Cleveland Public Power added unapproved environmental charge again according to utilities committee

Posted at 10:01 PM, Mar 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-03 22:17:43-05

Some leaders at Cleveland City Hall said Cleveland Public Power has once again added an unapproved environmental adjustment charge to customer bills.

Members of Cleveland's utility committee told News 5 the charge was added in Dec. 2016, even though the utility promised Cleveland City Council members it would not reinstitute the controversial charge until ongoing lawsuits on the issue where settled.

Utilities committee member Michael Polensek said the charge was not approved by city council, even though the city charter makes it clear rate hikes of any kind must be brought before the council.

Polensek believes CPP is padding its tight budget with the unexplained, unapproved adjustment charges, which he said is unfair to thousands of customers.

"I could tell you what I think of the charge, but it would be a four letter word that you wouldn't want to put on air," said Polensek.

"They could not even adequately explain the charge."

Hundreds of CPP customers like James Yeager of Cleveland are also looking for an explanation.

Yeager said his Cleveland Public Power bill has now peaked at more than $280, more than half of that bill is made up of the unexplained energy adjustment charge.

A similar CPP environmental charge is now the subject of two class action lawsuits.

One of the lawsuits, filed on behalf of hundreds of customers, alleges the electric utility levied more than 42 million in unsubstantiated charges from 2007 to 2013.

So far Cleveland Public Power has been unwilling to comment or explain these charges, only saying they are part of ongoing litigation.

Yeager had plenty to say about a charge he believes is simply unfair.

"I want to know where my money is going, I really do," said Yeager

"Everyone else is paying 70 to 80 bucks a month for using ten times what I'm using. It's just ridiculous."

"Our city government itself is just letting this go; we had a councilman who said I didn't even notice the charge."