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New FirstEnergy price to lead to lower bills by summer

Customers of FirstEnergy Corp., the Akron parent company of Toledo Edison, are expected to have slightly lower electricity bills this summer after an auction of the company's wholesale electricity purchases after June 1 came in approximately 5 percent lower than last year.

The auction, administered this week by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, established a new generation price of $55.60 per megawatt hour effective for the period of June 1 through May 31, 2012.

The comparable rate the previous summer was $58.41 per megawatt hour, a PUCO spokesman said.

How the new wholesale generation rate will affect residential electric bills won't be fully known until FirstEnergy files its request for residential rates using the new generation rate, expected within the next few weeks, FirstEnergy spokesman Ellen Raines said.

A monthly bill is figured on two kinds of rates: one for the electricity itself and a second to pay for getting that power to customers. The new rate in June is likely to be lower than it was in June, 2010, when the utility has its higher summer rates in effect, Ms. Raines said.

The current plan, approved last summer, calls for a series of generation auctions. By having a series of competitive bids for a portion of the power needed, the PUCO hopes to avoid a price spike in the event the economy recovers.

The monitored auction was conducted Tuesday, the PUCO said. There were 10 electric generation suppliers registered and seven submitted winning bids. The names of the winning bidders will remain confidential for 21 days.

Additional auctions will be in October, January, and October, 2012, and January, 2013, to establish the generation prices for 2012 and 2013.

Anthony Rodriguez of the Ohio Consumer's Counsel said FirstEnergy's auctions, which began in 2009, “have so far resulted in lower rates for customers.”

Ms. Raines said the lower generation rates are partially the result of a slow economy, which has reduced usage.

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