Duke customers in Ohio could pay less for service

An agreement announced by Duke Energy and state officials is expected to mean lower bills next year for the company's electric customers in southwest Ohio.

Duke Energy Ohio says the deal reached Monday will save the average customer 11 percent, or roughly $14 per month, starting Jan. 1. A spokesman for the state's utility watchdog says it can't confirm the size of the expected savings.

Anthony Rodriguez with the Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel says the new, reduced rates will be determined through a bidding process among power wholesalers.

Duke reached the agreement with the consumers' counsel, state regulatory staffers and others. The company provides electricity to about 685,000 Ohio customers in the Cincinnati area and nearby counties.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)