- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 1, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - FirstEnergy is asking utility regulators to approve short-term rate increases for about 2 million customers in Ohio in order to sustain operations at some of its older coal and nuclear plants.

The Akron-based power company submitted an 8-year settlement agreement to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Tuesday after 16 months of wrangling. FirstEnergy projects the plan would raise average monthly electric bills $3.25 the first year, but eventually deliver customers rebates totaling $560 million.

Spokesman Doug Colafella said FirstEnergy’s Sammis coal-fired plant and Davis-Besse nuclear plant are valuable assets to Ohio worth protecting. Opponents say raising rates to prop up aging plants is misguided.

The Office of Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, representing utility ratepayers, estimates the proposal would cost consumers about $3.9 billion.

FirstEnergy seeks a decision by Feb. 10.

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