OCC: Consumers’ Electric Rates in Hands of PUCO after Governor Strickland Signs Energy Policy Legislation

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Today, Governor Ted Strickland signed into law Senate Bill 221, Ohio’s energy policy legislation. The signing of this legislation puts the future of residential customers’ electric rates in the hands of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO).

However, the way the law is implemented by the PUCO and the attention state regulators give to protecting residential customers will be key. Millions of dollars in consumers’ rates will be at stake, and the Consumers’ Counsel will be working very hard to achieve positive outcomes for residential customers.

Today, Governor Ted Strickland signed into law Senate Bill 221, Ohio’s energy policy legislation. The following statement can be attributed to Janine Migden-Ostrander, Consumers’ Counsel:

“The signing of this legislation puts the future of residential customers’ electric rates in the hands of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO). As rules are proposed and rate plans are considered, the Consumers’ Counsel will continue to advocate for and protect the interests of Ohio’s residential ratepayers.

“Through testimony on this legislation, the OCC was successful in its two-year effort to have renewable and energy efficiency standards for our state. Our office also succeeded in getting some important consumer protections and safeguards in Senate Bill 221, including an initial comparison of a regulated rate against a market rate to ensure the lowest-cost option is adopted; a prudence standard of review for utility costs; and the removal of regulatory transition charges which will save customers hundreds of millions of dollars.

“However, the way the law is implemented by the PUCO and the attention state regulators give to protecting residential customers will be key. Millions of dollars in consumers’ rates will be at stake, and the Consumers’ Counsel will be working very hard to achieve positive outcomes for residential customers.”

About the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel

The Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel (OCC), the residential utility consumer advocate, represents the interests of 4.5 million households in proceedings before state and federal regulators and in the courts. The state agency also educates consumers about electric, natural gas, telephone and water issues and resolves complaints from individuals. To receive utility information, brochures, schedule a presentation or file a utility complaint, residential consumers may call 1-877-PICKOCC (1-877-742-5622) toll free in Ohio or visit the OCC website at http://www.pickocc.org .

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