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Ohio court rules against utility

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court has upheld a state law that keeps a utility from earning excessive profits.

The state's high court on Thursday rejected an argument by American Electric Power that the utility should not have been assessed a penalty for taking excessive profits in 2009.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that the court, in a 6-1 decision, rejected AEP's argument that the penalty was based on a law too vague to be enforceable. The court also disagreed with business groups and consumer advocates who argued that the utility should have faced a larger penalty than the $42 million it paid.

The 2008 law gave utilities wide latitude to raise rates but also gave the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio the discretion to decide what constitutes excessive profit.

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