(A) Any party to a pending formal complaint may ask the commission to mediate that matter.
(B) To request mediation, a party to the pending formal complaint shall notify the chief of the electric section of the commission's legal department in writing. The party seeking mediation shall simultaneously serve a copy of the mediation request on the other party in the case. The request shall contain the following information:
(1) The name, address, telephone number, and fax number of the party in the case making the request.
(2) The name, address, telephone number, and fax number of the other party in the case.
(3) If different from paragraphs (B)(1) and (B)(2) of this rule, the name, address, telephone number, and fax number of the party representatives to whom inquiries should be made.
(4) The dispute resolution history, including meeting times and locations.
(5) A statement concerning the differences existing between the parties, including relevant documentation and arguments concerning matters to be mediated.
(C) The other party to the pending formal complaint may provide a response within seven business days of service of the request for mediation. The response to a request for mediation shall be simultaneously served upon the party requesting the mediation.
(D) The commission will appoint a mediator, who is independent of the parties, to conduct the mediation. The mediator may be commission personnel. The mediator will promptly contact the parties in the case and establish a time to commence mediation. The mediator will work with the parties to establish an appropriate schedule and procedure for the mediation. The mediator may receive technical assistance from commission staff.
(E) The mediator's function is to impartially encourage voluntary settlement by the parties. the mediator may not compel a settlement. The mediator may schedule meetings of the parties, direct the parties to prepare for those meetings, hold private caucuses with each party, request that the parties share information, attempt to achieve a mediated resolution, and, if successful, assist the parties in preparing a written agreement.
(F) To ensure a full and frank discussion of the issues, the parties shall agree to provide, on an expedited basis, information requested by the other party relevant to the mediated issues. Where appropriate, such information shall be provided pursuant to appropriate protective agreements.
(G) Parties submitting to mediation under this rule agree to participate, in good faith, in the mediation process for a minimum of thirty calendar days after initiation of the mediation process by the mediator and for a maximum of forty-five calendar days, unless the mediator extends that time frame. Participants in the mediation sessions shall attend those sessions and shall have the actual authority to enter into a settlement of the matters at issue.
(H) Mediations conducted under this rule shall be subject to Ohio confidentiality statutes (e.g., Chapter 2710 of the Revised Code).
(I) Parties to the mediation shall reduce to writing the mediated resolution of all or any portion of the mediated issues and submit it to the mediator.
(J) A member of the commission or a commission employee who serves as mediator shall, by virtue of having served in such capacity, be precluded from serving in a decision-making role or as a witness on matters subject to mediation in a formal commission case involving the same parties and the same issues.