4901:1-26-04 Arbitration.

(A) All parties to a pending formal complaint must agree that the dispute (or a portion thereof) should be resolved through arbitration.

(B) If all parties to the pending formal complaint agree that the dispute (or a portion thereof) should be resolved through arbitration, the parties shall jointly file a request with the commission to stay the proceeding pending the arbitration. The parties shall outline with sufficient specificity the issues for which arbitration is being sought. In the joint request, the parties may seek to have the commission assign its personnel to be the arbitrator or the parties may request that the issues to be arbitrated be assigned to a commission-approved, certified arbitration process approved pursuant to paragraph (J) of this rule.

(C) The commission will consider a request to stay the formal complaint proceeding pending an arbitration and grant it within fifteen calendar days, if the issues to be arbitrated do not involve a policy matter that the commission itself wishes to consider or if the commission does not have concerns with the commercial arbitration process proposed. If granted, the formal commission docket shall be suspended pending completion of the arbitration process.

(D) If commission personnel is not the arbitrator, the parties shall notify the commission once they have engaged the arbitrator.

(E) The arbitrator shall have the authority allowed by law. The arbitrator shall issue the arbitration award in writing and serve it upon the parties.

(F) By electing arbitration under this rule, the parties shall not disclose communications made in the course of and relating to the subject matter of the arbitration, except as permitted in this chapter or under circumstances consistent with those applicable to mediation communications under Chapter 2710 of the Revised Code. By electing arbitration under this rule, the parties shall not appeal (to the commission or any court) any intermediary rulings made by the arbitrator.

(G) Where the parties request to have commission personnel act as arbitrator and such request is granted by the commission, the parties shall, within one hundred and twenty calendar days from the date upon which the commission approves their case for arbitration, complete the arbitration and receive an arbitration award. The parties may jointly apply or the arbitrator may apply to the commission for an extension of this deadline for good cause shown.

(H) If the parties accept the arbitration award, a copy of the arbitration award need not be filed with the commission but, at a minimum, an executive summary of the award (including the issues decided, the facts as determined, who prevailed, and the type of award granted) shall be filed (within thirty calendar days of the issuance of an arbitration award) in the commission's docket, along with the parties' joint motion to dismiss the complaint (or involved portion thereof) in light of their acceptance of the award.

(I) When commission personnel acts as the arbitrator, the arbitration award shall be final and binding upon the parties, except as described in this provision. Within thirty calendar days of the issuance of an arbitration award, any party to the arbitration may seek commission review of the arbitration award, but such request for review shall not seek de novo review of the legal and factual conclusions made by the arbitrator. The commission will review the record of the arbitration proceeding to ascertain only the existence of any grounds identified in Chapter 2711. of the Revised Code, such as fraud, corruption, misconduct, impropriety, or mistake by the arbitrator. Requests for commission review shall include the arbitration record as needed and a brief or supporting memorandum. Any opposing brief/memorandum shall be filed within fifteen calendar days of filing of the request for review (or eighteen calendar days, if the other party's filing was served by mail). The commission will endeavor to issue its ruling on the review request within forty-five calendar days after any opposing brief/memorandum is filed. Upon consideration of the review request, the commission may confirm, vacate, modify or enforce the arbitration award. If the commission vacates the arbitration award (in whole or in part), the commission shall specify whether the matter should be remanded to the same arbitrator. Any commission decision to confirm, vacate, modify or enforce the arbitration award under this provision is subject to rehearing pursuant to section 4903.10 of the Revised Code, and any final commission decision is subject to appeal pursuant to section 4903.13 of the Revised Code.

(J) Electric utilities, electric service companies, electric cooperatives, and governmental aggregators may file an application with the commission seeking certification to use a proposed commercial arbitration process for any class of formal complaints or for all potential formal complaints. Such an application shall contain the terms and conditions under which potential complaints may be referred to a particular commercial arbitration process pursuant to this rule. Such terms and conditions may include, but are not limited to, which parties shall bear the cost of the arbitration process, what class of potential complaints may be referred to commercial arbitration, and whether such arbitration shall be binding on either or both of the parties. The commission staff shall review such an application seeking certification to use a commercial arbitration process and recommend to the commission whether the application should be approved. The commission may approve such an application if the commission is satisfied that the commercial arbitration process is fair, cost-effective, and does not result in prejudice against any potential future parties. By approving an application pursuant to this provision, the commission retains the right to evaluate, in each individual formal complaint proceeding, whether to grant a request to stay the formal complaint proceeding pending arbitration.

Effective: 12/11/2014
Five Year Review (FYR) Dates: 09/24/2014 and 09/25/2019
Promulgated Under: 111.15
Statutory Authority: 4928.06
Rule Amplifies: 4928.16
Prior Effective Dates: 9/18/00