Strickland said PUCO Chairman Alan Schriber informed his office of the PUCO's intention.
"Many Ohioans are still reeling from the impact of the global recession and I am concerned that Ohio's all-electric homeowners are unable to absorb excessive rate increases due to the elimination of the discount that has, until recently, been in effect for decades," Strickland said.
"While First Energy was looking out for its own bottom line, the PUCO acknowledged this issue didn't get the attention it deserved among other considerations and, until yesterday, the Consumers' Counsel failed to stand up for these homeowners. I am deeply disappointed that the system failed Ohio's all-electric homeowners."
"What happened here is completely contradictory to what we have been able to accomplish in Ohio by passing an electricity reform bill to keep electricity rates from exploding like they have in other states."
"Last week, I called on the PUCO to fix this thing and I've made it clear that I believe First Energy should immediately restore all-electric homeowners to the rates they have been paying."
"The next step is for all parties to work together to determine the long-term solution to this problem."
At the Olympian Home Development in Strongsville, many senior citizens saw their electric bills double and triple without the discount. They were grateful and elated when Chanell # News Reporter Tom Beres informed them the discount was being reinstated.
Homeowner Diane Ziehm said, "I think it's wonderful. I really do. At least the politicians listened."
Residents' Association President Carol Witherow said, "It's wonderful. It gives relief to those who need it now. They need to do somethiing for the long range."
On Thursday, the Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel filed a pleading with PUCO, asking for temporary and immediate relief from rate increases for about 100,000 customers of FirstEnergy living in "all-electric" homes.
The OCC, a residential consumer advocate, says some have reported being as high as 300 percent more than what they were paying a year ago.
OCC Counsel Janine Migden-Ostrander said, "FirstEnergy's all-electric customers have reported unmanageable rate increases this winter, and we are asking the PUCO to grant temporary relief pending the outcome of a thorough review."
The OCC's proposal would temporarily restore the original discounts applied to generation and distribution rates for more than 100,000 FirstEnergy customers currently living in all-electric homes.
The OCC's proposal would not apply to special riders, which historically have increased equally for all customers. FirstEnergy serves about 1.9 million customers in Ohio.
The OCC also is asking the PUCO to hold hearings and require FirstEnergy to provide data that would allow a full review of the impact of its current proposal on bills for customers at various winter usage levels.
The goal would be to ensure fair and affordable rates for all customers, balancing the interests of all-electric customers and the remaining FirstEnergy customers.
In addition to requesting the temporary restoration of discounts, the OCC also is asking that: Temporary discounts be applied to each all-electric customer without respect to when they first resided in an all-electric home;
An appropriate balance be determined in establishing rates for all FirstEnergy customers, taking into account customer allegations that the company promised continuous rate discounts to all-electric customers;
The PUCO investigate the allegations of customers regarding promises made, including whether FirstEnergy used customer or shareholder money to pay builders to construct all-electric homes and install high-usage water heaters;
FirstEnergy be required to publish notice of the investigation, inviting customers to participate in local public hearings and send a second notice to all-electric customers explaining the temporary rates and the review process;
FirstEnergy provide an explanation as to why the proposal it filed on Feb. 12, which included additional credits for some high-usage customers, was not made retroactive to the time when the discounts were removed or the beginning of the winter heating season (September);
FirstEnergy provide data showing the bill impact of its proposal based on various levels of customer usage; and FirstEnergy assist customers with arrearages through extended partial payment plans and annual, rather than quarterly, adjustments to their budget plan.
"As the advocate for all of Ohio's 4.5 million residential utility households, we recognize that electric, as well as natural gas, customers have been subject to higher rates for a number of reasons," Migden-Ostrander said.
"In addition to providing immediate relief to those consumers who have been hit hardest by recent rate increases, we also need to determine how to develop fair rate levels for all customer rates going forward."
State Senator Tim Grendell (R-Chesterland),who organized a class action suit seeking to reinstate the discount, called this, "a good first step."
But he says he will "keep riding this all the way to the finish line" to make sure the discounts are made permanent.
Earlier Friday, Grendell delievered a letter to Governor Strickland's office. demanding the resignation of PUCO Chairman Alan Schriber.
Strickland appointed or reappointed all five PUCO members.
State Sen. Tom Patton (R-Strongsville), said "I want to thank the thousands of First Energy customers who made their voices heard and the more than 800 who came out on Monday night to protest the excessive electric rate hikes, resulting from First Energy's decision to eliminate promised discounts for all-electric homes, and the Public Utility Commission of Ohio's approval of First Energy's application."
Patoon and Grendell held a meeting Monday night in Strongsville for some of the 100,000 affected by the First Energy decision.