AEP Ohio has been on a path the past several years to sell off its power plants and become a middle man distributor that delivers electricity to you. The plan - which is expected to be complete this summer - is to allow AEP Ohio customers to seek the lowest price in an open market from electric suppliers who compete against each other through periodic auctions. These auctions are overseen by the PUCO. How does that affect your bill? In the long run, the natural conclusion would be this is good for the consumer...and it hopefully will be. In the short run, however, your electric bill is still up. Why? Since AEP Ohio is now a distributor of electricity and not a supplier, off-peak discounts have been discontinued as has special rates for customers who use less kilowatt-hours than a specified number. Because AEP Ohio no longer owns the power plant, the impetus to offer discounts to reduce demand during customer high use periods is gone. In addition, homeowners bills - according to AEP Ohios website - reflect the capital investment being made on distribution infrastructure and various riders (short term increases) to cover - among other things - recent major storm damage including the derecho of 2012. All this and we haven't even discussed third party agreements that homeowners have signed to lock in short term discounts that may actually have expired. Hopefully all this helps you - our customer - to better understand why your electric bill is what it is. For more information, go to www.energychoice.ohio.gov, a site set up by the PUCO.