CLEVELAND — Dennis Kucinich, a former mayor of Cleveland and two-time Democratic candidate for president, is calling for an immediate cut in Cleveland Public Power’s utility rates, citing a report that found the company’s rates were more than 12% higher than the area’s private power company.
The report found that CPP’s utility rates are on average 12.7% higher than FirstEnergy, the area’s private power company, and that CPP has been “sitting on massive and growing surpluses since at least 2017,” Kucinich posted on his Facebook page.
Kucinich cited figures from the most recent Mayor’s Estimate, showing an $18.5 million surplus in CPP’s account in 2017. In 2018 it increased to a $21.3 million surplus, and increased again last year to a $26.4 million surplus, Kucinich noted.
Based on the company’s numbers, CPP is headed toward a surplus of between $32.8 million to $36.6 million this year, Kucinich said.
“It is unconscionable that at a time when people are hurting financially, and when CPP’s rates are higher than First Energy’s, for the city to be stockpiling cash,” Kucinich said on Facebook. ”The city for one year sat on a consultant’s report which criticized CPPs high rates, while the surpluses kept building! The consultant also recommended wholly unnecessary rate increases, which, given the city’s policies, would build even more surpluses and damage CPP’s standing with its customers.”
The former mayor called for the city of Cleveland to distribute the surplus back to CPP customers in the form of a rate reduction of 12.7%.
“The whole idea of public power is to offer customers lower rates. The system ought to, at least, break even every year, not sit on large cash surpluses, especially during these hard economic times,” Kucinich wrote.
In February, Cleveland citizens groups End Poverty Now and the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, demanded Cleveland Public Power explore changes in its payment and assistance policies after the groups said it was not offering enough options to low-income residents behind on their electric bill payments.