4901:1-10-12 Provision of customer rights and obligations.

Each electric utility shall provide to new customers, upon application for service, and existing customers upon request, a written summary of their rights and obligations under this chapter. This written summary shall also be prominently posted on the electric utility's website. The summary shall be in clear and understandable language. Each electric utility shall submit the summary or amendments thereto to the chief of the reliability and service analysis division for review at least sixty calendar days prior to mailing the summary to its customers. For purposes of this rule "new customer" means a customer who opens a new account and has not received the latest version of the customer rights summary . The summary shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

(A) The electric utility and commission procedures for complaints, which shall include:

(1) How complaints are made to the electric utility, including a local or toll free number, an address and a website, if applicable.

(2) A statement that:

"If your complaint is not resolved after you have called (your electric utility), or for general utility information, residential and business customers may contact the public utilities commission of Ohio (PUCO) for assistance at 1-800-686-7826 (toll free) from eight a.m. to five p.m. weekdays, or at http://www.puco.ohio.gov. Hearing or speech impaired customers may contact the PUCO via 7-1-1 (Ohio relay service)."

"The Ohio consumers' counsel (OCC) represents residential utility customers in matters before the PUCO. The OCC can be contacted at 1-877-742-5622 (toll free) from eight a.m. to five p.m. weekdays, or at http://www.pickocc.org."

(B) Customer rights and responsibilities, which shall include:

(1) A list of customer rights and obligations relating to installation of service, payment of bills, disconnection and reconnection of service, and meter testing.

(2) Information detailing the customer's responsibility to notify the electric utility of material changes in the customer's equipment or usage within the time reasonably necessary to permit the electric utility to provide necessary facilities and acquire additional power supply, if needed. The summary shall provide examples of such changes in customer equipment and usage.

(3) A description of the following customer rights:

(a) The circumstances under which the electric utility may demand and/or hold security deposits.

(b) The circumstances under which customers may obtain deferred payment plans and low-income assistance plans, and information concerning those plans.

(4) The toll-free telephone number(s) for the "one-call" or "call-before-you-dig" protection service(s) to locate underground utility facilities.

(5) An explanation of what each applicant must do to receive service from that electric utility.

(6) Information explaining when a customer will be charged for the cost of modifying service, installing a meter, and/or providing facilities necessary to serve that customer.

(C) A statement notifying customers that, when electric utility employee(s) or agent(s) seek access to the customer's and/or landlord's premises, the customer or landlord may request the employee/agent to show photo identification and to state the reason for the visit.

(D) A statement concerning the availability of rate information, which shall include:

(1) A statement that the electric utility's rates and tariffs are available for review at the electric utility's office, on the electric utility's website, and on the commission's website, or the customer can request a copy be sent to them.

(2) A statement that, upon inquiry by a customer regarding rates or energy efficiency, the electric utility will disclose to the customer the existence and availability of the electric utility's alternative rates or any energy efficiency programs.

(E) A statement that customers may review a copy of the electric service and safety standards on the commission's website or obtain a copy from the commission upon request.

(F) Information on privacy rights, which shall include:

(1) A statement that the electric utility is prohibited from disclosing a customer's account number without the customer's written consent or electronic authorization or without a court or commission order, except for the following purposes:

(a) The electric utility's collections and/or credit reporting.

(b) Participation in the home energy assistance program, the emergency home energy assistance program, and programs funded by the universal service fund, such as the percentage of income payment plan programs.

(c) Governmental aggregation.

(2) A statement that the electric utility is prohibited from disclosing a customer's social security number without the customer's written consent or without a court order, except for the following purposes:

(a) The electric utility's consumer credit evaluation.

(b) The electric utility's or competitive retail electric service (CRES) provider's collections and/or credit reporting.

(c) Participation in the home energy assistance program, the emergency home energy assistance program, and programs funded by the universal service fund, such as the percentage of income payment plan programs.

(3) A statement that the electric utility shall not disclose customer energy usage data that is more granular than the monthly historical consumption data, provided on the customer pre-enrollment list pursuant to Rule 4901:1-10-29(E) of the Administrative Code, without the customer's written consent or without a court or commission order.

(4) A statement that customers have the right to request up to twenty-four months of their usage history, payment history, and detailed consumption data, if available, and time differentiated price data, if applicable, from the electric utility without charge.

(5) A statement that customers have the right to prohibit the electric utility from including their names on mass customer lists made available to CRES providers.

(6) A statement that staff is not prohibited from accessing records or business activities that would allow it to effectively monitor customer calls to the electric utility's call center.

(G) A statement that customers have the right to obtain, from their electric utility, a list of available CRES providers, that are actively seeking residential customers in its service territory and their phone numbers.

(H) A statement that customers returning to the electric utility's standard offer service due to default, abandonment, slamming, or certification rescission of a CRES provider will not be liable for any costs associated with the switch.

(I) Information concerning notice of a change in the customer's supplier of electric service.

(1) A statement that, if a change in a residential or small commercial customer's electric services company is initiated, the electric utility is required to send the customer a notice confirming the change.

(2) A statement that the customer has a right to cancel any change in its supplier of electric service within seven calendar days after the notice has been sent by calling the electric utility at the telephone number on the notice.

(J) Information explaining the procedures customers must follow if they believe their generation and/or transmission service has been switched without their consent. This explanation shall include, at a minimum, the following information:

(1) If a customer participates in the percentage of income payment plan or in a governmental aggregation, the customer's supplier of generation and/or transmission services appearing on the customer's bill may be a company other than the electric utility.

(2) If the customer's electric bill reflects a supplier of electric service not chosen by the customer, the customer should call the commission to initiate a slamming investigation.

(3) If the staff determines that the customer's service was changed without proper authorization:

(a) The customer will be switched back to the customer's previous supplier of electric service without charge to the customer.

(b) The customer's account will be credited for any switching fees resulting from the customer being switched without proper authorization.

(c) The customer will be credited or reimbursed for any charges in excess of what the customer would have paid absent the unauthorized change in electric service provider.

(K) Information concerning actual meter readings.

(1) A statement that the electric utility is required to obtain an actual meter reading when the customer initiates or terminates electric service with the electric utility, if the meter has not been read within the preceding sixty days.

(2) A statement that, if the meter has not been read within the preceding thirty-three to fifty-nine days, the electric utility is required to inform the customer, when the customer contacts the electric utility to initiate or terminate service, of the option to have an actual meter read, at no charge.

(3) A statement that the customer may request two actual meter reads per calendar year, at no charge, if the customer's usage has been estimated for more than two of the consecutively preceding billing cycles or if the customer has reasonable grounds to believe that the meter is malfunctioning.

(L) A statement that customers have the right to obtain the approximate generation resource mix and environmental characteristics in accordance with Rule 4901:1-10-31 .The statement shall include a notification that customers shall be provided a link to the EDU's website or the commission's environmental disclosure information for consumers' website containing the information, or at the request of the customer, a hardcopy of the data at no cost to the customer.

Effective: 12/20/2014
Five Year Review (FYR) Dates: 09/30/2014 and 09/30/2019
Promulgated Under: 111.15
Statutory Authority: 4905.04 , 4905.22 , 4905.261 , 4928.06 , 4928.11
Rule Amplifies: 4905.06 , 4905.22 , 4905.261 , 4905.28 , 4911.021 , 4928.11
Prior Effective Dates: 7/1/99, 9/18/00, 1/1/04, 4/6/06, 2/11/08, 6/29/09, 2/16/12