthly bills now.That extra money, which could be as low as $3.50 or as high as $8-to-$10 a month in the next couple of years, will subsidize the operations of two power plants that cannot match the low-priced power produced by natural gas-fired plants, which now set wholesale prices on the high-voltage grid.The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio handed down its ruling Thursday, agreeing with FirstEnergy that saving the old power plants is a good idea and that in later years the arrangement will lower customer bills because natural gas prices could increase significantly. The commission also concluded that if the plants were to close, the cost of building new transmission line upgrades would cost between $436 million and $1.1 billion, costs customers would bear.The opinion and order, which is sure to be appealed, dismisses the arguments made by the experts retained by opponents, including the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council, the Sierra Club, competing power companies and others. These analysts concluded that the power deals could cost FirstEnergy’s customers an extra $3 billion to $5 billion over the eight years.UCO believes FirstEnergy deal will save customers $256 million Appeals Expected in Ohio Ruling to Keep Aging Coal Plants Onlinelast_img