122:5-3-04 Payment and crediting arrangements and responsibilities.

(A) Customer payments.

(1) Monthly PIPP installment amount. For a PIPP customer with an electric baseload residence, the monthly PIPP installment amount shall be the greater of six per cent of such customer's monthly household income, as determined based on current income information provided by the PIPP customer at the time of application or subsequent income verification, or the minimum monthly PIPP installment amount described in paragraph (C) of rule 122:5-3-02 of the Administrative Code. For a PIPP customer with an electrically heated residence, the monthly PIPP installment amount shall be the greater of ten per cent of such customer's monthly household income, as determined based on current income information provided by the PIPP customer at the time of application or subsequent income verification, or the minimum monthly PIPP installment amount.

(2) Exception to minimum monthly PIPP installment. A limited exception to the minimum monthly PIPP installment amount shall be provided to any eligible customer who is determined at the time of enrollment in the PIPP program, or at a future date during program participation, to have a monthly household income of zero dollars. For a zero-income customer, the minimum monthly PIPP installment amount shall be waived for a period of up to one hundred eighty days not more than once in any five-year period. If during such one hundred eighty day period the customer's household income changes, the customer shall notify the office of community services or a local agency as soon as practicable and provide information necessary for the office of community services or the local agency, as applicable, to reverify household income and calculate a new monthly PIPP installment amount. If the customer's monthly PIPP installment amount has not been reverified during the one hundred eighty day period in response to a change in household income, then the customer shall be required at the end of the one hundred eighty day period to have his/her monthly household income reverified and such customer shall be required after reverification to pay a monthly PIPP installment amount calculated as set forth in paragraph (A)(1) of this rule using the customer's reverified monthly household income or the minimum monthly PIPP installment amount, whichever is greater.

(3) Payment to electric utility. PIPP customers shall be required to remit their monthly PIPP installment amounts directly to electric distribution utilities each month. Subject to commission rules applicable to customer billing, paragraph (G) of rule 4901:1-10-22 of the Administrative Code(or any successor rule of substantially the same effect), and any agreements between the director and electric distribution utilities regarding PIPP procedures, the monthly PIPP installment amounts will be shown on monthly bills for electric service. Customer payments shall be credited to the accounts of PIPP customers by each electric distribution utility in accordance with payment crediting rules of the commission. Consistent with the commission rule as set forth in paragraph (C) of rule 4901:1-18-15 of the Administrative Code(or any successor rule of substantially the same effect), electric distribution utilities shall not charge late payment fees to any PIPP customer as long as such customer continues to be an active PIPP customer and no late fees shall be charged to or payable from the fund.

(B) Customer arrearages.

(1) Customer arrearages paid from fund. Since the administration of the PIPP program was transferred to the department of development pursuant to section 4928.53 of the Revised Code, electric distribution utilities have been paid for customer arrearages from the fund. Accrued arrearages have generally been charged to the director and paid to the affected electric distribution utility upon enrollment of an eligible customer in the PIPP program. Current bill balances have been charged to the director monthly and paid from the fund. From and after the effective date of this rule, the director shall continue to pay from the fund accrued arrearages upon initial enrollment of an eligible customer in the PIPP program and monthly current bill balances according to the payment procedures described in rule 122:5-3-05 of the Administrative Code. Each electric distribution utility will maintain accurate records of all customer arrearages paid or reimbursed to the utility through any percentage of income payment plan mechanism, and such records shall be maintained in a form that such electric distribution utility can readily report customer arrearages on a per customer and aggregate basis. Electric distribution utilities shall not be paid any amount included in any customer arrearages that has previously been paid or reimbursed to the utility through any percentage of income payment plan mechanism.

(2) Monthly payment amounts not counted as arrearages. Electric distribution utilities shall not be entitled to recover from the fund, and they shall not charge to the director, any deficiencies accruing as a result of a PIPP customer's failure to pay monthly PIPP installment amounts. Such deficiencies also shall not be counted as customer arrearages for purposes of the arrearage crediting program provided by this rule.

(3) Arrearage credits for eligible customers. Each PIPP customer who makes an on-time payment of the monthly PIPP installment amount shall receive a credit applied in the same month as the on-time payment against customer arrearages as described in this paragraph. A PIPP customer shall not be eligible to receive an arrearage credit for any month during which the minimum monthly PIPP installment amount is waived for such customer pursuant to paragraph (A)(2) of this rule. The amount of the arrearage credit that may be earned by a PIPP customer each month for making an on-time payment of the monthly PIPP installment amount shall be the sum of the current bill balance, plus an accrued arrearage credit determined by the electric distribution utility as provided in this rule. The accrued arrearage credit shall be the amount that would reduce the PIPP customer's accrued arrearages to zero over a twenty-four month period assuming on-time payment of all monthly PIPP installment amounts during that period. The amount of the accrued arrearage credit will be determined initially based on the customer's accrued arrearages at the time the customer enrolls in the PIPP program. The electric distribution utility shall calculate the customer's arrearage credit amount upon the customer's enrollment in the PIPP program and provide such customer's PIPP arrearage credit amount to the office of community services via an electronic data transfer. The accrued arrearage credit amount shall be reviewed annually by the electric distribution utility at or about the customer's PIPP anniversary date and, for each PIPP customer who has not made each monthly payment on-time during the prior year, adjusted to account for months for which the on-time payment credit was not earned by the customer. The recalculated accrued arrearage credit shall be an amount equal to one twenty-fourth of the customer's accrued arrearages, including any accrued arrearage amount for which a credit was not earned during the prior year and any current bill balance(s) for which a credit was not earned during the prior year, but not including any missed monthly PIPP installment amounts. The electric distribution utility shall provide such customer's recalculated PIPP arrearage credit amount to the office of community services via an electronic data transfer. For a PIPP customer who made each monthly payment on-time during the prior year, the accrued arrearage credit amount shall remain the same as during the prior year. For a PIPP customer with no accrued arrearage, the monthly arrearage credit would be an amount equal to the customer's current bill balance for that billing cycle. Arrearage credits will be applied against customer arrearages only. PIPP customers may not earn arrearage credits pursuant to this rule for any missed monthly PIPP installment amounts. Arrearage credits may not be accumulated on a customer account that is current and applied against future service.

(4) Notice of accrued arrearage credit amounts. The office of community services shall notify each PIPP customer of the customer's accrued arrearage credit amount promptly after it is received from the electric distribution utility via the electronic data transfer described in paragraph (B)(3) of this rule. Such electric distribution utility shall apply arrearage credits for such customer beginning with the next billing after the calculation or recalculation of such customer's accrued arrearage credit amount. Electric distribution utilities shall apply arrearage credits to each bill for which an on-time payment of the monthly PIPP installment amount is made.

(5) Graduate PIPP transition assistance and post-PIPP arrearage credits. If a customer ceases to participate in the PIPP program voluntarily (which does not include being dropped from the PIPP program for failing to provide information necessary to complete periodic eligibility reverification or comply with other PIPP program requirements) or because the customer is no longer eligible to participate based on income, such customer may nevertheless receive transition assistance and arrearage credits against customer arrearages accumulated but not paid at the time such customer ceases to participate in the PIPP program. To qualify for graduate PIPP transition assistance and post-PIPP arrearage credits, a customer must pay all missed monthly PIPP installment amounts, if any, owed to the electric distribution utility for which transition assistance or arrearage credits will be provided. A customer will be eligible to receive graduate PIPP transition assistance and post-PIPP arrearage credits under this rule based on payments made during the twelve months immediately following the last billing cycle during which the customer ceases to participate in the PIPP program. Graduate PIPP and post-PIPP arrearage credits under this rule will be applied only against customer arrearages accumulated at the time the customer ceases to participate in the PIPP program. Arrearage credits may not be accumulated on a customer account that is current and applied against future service.

(a) Graduate PIPP - customer continues electric service. A graduate PIPP customer continues to receive electric service from the same electric distribution utility after ceasing to be in PIPP. The customer shall select one of the three payment options in this paragraph at the time such customer is enrolled in the graduate PIPP program by the electric distribution utility. A graduate PIPP customer will be eligible to receive arrearage credits under this rule if the customer makes regular payments for electric service under one of the following options: (i) the transition installment amount described in this paragraph, (ii) a budget payment amount established under a twelve-month budget plan offered by the electric distribution utility, or (iii) the charges for the cost of electric service as billed. The transition installment amount shall be the average of the customer's most recent monthly PIPP installment and the customer's budget bill amount if the customer were placed on a twelve-month budget plan. If such customer's graduate PIPP transition installment amount would not reduce each current monthly bill balance to zero, then during the twelve-month period under this rule, the electric distribution utility shall apply a credit to the graduate PIPP customer's account for the difference between the transition installment amount and the actual cost of service and may submit such credit amount to the fund for reimbursement as transition assistance. The graduate PIPP arrearage credit will be earned and shall be applied to such customer's account for each month during the twelve-month period that the customer makes an on-time payment for electric service to the electric distribution utility until the customer arrearage has been fully credited. If the customer fails to make twelve on-time payments for electric service during the twelve-month graduate PIPP arrearage credit period, the uncredited balance of the customer arrearage shall remain on the customer's account. Upon notice from the office of community services to the electric distribution utility that the customer has ceased to participate in PIPP, the utility shall determine the customer arrearages as of the effective date of such notice and calculate the monthly arrearage credit as an amount equal to one-twelfth of such customer arrearages, but not including any missed monthly PIPP installment amounts. The electric distribution utility shall notify the office of community services of the monthly graduate PIPP arrearage credit amount, and the utility shall apply the graduate PIPP arrearage credit as provided in this paragraph.

(b) Customers on company-specific arrearage crediting payment plans as of the effective date. This rule is not intended to preclude any customer from completing any other arrearage crediting plan that may be offered by an electric distribution utility according to the requirements of such other plan as of the effective date of this chapter. If a former PIPP customer is participating in an arrearage crediting plan offered by an electric distribution utility as of the effective date of this chapter, such former PIPP customer may elect within ninety days after the effective date of these rules as an alternative to completing such other plan to receive post-PIPP arrearage credits as described in paragraph (A) of this rule provided that such customer makes regular payments for electric services under a budget plan offered by the electric distribution utility or for the cost of electric service as billed.

(c) Post-PIPP - customer account closed. When an electric distribution utility closes the account of a PIPP customer (i.e., account "finaled"), the utility shall report to the office of community services the amount of any customer arrearage for which the utility was previously paid by the fund or through any other percentage of income payment plan mechanism. Each electric distribution utility shall notify such PIPP customer that post-PIPP arrearage credits will be available during the next twelve-month period to reduce the customer's final bill amount and request that such customer contact the utility company for additional information. Each electric distribution utility shall enter into a payment arrangement with any former PIPP customer who will agree to make payments against such customer's arrearage on a finaled account. A post-PIPP customer who makes payments against the customer arrearage on a finaled account as provided in this rule will be eligible for post-PIPP arrearage credits. In order to receive a post-PIPP arrearage credit, the amount of the customer payment must be at least one-sixtieth of the customer arrearage on the finaled account. The post-PIPP customer will earn an arrearage credit for each such payment made to the electric distribution utility during the twelve-month period after the customer's account is closed. The post-PIPP arrearage credit shall be calculated by the electric distribution utility as one-twelfth of the customer arrearage on the finaled account, and the electric distribution utility shall apply the credit against the customer arrearage each time that a customer payment is made as described in this paragraph. If a post-PIPP customer fails to make payments against customer arrearages on a finaled account during the twelve-month post-PIPP arrearage credit period, the uncredited balance of the customer arrearage shall remain on the customer's account.

(6) Limitations on arrearage credits. The arrearage credits provided in paragraph (B) of this rule apply only to customer arrearages for which electric distribution utilities have been paid through a percentage of income payment plan mechanism. Arrearage credits provided in paragraph (B) of this rule may not be earned based on payments made from federal funds administered by the office of community services.

(C) Evaluation of program effectiveness. The director shall periodically review and analyze data collected in connection with the administration of the PIPP program and evaluate the payment and arrearage crediting arrangements, the operation and performance of the PIPP program as a means of assisting low-income households to maintain electric service and the fiscal implications of the PIPP program for ratepayers, generally.

Replaces: 122:12-2-04

Effective: 11/01/2010
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 11/01/2015
Promulgated Under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: 4928.53
Rule Amplifies: 4928.51 through 4928.57
Prior Effective Dates: 9/1/00