AEP power customers complain about rate increase

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio school and government officials are joining small business owners alarmed by a jump in their bills from American Electric Power.

An AEP spokesman tells The Columbus Dispatch (http://bit.ly/zridDx ) higher rates took effect a couple of weeks after state regulators approved them in December. He says the company didn't have time to warn customers and has received more than 100 complaints.

The treasurer for Logan-Hocking schools in Hocking County says the district was blindsided when its electric bill increased 30 percent last month to more than $51,000. He says the district might have to cut jobs to balance its budget.

AEP says the changes are part of a move toward more competition among power providers.

The board of the agency that approved the changes says it will review the case.

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Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, http://www.dispatch.com