A utility spokeswoman, Ellen Raines, said Thursday the discounted rates don't cover the cost of providing electricity.
``Traditionally, the schools have had very heavily discounted electric rates,'' she said. ``We have to bring our revenue more in line with our costs, just as everybody else does.''
The Cleveland district, which negotiated its own deal, said the loss of its discount would increase its electric bill by $4 million. Cleveland schools CEO Eugene Sanders said the company's plan was an injustice because it would lead to more budget cuts.
Lawyers for the school district have asked the PUCO to freeze the district's present rate until the two sides negotiate a new deal or the commission sets the amount.
The commission is expected to approve a new three-year rate structure for FirstEnergy by Dec. 31.
The Cleveland schools, which spend about $5.6 million a year for electricity, get 40 percent off, according to Raines. She said the district can seek relief from the commission after it approves a rate plan for the company's 2 million Ohio customers.
On the Net: Ohio Schools Council: http://www.osconline.org