By Business First of Columbus

American Electric Power Company Inc.â¿¿s new electricity rate proposal features several twists and turns, including higher bills for some AEP Ohio customers, lower ones for others, and discounts for businesses looking to hedge their bets on future increases.

The Columbus-based utility filed the plan Thursday afternoon with the Public Utility Commission of Ohio, which will make the call later this year on AEPâ¿¿s proposed generation rates for next year through May 31, 2014. The generation charge, which covers the cost to produce electricity, accounts for 60 percent to 70 percent of a customerâ¿¿s bill, AEP said. The rest is split about equally between electricity transmission and distribution charges.

AEP (NYSE:AEP) is proposing its generation charge increase by an average of 1.5 percent next year, 2.7 percent in 2013 and stay flat for the first five months of 2014. That would boost the average monthly bill of a residential customer in Central Ohio by $1.83 in 2012, the company said.

The increases are well below the 15 percent annual hikes that AEP sought in July 2008, the last time it submitted a rate plan to the PUCO. The commission eventually approved increases that were roughly half of what AEP had requested, including hikes that were capped at 7 percent for 2009, 6 percent last year and 6 percent for 2011 for AEP Ohioâ¿¿s Columbus Southern Power Co. subsidiary that serves Central and southern Ohio.

The PUCO determined in January that those rates contributed to an excessive profit for Columbus Southern in 2009. The commission ordered the company to refund $26.6 million to its customers.

AEP also is seeking approval to redesign its generation rate structure so itâ¿¿s more line with prices in todayâ¿¿s market, said AEP Ohio President Joe Hamrock. The companyâ¿¿s current rates are still based on some costs from the early 1990s, he said. If approved by the PUCO, the redesign could result in generation rates lowered by as much as 20 percent over the planâ¿¿s 29 months for some commercial customers and schools that have historically subsidized below-market rates for residential and certain industrial customers, Hamrock said. On the other hand, some industrial customers could see their generation rates climb as much as 10 percent through May 2014, Hamrock said.