Regulator Opens Review Of Rules Applicable To Utility Consolidated Billing, Price To Compare Message, Partial Payment Priority, Other Supplier Coordination Issues
October 5, 2022 Email This Story Copyright 2010-21 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
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The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has opened a statutorily required periodic review of the natural gas utility rules under Ohio Adm.Code Chapter 4901:1-13, relating to utility billing, including utility consolidated billing, utility-supplier coordination, and related retail market issues (minimum gas service standards for natural gas companies, Case 22-809-GA-ORD)
Chapter 4901:1-13 itself does not apply to competitive retail natural gas suppliers
PUCO Staff has not proposed any major changes under Chapter 4901:1-13, with respect to any retail market issues, but other stakeholders may use the rulemaking as an opportunity to seek further changes.
As an example, Staff does not propose any change to the price to compare information which is currently required on residential and small
commercial customer utility consolidated bills, with such unchanged message stating: "When shopping for a natural gas supplier, it may be useful to compare supplier offers
with the standard choice offer (SCO) rate [or, if applicable, the gas cost recovery (GCR)
rate] available to eligible customers, which varies monthly based on the market price of
natural gas. Price represents one feature of any offer; there may be other features which
you consider of value. More information about the SCO [or GCR, if applicable] and other
suppliers’ offers is available at energychoice.ohio.gov or by contacting the PUCO."
Staff does propose added language in the partial payment waterfall applicable under utility consolidated bills, include "past due and current nonregulated or nontariffed charges" (a category distinct from retail natural gas supplier charges
Specifically, Staff's proposed rule would state, for utility consolidated bills, partial payments applied towards any past due amount on a bill or the
balance due on a disconnection notice must be apportioned in the following order:
(a) First, credit past due gas or natural gas company service and delivery charges.
(b) Second, credit current gas or natural gas company service and delivery charges.
(c) Third, credit retail natural gas supplier or governmental aggregator charges.
(d) Fourth, credit past due and current nonregulated or nontariffed charges.
If the customer pays the entire amount past due or more, any amount paid over the
amount past due shall be applied first to gas or natural gas company service and
While it may be inapplicable in the current retail market given the existence of POR programs, Staff does propose deletion of the existing rule providing that, "Except in cases where the gas or natural gas company is engaging in a purchase of receivables
program, when a customer switches from a retail natural gas supplier, the gas or natural gas
company shall identify for the customer and state on the bill the date after which the billing
party will no longer remit payments to the previous retail natural gas supplier and include any
outstanding balance due the previous retail natural gas supplier."
Staff also proposes to strike from the rule the following language: "The gas or natural gas company shall switch customer accounts to or from a governmental
aggregation under the same processes and timeframes provided in published tariffs for
switching other customer accounts, except in cases where a customer notifies the gas or natural
gas company of the customer's intent to not join a governmental aggregation by returning a
confirmation notice or otherwise giving notice as provided by that gas or natural gas
In separate cases, PUCO also opened periodic reviews, for natural gas, of the rules applicable to an exit from the merchant function by the utility and alternative rate plans (Ohio Adm.Code Chapter 4901:1-19, Case 22-809-GA-ORD), and the rules applicable to the Gas Cost Recovery (GCR) rate (Ohio Adm.Code Chapter 4901:1-14, Case 22-810-GA-ORD). PUCO Staff did not propose any substantive changes of import to the retail market in either rule