American Electric Power customers will start seeing a new charge on their electric bills that will help fund the utility's new energy efficiency programs, according to this article in The Columbus Dispatch. The article notes that a typical household in central Ohio using 1,000 kilowatt-hours a month will pay $2.84 per month. All customers, commercial and residential, will pay the fee, which will add up to $162 million over a three-year period. AEP will use the money to fund its energy efficiency programs, created to help customers achieve energy savings through using less electricity. Those programs currently include: 1) appliance recycling; 2) energy efficient lighting; 3) lighting incentives and custom project incentives; 4) a process whereby mercantile customers, which are subject to an increasing rider under 4928.66(A)(1), can pursue their own projects and potentially receive a rider exemption; 5) and 6) two pilot programs through AEP's Partnership With Ohio Fund for energy efficiency kits. Additional details about the monthly charge can be found here. Information on AEP's programs can be found here.

In a related development, Duke Energy Ohio customers will start to see new charges on their bills to pay for "smart grid" technologies the utility is currently deploying. In an order released last month, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio approved a stipulation between Duke and groups representing some of its customers that established rates for the new charges. According to this article in The (Georgetown) News Democrat, Duke's Ohio residential electric customers will pay 49 cents more per month and natural gas customers will pay 12 cents more per month. The new charges went into effect on May 17. The Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel did not sign on to the stipulation because Duke did not provide any assurances about when residential consumers would benefit from the smart grid and "dynamic prices." With dynamic pricing, customers can respond to real-time electricity prices by adjusting their electricity usage throughout the day. A copy of the PUCO order can be found here. A smart grid primer can be found here.