COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Votes are nearing on two closely watched energy deals in Ohio that have drawn national attention from consumer, business, energy and environmental groups.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Votes are nearing on two closely watched energy deals in Ohio that have drawn national attention from consumer, business, energy and environmental groups.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio is scheduled to take up power purchase agreements submitted separately by Akron-based FirstEnergy and Columbus-based AEP at its meeting Thursday.

The power companies are asking regulators to permit rate increases and profit guarantees over the next eight years to cover operational costs at certain aging coal-fired and nuclear plants, modernize the power grid and transition to cleaner energy sources.

Critics call the plans bailouts. The companies say they protect jobs and efficient, reliable energy sources.

The Ohio Consumers' Counsel estimates the settlements would cost consumers $5.9 billion combined over the duration $3.9 billion for FirstEnergy and $2 billion for AEP.