PUC Sets Prehearing Conference, Settlement Process For Broker Complaint Case In Which Complainant Broker Has Asked PUC To Rescind Contracts Between Retail Suppliers, Customers Which Were Arranged By Competitor Alleged To Be In Violation Of Licensing Requirement
March 6, 2020 Email This Story Copyright 2010-20 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has set a procedural schedule to address a complaint filed by H.P. Technologies, Inc. against Ryan E. Boucher, RES Consulting, LLC, and Fidelis United Energy Solutions, Inc.
As exclusively first reported by EnergyChoiceMatters.com, the complaint is notable because H.P. Technologies is seeking, as part of its requested relief, a PUCO order to, "rescind all contracts Respondents entered into with customers, including contracts entered into with customers with whom Complainant had entered into contracts for aggregation or brokerage services, or arranged for those services, and return those customers to their prior natural gas or electric supplier contracts."
As previously reported, H.P. alleged that, "RES provided CRES [electric] and CRNGS [natural gas] aggregation and/or broker services in Ohio from a period beginning on or before July 2018 through at least May 2019, without obtaining certificates from the Commission." With respect to Fidelis, H.P. alleged that, "Fidelis’ COO (and only acknowledged employee, Respondent Boucher) has engaged in conduct that makes Fidelis unfit to provide CRES or CRNGS [service]."
Among other defenses, the Respondents said that Boucher was under contract with or acting on behalf of one or more entities with active Commission certificates to provide competitive natural gas and electric services. Additionally, the Respondents said that the activities alleged in the complaint do not require a broker license, based on PUCO precedent (PUCO's prior finding that operating as a 'consultant' on natural gas or electric supply issues does not require a certificate unless an entity’s conduct actually rises to the level of 'engaging in the ultimate decision making process and entering into contractual obligations on behalf of . . . clients with respect to the provision of a competitive service')
In a procedural ruling, an attorney examiner for PUCO granted a motion from H.P. to amend the complaint. The amended complaint, which will now be considered, included the requested relief of rescinding customer contracts with retail suppliers noted above
Respondents were provided 15 days to file any
responsive pleadings to the amended complaint.
The attorney examiner directed that the matter is scheduled for a
prehearing settlement conference on April 14, 2020. The prehearing conference will explore the parties’ willingness to negotiate a
resolution of the case. However, nothing prohibits either party from initiating settlement
negotiations prior to the scheduled settlement conference.
If a settlement is not reached at the conference, the matter will be returned
from the mediating attorney examiner to the assigned attorney examiner, who will rule on
outstanding motions and, if appropriate, schedule an evidentiary hearing in the case.