4901:1-10-33 Consolidated billing requirements.

(A) This rule applies to an electric utility that issues customers a consolidated electric bill that includes both electric utility and competitive retail electric service (CRES) provider charges for electric services. Nothing in this rule affects the obligations of the electric utility to provide disconnection notices.

(B) A supplier agreement between an electric utility and a CRES provider must provide that if the electric utility collects customer payments on behalf of the CRES provider, the customer's liability to the CRES provider ceases to the extent of a payment made and applicable to the customer's CRES provider account.

(C) Consolidated bills shall be accurate, shall be rendered at monthly intervals, and shall contain clear and understandable form and language. All consolidated customer bills issued by or on behalf of an electric utility and a CRES provider must include at least the following information:

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

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

(3) The dates of the service period covered by the bill.

(4) Current electric charges, separated from gas charges, if these charges appear on the same bill, but only to the extent that the biller provides both electric and gas services.

(5) Applicable billing determinants: beginning meter read, ending meter read, demand meter read, multipliers, consumption, and demand.

(6) Identification of estimated bills.

(7) Any non-recurring charge(s).

(8) Net-metered usage for customer generators, if applicable.

(9) Each charge for non-tariffed and/or non-regulated service or product, if applicable, and the name and toll-free number of each provider of such service(s).

(10) Amount due for previous billing period.

(11) Total payments, late payment charges or gross/net charges, and total credits applied during the billing period.

(12) Total consolidated amount due and payable, or, if applicable, the total consolidated budget bill amount.

(13) Due date for payment to keep the account current. The due date shall not be less than fourteen days from the date of postmark. For residential bills being issued from outside the state of Ohio the due date shall be no less than twenty-one days.

(14) Name and address of the electric utility to which payments should be made.

(15) The following notice:

"If your complaint is not resolved after you have called your electric supplier and/or 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."

(16) An explanation of codes and abbreviations used.

(17) 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 (kWh), and late payment charge.

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

(D) In addition to the information required pursuant to paragraph (C) of this rule, each consolidated bill issued must include, in that portion of the bill which details the charges from the electric utility, at least the following information:

(1) Electric utility account number.

(2) Applicable rate schedule.

(3) Numerical statement of the customer's historical consumption for each of the preceding twelve months, and both the total and average consumption for such twelve-month period.

(4) Specific tariffed charges to the extent applicable: customer charge, delivery charge, and other conceptually similar tariffed charges.

(5) If the customer is on a budget plan with the electric utility only, the monthly budget amount and current balance of electric utility account.

(6) Current charges.

(7) The electric utility's local and toll-free telephone numbers and address for questions and complaints.

(E) In addition to the information required pursuant to paragraph (C) of this rule, each consolidated bill issued must include, in that portion of the bill which details the charges from the CRES provider, at least the following information:

(1) Customer's CRES account number, if different from the electric utility account number.

(2) To the extent applicable, itemization for each charge including, for fixed-price offers, the unit price per kWh for competitive service and, for all other offers for electric generation service, an explanation of how the rate is derived, as well as any other information the customer would need to recalculate the bill for accuracy.

(3) If the customer is on a budget plan with the CRES provider only, the monthly budget amount and the current balance of the CRES account.

(4) Current charges.

(5) A highlighted notice of any change in rates, terms, or conditions appearing on the first two consecutive bills following the occurrence of any such changes and a clear explanation of each change.

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

(G) Transfer of customer billing information.

(1) The non-billing CRES provider shall furnish the applicable required bill content information to the billing party in a timely manner and in a mutually agreed upon electronic format for inclusion in the consolidated customer bill.

(2) The billing electric utility shall include in the consolidated bill all required bill content information furnished by the non-billing CRES provider.

(3) An entity ordered by the commission to provide any bill content, message, insert, or notice remains responsible to provide such information to its customers, although the information may be provided through the consolidated bill.

(H) Partial payment priority.

(1) A customer's partial payment shall be credited in the following order:

(a) Billed and past due CRES provider charges, or, if applicable, CRES provider payment arrangement or past due CRES provider budget billing.

(b) Billed and past due electric utility distribution, standard offer generation, and transmission charges or, if applicable, electric utility payment arrangement or past due electric utility budget billing.

(c) Billed and due current electric utility distribution and transmission charges or current electric utility budget billing.

(d) Billed and due current CRES provider charges or current CRES provider budget billing.

(e) Other past due and current non-regulated charges, excluding CRES charges.

(2) Exceptions to the partial payment priority.

(a) 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.

(b) If a customer pays an agreed-upon electric utility and/or CRES budget payment amount, then that payment shall be considered payment in full for the current bill.

(I) Upon the customer's switch from a CRES provider, the billing party 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 CRES provider and include any outstanding balance due the previous CRES provider.

(J) Any electric utility wishing to issue consolidated billing statements online shall follow the listed guidelines:

(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 paragraphs (C), (D), and (E) 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 customer's account in accordance with paragraph (E) of rule 4901:1-10-22 of the Administrative Code. The time needed to post the payment to the customer's account shall be clearly stated.

(7) If a customer chooses to use online billing, the customer shall not be restricted to making payments online in the future. All payment methods shall continue to be available 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: 4928.06 , 4928.10 4905.22 , 4905.04
Rule Amplifies: 4928.10 , 4905.06 , 4905.22 , 4928.11 , 4928.67 , 4911.021
Prior Effective Dates: 1/1/04, 4/6/06, 2/11/08, 6/29/09, 2/16/12