4901:1-10-22 Electric utility customer billing and payments.

(A) This rule applies to electric utility bills that do not include any competitive retail electric service (CRES) provider charges. Requirements for consolidated billing appear in rule 4901:1-10-33 of the Administrative Code.

(B) Customer bills issued by or for the electric utility shall be accurate, shall be rendered at monthly intervals, and shall contain clear and understandable form and language. Each bill shall state at least the following information:

(1) The customer's name, billing address, service address, and account number.

(2) The electric utility's name and its payment address.

(3) The electric utility's twenty-four hour local and toll-free telephone numbers for reporting service emergencies.

(4) A statement that customers with billing questions or complaints should call or write the electric utility first. The bill shall list the electric utility's local and toll-free telephone numbers and the address where a question or complaint may be sent.

(5) The following text:

"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 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."

(6) The rate schedule, if applicable.

(7) Dates of the service period covered by the bill.

(8) The billing determinants applicable:

(a) Beginning meter reading(s)

(b) Ending meter reading(s).

(c) Demand meter reading(s).

(d) Multiplier(s).

(e) Consumption(s).

(f) Demand(s).

(9) An identification of estimated bills.

(10) The due date for payment.

(11) The current billing that reflects the net-metered usage for customer generators, if applicable.

(12) Any late payment charge or gross and net charges, if applicable.

(13) Any unpaid amounts due from previous bills, any customer credits, and the total amount due and payable.

(14) The current balance of the account, if the residential customer is billed according to a budget plan.

(15) The current gas and electric charges separately, if the customer is billed for gas and electric service on the same bill.

(16) If applicable, each charge for nontariffed, nonregulated service, and the name and toll-free telephone number of each provider of each service.

(17) Any nonrecurring charge.

(18) Any payment(s) or credit(s) applied to the account during the current billing period.

(19) Any applicable percentage of income payment program (PIPP) billing information:

(a) Current PIPP payment.

(b) PIPP payments defaulted (i.e., past due).

(c) Total PIPP amount due.

(d) Total account arrearage.

(20) An explanation of codes and abbreviations used.

(21) At a minimum, definitions for the following terms, or like terms used by the company, if applicable: customer charge, delivery charge, estimated reading, generation charge, kilowatt hour, shopping incentive or shopping credit, late payment charge, and transition charge.

(22) If applicable, the name of the CRES provider and a statement that such provider is responsible for billing the supplier charges.

(23) A numerical representation of the customer's historical consumption during each of the preceding twelve months, with a total and average consumption for such twelve-month period.

(24) The price-to-compare notice on residential customer bills and a notice that such customers can obtain a written explanation of the price-to-compare from their electric utility.

(25) Other information required by Ohio law or commission rule or order.

(C) Any new bill format proposed by an electric utility shall be filed with the commission for approval. If an application for sample bill approval is not acted upon within forty-five calendar days, said sample shall be deemed approved on the forty-sixth day after the filing.

(D) Each electric utility shall, upon request, provide customers with an updated list of the name and street address/location of the nearest payment center and/or local authorized agent, and alternative methods available for payment of customer bills. If an electric utility accepts payments from customers via authorized agents, the electric utility shall provide signage to the authorized agent with its logo, or other appropriate indicators, that affirm the payment location as an authorized agent of the electric utility. Customers shall not be charged more than two dollars for processing their payments by cash, check, or money order at authorized agent locations.

(E) When a customer pays a bill at the electric utility's business office or to an authorized agent of the company, that payment, including any partial payment, shall be immediately credited to the customer's account where feasible, and in any event be credited to the customer's account as of the date received at the business office or by the agent. No electric utility shall disconnect service to a customer who pays, to the electric utility or an authorized agent of the electric utility, the total amount due on the account (or an amount agreed upon between the electric utility and the customer to prevent disconnection), by the close of business on the disconnection date listed on the disconnection notice. Payment received by an authorized agent of the electric utility shall constitute receipt of payment by the electric utility.

(F) Each electric utility shall establish a policy for its own personnel and for its authorized agents to handle billing disputes, requests for payment arrangements, and payments to prevent disconnection of service. If such matters cannot be handled by an agent authorized to accept payments, the electric utility shall provide customers with its local and toll-free numbers to use at a nearby telephone.

(G) Each electric utility shall credit any customer's partial payments in the following order:

(1) Past due distribution, standard offer generation, and transmission charges.

(2) Current distribution, standard offer generation, and transmission charges.

(3) Other past due and current nonregulated charges.

Budget billing payments and payments in full of the undisputed amount related to a bona fide dispute do not constitute partial payments. Payments made on accounts for which there is a bona fide dispute shall be credited to the undisputed portion of the account.

(H) Any electric utility wishing to issue billing statements online shall comply with the following requirements:

(1) A customer shall not be required to use online billing.

(2) No enrollment or usage fees shall be assessed to a customer who chooses to receive bills and/or customer information online.

(3) The online billing statement shall include all requirements listed in paragraph (B) of this rule.

(4) The electric utility shall maintain a secure and encrypted site that is to be accessed only by the customer of record after completing a secure registration process.

(5) Any fees to accept online payments shall be clearly disclosed in payment window(s).

(6) Any payment made online shall be treated as a payment made at the electric utility's business office and shall be posted to the account in accordance with paragraph (E) of this rule. The time needed to post the payment to the account shall be clearly stated.

(7) If a customer chooses to use online billing, the electric utility shall continue to make all payment methods available to the customer.

Effective: 02/16/2012
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 09/30/2012
Promulgated Under: 111.15
Statutory Authority: 4905.22 , 4905.04 , 4928.06 , 4928.11
Rule Amplifies: 4928.11 , 4905.06 , 4905.22 , 4905.30 , 4905.261 , 4928.67 , 4911.021
Prior Effective Dates: 7/1/99, 9/18/00, 1/1/04, 4/6/06, 2/11/08, 6/29/09