Chapter 4903: PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION - HEARINGS

4903.01 Definitions.

As used in sections 4903.01 to 4903.25 of the Revised Code:

(A) "Public utility" has the same meaning as in section 4905.02 of the Revised Code.

(B) "Railroad" has the same meaning as in section 4907.02 of the Revised Code.

Cite as R.C. § 4903.01

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.43, SB 162, §1, eff. 9/13/2010.

Effective Date: 09-19-1961

4903.02 Examination of witnesses - production of records.

The public utilities commission may, either through the public utilities commissioners or by inspectors or employees authorized by it, examine under oath, at any time and for assisting the commission in the performance of any powers or duties of the commission, any officer, agent, or employee of any public utility or railroad or any other person, in relation to the business and affairs of such public utility or railroad and may compel the attendance of such witness for the purpose of such examination. In case of disobedience on the part of any person of any order relating to the production or examination of books, contracts, records, documents, and papers, or in case of the refusal of any person to testify to any matter regarding which he may be lawfully interrogated by any such member, employee, or inspector of the commission at any time or place, the court of common pleas of any county or any judge thereof, shall, on application of any commissioner, compel obedience by contempt proceedings as in the case of the disobedience of the requirements of a subpoena issued from such court or a refusal to testify therein.

Cite as R.C. § 4903.02

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4903.03 Examination of records.

The public utilities commission may, through the public utilities commissioners or by inspectors or employees authorized by it, examine all books, contracts, records, documents, and papers of any public utility, and by subpoena duces tecum may compel the production thereof, or of verified copies of the same or any of them. The commission may compel the attendance of such witnesses as it requires to give evidence at such examination.

Cite as R.C. § 4903.03

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4903.04 Witnesses may be compelled to testify.

If a person disobeys an order of the public utilities commission or a public utilities commissioner, or a subpoena, or if a witness refuses to testify to any matter regarding which he may be lawfully interrogated, the court of common pleas of a county or a judge of such court, on application of a commissioner, shall compel obedience by attachment proceedings for contempt, as in the case of disobedience of the requirements of a subpoena issued from such court or a refusal to testify therein. The commission also shall have the powers vested in notaries public to compel witnesses to testify and to produce books and papers.

Cite as R.C. § 4903.04

Effective Date: 01-10-1961

4903.05 Witness fees and mileage.

Each witness who appears before the public utilities commission by its order shall receive the fees and mileage provided for under section 119.094 of the Revised Code, which shall be audited and paid by the state as other expenses are audited and paid, upon the presentation of proper vouchers sworn to by such witnesses and approved by the chairperson of the commission. No witness subpoenaed at the instance of parties other than the commission is entitled to compensation from the state for attendance or travel, unless the commission certifies that the witness's testimony was material to the matter investigated.

Cite as R.C. § 4903.05

Effective Date: 10-01-1953; 2008 HB525 07-01-2009

4903.06 Depositions.

In an investigation, the public utilities commission or any party to the investigation may cause the depositions of witnesses residing within or without the state to be taken in the manner prescribed for depositions in civil actions in the court of common pleas.

Cite as R.C. § 4903.06

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4903.07 Certified copy as evidence.

A transcribed copy of the evidence and proceedings on an investigation, or a specific part thereof, taken by a stenographer appointed by the public utilities commission, certified by such stenographer to be a true and correct transcript of such evidence and proceedings, and carefully compared by him with his original notes, shall be received in evidence as if such stenographer was present and testified to the facts as certified. A copy of such transcript shall be furnished on demand, free of cost, to a party to such investigation, and to all other persons upon payment of a reasonable amount for it.

Cite as R.C. § 4903.07

Effective Date: 01-10-1961

4903.08 Incrimination no excuse.

No person shall be excused from testifying or from producing accounts, books, and papers, in any hearing before the public utilities commission[,] any public utilities commissioner, or any person appointed by the commission to investigate any matter under its jurisdiction, on the ground or for the reason that the testimony or evidence might tend to incriminate him, or subject him to a penalty or forfeiture. No such person shall be prosecuted or subjected to any penalty or forfeiture on account of, any transaction or matter concerning which he has testified or produced any documentary evidence. No person so testifying shall be exempted from prosecution or punishment for perjury in so testifying.

Cite as R.C. § 4903.08

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4903.081 Discussions of case after assignment of formal docket number.

After a case has been assigned a formal docket number neither a member of the public utilities commission nor any examiner associated with the case shall discuss the merits of the case with any party or intervenor to the proceeding, unless all parties and intervenors have been notified and given the opportunity of being present or a full disclosure of the communication insofar as it pertains to the subject matter of the case has been made. Failure of any assigned examiner of the public utilities commission or any commissioner to abide by this section may, at the discretion of the commissioners, lead to that examiner's or commissioner's removal from a particular case or appropriate disciplinary action.

Cite as R.C. § 4903.081

Effective Date: 01-11-1983

4903.082 Right of discovery.

All parties and intervenors shall be granted ample rights of discovery. The present rules of the public utilities commission should be reviewed regularly by the commission to aid full and reasonable discovery by all parties. Without limiting the commission's discretion the Rules of Civil Procedure should be used wherever practicable.

Cite as R.C. § 4903.082

Effective Date: 01-11-1983

4903.083 Public hearings on increase in rates.

(A) For all cases involving applications for an increase in rates pursuant to section 4909.18 of the Revised Code the public utilities commission shall hold public hearings in each municipal corporation in the affected service area having a population in excess of one hundred thousand persons, provided that, at least one public hearing shall be held in each affected service area. At least one such hearing shall be held after 5:00 p.m. Notice of such hearing shall be published by the commission once each week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the service area. Said notice shall state prominently the total amount of the revenue increase requested in the application for the increase. The first publication of the notice shall be made in its entirety and may be made in a preprinted insert in the newspaper. The second publication may be abbreviated if all of the following apply:

(1) The abbreviated notice is at least half the size of the notice in the first publication.

(2) At the same time the abbreviated notice is published, the notice in the first publication is posted in its entirety on the newspaper's web site, if the newspaper has a web site, and the commission's web site.

(3) The abbreviated notice contains a statement of the web site posting or postings, as applicable, and instructions for accessing the posting or postings.

(B) The commission shall determine a format for the content of all notices required under this section, and shall consider costs and technological efficiencies in making that determination. Defects in the publication of said notice shall not affect the legality or sufficiency of notices published under this section provided that the commission has substantially complied with this section, as described in section 4905.09 of the Revised Code.

Cite as R.C. § 4903.083

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.20, HB 95, §1, eff. 9/9/2011.

Effective Date: 01-11-1983

4903.09 Written opinions filed by commission in all contested cases.

In all contested cases heard by the public utilities commission, a complete record of all of the proceedings shall be made, including a transcript of all testimony and of all exhibits, and the commission shall file, with the records of such cases, findings of fact and written opinions setting forth the reasons prompting the decisions arrived at, based upon said findings of fact.

Cite as R.C. § 4903.09

Effective Date: 10-26-1953

4903.10 Application for rehearing.

After any order has been made by the public utilities commission, any party who has entered an appearance in person or by counsel in the proceeding may apply for a rehearing in respect to any matters determined in the proceeding. Such application shall be filed within thirty days after the entry of the order upon the journal of the commission. Notwithstanding the preceding paragraph, in any uncontested proceeding or, by leave of the commission first had in any other proceeding, any affected person, firm, or corporation may make an application for a rehearing within thirty days after the entry of any final order upon the journal of the commission. Leave to file an application for rehearing shall not be granted to any person, firm, or corporation who did not enter an appearance in the proceeding unless the commission first finds:

(A) The applicant's failure to enter an appearance prior to the entry upon the journal of the commission of the order complained of was due to just cause; and,

(B) The interests of the applicant were not adequately considered in the proceeding. Every applicant for rehearing or for leave to file an application for rehearing shall give due notice of the filing of such application to all parties who have entered an appearance in the proceeding in the manner and form prescribed by the commission. Such application shall be in writing and shall set forth specifically the ground or grounds on which the applicant considers the order to be unreasonable or unlawful. No party shall in any court urge or rely on any ground for reversal, vacation, or modification not so set forth in the application. Where such application for rehearing has been filed before the effective date of the order as to which a rehearing is sought, the effective date of such order, unless otherwise ordered by the commission, shall be postponed or stayed pending disposition of the matter by the commission or by operation of law. In all other cases the making of such an application shall not excuse any person from complying with the order, or operate to stay or postpone the enforcement thereof, without a special order of the commission. Where such application for rehearing has been filed, the commission may grant and hold such rehearing on the matter specified in such application, if in its judgment sufficient reason therefor is made to appear. Notice of such rehearing shall be given by regular mail to all parties who have entered an appearance in the proceeding. If the commission does not grant or deny such application for rehearing within thirty days from the date of filing thereof, it is denied by operation of law. If the commission grants such rehearing, it shall specify in the notice of such granting the purpose for which it is granted. The commission shall also specify the scope of the additional evidence, if any, that will be taken, but it shall not upon such rehearing take any evidence that, with reasonable diligence, could have been offered upon the original hearing. If, after such rehearing, the commission is of the opinion that the original order or any part thereof is in any respect unjust or unwarranted, or should be changed, the commission may abrogate or modify the same; otherwise such order shall be affirmed. An order made after such rehearing, abrogating or modifying the original order, shall have the same effect as an original order, but shall not affect any right or the enforcement of any right arising from or by virtue of the original order prior to the receipt of notice by the affected party of the filing of the application for rehearing. No cause of action arising out of any order of the commission, other than in support of the order, shall accrue in any court to any person, firm, or corporation unless such person, firm, or corporation has made a proper application to the commission for a rehearing.

Cite as R.C. § 4903.10

Effective Date: 09-29-1997

4903.11 Proceeding deemed commenced.

No proceeding to reverse, vacate, or modify a final order of the public utilities commission is commenced unless the notice of appeal is filed within sixty days after the date of denial of the application for rehearing by operation of law or of the entry upon the journal of the commission of the order denying an application for rehearing or, if a rehearing is had, of the order made after such rehearing. An order denying an application for rehearing or an order made after a rehearing shall be served forthwith by regular mail upon all parties who have entered an appearance in the proceeding.

Cite as R.C. § 4903.11

Effective Date: 09-29-1997

4903.12 Jurisdiction.

No court other than the supreme court shall have power to review, suspend, or delay any order made by the public utilities commission, or enjoin, restrain, or interfere with the commission or any public utilities commissioner in the performance of official duties. A writ of mandamus shall not be issued against the commission or any commissioner by any court other than the supreme court.

Cite as R.C. § 4903.12

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4903.13 Reversal of final order - notice of appeal.

A final order made by the public utilities commission shall be reversed, vacated, or modified by the supreme court on appeal, if, upon consideration of the record, such court is of the opinion that such order was unlawful or unreasonable. The proceeding to obtain such reversal, vacation, or modification shall be by notice of appeal, filed with the public utilities commission by any party to the proceeding before it, against the commission, setting forth the order appealed from and the errors complained of. The notice of appeal shall be served, unless waived, upon the chairman of the commission, or, in the event of his absence, upon any public utilities commissioner, or by leaving a copy at the office of the commission at Columbus. The court may permit any interested party to intervene by cross-appeal.

Cite as R.C. § 4903.13

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4903.14 Certified copy of order as evidence.

Upon application, the public utilities commission shall furnish certified copies under its seal of any order made by it, which certified copies shall be prima-facie evidence in a court or proceeding of the facts stated therein.

Cite as R.C. § 4903.14

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4903.15 Orders effective immediately - notice.

Unless a different time is specified therein or by law, every order made by the public utilities commission shall become effective immediately upon entry thereof upon the journal of the public utilities commission. Every order shall be served by United States mail in the manner prescribed by the commission. No utility or railroad shall be found in violation of any order of the commission until notice of said order has been received by an officer of said utility or railroad, or an agent duly designated by said utility or railroad to accept service of said order.

Cite as R.C. § 4903.15

Effective Date: 10-25-1961

4903.16 Stay of execution.

A proceeding to reverse, vacate, or modify a final order rendered by the public utilities commission does not stay execution of such order unless the supreme court or a judge thereof in vacation, on application and three days' notice to the commission, allows such stay, in which event the appellant shall execute an undertaking, payable to the state in such a sum as the supreme court prescribes, with surety to the satisfaction of the clerk of the supreme court, conditioned for the prompt payment by the appellant of all damages caused by the delay in the enforcement of the order complained of, and for the repayment of all moneys paid by any person, firm, or corporation for transportation, transmission, produce, commodity, or service in excess of the charges fixed by the order complained of, in the event such order is sustained.

Cite as R.C. § 4903.16

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4903.17 Order in case of stay.

The supreme court, in case it stays or suspends the order or decision of the public utilities commission in any matter affecting rates, joint rates, fares, tolls, rentals, charges, or classifications, may also by order direct the public utility or railroad affected to pay into the hands of a trustee to be appointed by the court, to be held until the final determination of the proceeding, under such conditions as the court prescribes, all sums of money collected in excess of the sums payable if the order or decision of the commission had not been stayed or suspended.

Cite as R.C. § 4903.17

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4903.18 Order to keep excess accounts pending review.

In case the supreme court stays or suspends any order or decision of the public utilities commission lowering any rate, joint rate, fare, toll, rental, charge, or classification, the commission, upon the execution and approval of the suspending bond required by section 4903.16 of the Revised Code, may require the public utility or railroad affected, under penalty of the immediate enforcement of the order or decision of the commission, pending review, to keep such accounts, verified by oath, as are, in the judgment of the commission, sufficient to show the amounts being charged or received by such public utility or railroad in excess of the charges allowed by the order or decision of the commission, together with the names and addresses of the corporations or persons to whom overcharges will be refundable in case the charges made by the public utility or railroad pending review are not sustained by the supreme court.

Cite as R.C. § 4903.18

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4903.19 Disposition of moneys charged in excess.

Upon the final decision by the supreme court upon an appeal from an order or decision of the public utilities commission, all moneys which the public utility or railroad has collected pending the appeal, in excess of those authorized by such final decision, shall be promptly paid to the corporations or persons entitled to them, in such manner and through such methods of distribution as are prescribed by the court. If any such moneys are not claimed by the corporations or persons entitled to them within one year from the final decision of the supreme court, the trustees appointed by the court shall give notice to such corporations or persons by publication, once a week for two consecutive weeks, in a newspaper of general circulation published in Columbus, and in such other newspapers as are designated by such trustee, said notice to state the names of the corporations or persons entitled to such moneys and the amount due each corporation or person. All moneys not claimed within three months after the publication of said notice shall be paid by the public utility or railroad, under the direction of such trustee, into the state treasury for the benefit of the general fund. The court may make such order with respect to the compensation of the trustee as it deems proper.

Cite as R.C. § 4903.19

Effective Date: 10-07-1977

4903.20 Order of disposition of cases.

All actions and proceedings in the supreme court under Chapters 4901., 4903., 4905., 4906., 4907., 4909., 4921., 4923., and 4927. of the Revised Code, and all actions of proceedings to which the public utilities commission, power siting board, or this state is a party, and in which any question arises under those chapters, or under or concerning any order or decision of the commission or the board, to reverse, vacate, or modify an order of the commission or the board, shall be taken up and disposed of by the court out of their order on the docket.

Cite as R.C. § 4903.20

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.43, SB 162, §1, eff. 9/13/2010.

Effective Date: 11-26-1982

4903.21 Transcript.

Upon service or waiver of the notice of appeal as provided in section 4903.13 of the Revised Code, the public utilities commission shall forthwith transmit to the clerk of the supreme court, a transcript of the journal entries, the original papers or transcripts thereof, and a certified transcript of all evidence adduced upon the hearing before the commission in the proceeding complained of, which documents shall be filed in said court.

Cite as R.C. § 4903.21

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4903.22 Rules of practice.

Except when otherwise provided by law, all processes in actions and proceedings in a court arising under Chapters 4901., 4903., 4905., 4906., 4907., 4909., 4921., 4923., and 4927. of the Revised Code shall be served, and the practice and rules of evidence in such actions and proceedings shall be the same, as in civil actions. A sheriff or other officer empowered to execute civil processes shall execute process issued under those chapters and receive compensation therefor as prescribed by law for like services.

Cite as R.C. § 4903.22

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.43, SB 162, §1, eff. 9/13/2010.

Effective Date: 10-23-1972

4903.221 Intervention by party who may be adversely affected by commission proceeding.

Any other person who may be adversely affected by a public utilities commission proceeding may intervene in such proceeding, provided:

(A) That such other person files a motion to intervene with the commission no later than:

(1) Any specific deadline established by order of the commission for purposes of a particular proceeding; or, if no such deadline is established;

(2) Five days prior to the scheduled date of hearing. The public utilities commission may, in its discretion, grant motions to intervene which are filed after the deadlines set forth in divisions (A)(1) and (2) of this section for good cause shown.

(B) That the commission, in ruling upon applications to intervene in its proceedings, shall consider the following criteria:

(1) The nature and extent of the prospective intervenor's interest;

(2) The legal position advanced by the prospective intervenor and its probable relation to the merits of the case;

(3) Whether the intervention by the prospective intervenor will unduly prolong or delay the proceedings;

(4) Whether the prospective intervenor will significantly contribute to full development and equitable resolution of the factual issues.

Cite as R.C. § 4903.221

Effective Date: 01-11-1983

4903.23 Fees for copying and certifying documents - status as evidence.

The public utilities commission or power siting board may charge and collect a fee, which shall not exceed cost, for furnishing any copy of any paper, record, testimony, or writing made, taken, or filed under Chapters 4901., 4903., 4905., 4906., 4907., 4909., 4921., 4923., and 4927. of the Revised Code, except such transcript and other papers as are required to be filed in any court proceedings authorized in those chapters, whether under seal and certified to or otherwise; and may charge and collect a fee for certifying a document, which shall not exceed that charged by the secretary of state under division (K) of section 111.16 of the Revised Code. All such fees, itemized, shall be paid into the state treasury on the first day of each month.

Upon application of any person and payment of the proper fee, the commission or board shall furnish certified copies under the seal of the commission or board of any order made by it, which order is prima-facie evidence in any court of the facts stated in such copies. The copies of schedules, classifications, and tariffs of rates, tolls, prices, rentals, regulations, practices, services, fares, and charges, and copies of all contracts, agreements, and arrangements between public utilities and railroads, or either, filed with the commission, and the statistics, tables, and figures contained in the annual or other reports of such companies made to the commission as required by the chapters, shall be preserved as public records in the custody of the commission and shall be received as prima-facie evidence of what they purport to be, for the purpose of investigations and prosecutions by the commission and in all judicial proceedings. Copies of and extracts from any of such schedules, classifications, tariffs, contracts, agreements, arrangements, or reports, made public records, certified by the commission under its seal, shall be received in evidence with like effect as the originals.

Cite as R.C. § 4903.23

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.43, SB 162, §1, eff. 9/13/2010.

Effective Date: 09-29-1997

4903.24 Costs and expenses of investigation.

If the public utilities commission finds after investigating that any rate, joint rate, fare, charge, toll, rental, schedule, or classification of service is unjust, unreasonable, insufficient, unjustly discriminatory, unjustly preferential, or in violation of law, or that any service is inadequate or cannot be obtained, the public utility found to be at fault shall pay the expenses incurred by the commission upon such investigation. All fees, expenses, and costs of, or in connection with, any hearing or investigation may be imposed by the commission upon any party to the record or may be divided among any parties to the record in such proportion as the commission determines. All fees, expenses, and costs authorized and collected under this section shall be deposited to the credit of the special assessment fund, which is hereby created in the state treasury. Money in the fund shall be used by the commission for the purpose of covering the costs of any investigations or hearings it orders regarding any public utility.

Cite as R.C. § 4903.24

Effective Date: 06-26-2003

4903.25 Violation.

No officer, agent, or employee in an official capacity of a public utility shall knowingly violate section 4903.03 or 4903.24 of the Revised Code, nor shall any officer, agent, or employee in an official capacity or a public utility or railroad knowingly violate section 4903.02 or 4903.08 of the Revised Code, or willfully fail to comply with any lawful order or direction of the public utilities commission made with respect to any public utility or railroad. Each day's continuance of such failure is a separate offense.

Cite as R.C. § 4903.25

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4903.99 Penalty.

Whoever violates section 4903.25 of the Revised Code is guilty of a felony of the fifth degree.

Cite as R.C. § 4903.99

Effective Date: 07-01-1996