(1) For the purpose of this section, the term "purchased gas adjustment clause" means:
(a) A provision in a schedule of a gas company or natural gas company that requires or allows the company to, without adherence to section 4909.18 or 4909.19 of the Revised Code, adjust the rates that it charges to its customers in accordance with any fluctuation in the cost to the company of obtaining the gas that it sells, that has occurred since the time any order has been issued by the public utilities commission establishing rates for the company pertaining to those customers;
(b) A provision in an ordinance adopted pursuant to section 743.26 or 4909.34 of the Revised Code or Section 4 of Article XVIII, Ohio Constitution, with respect to which a gas company or natural gas company is required or allowed to adjust the rates it charges under such an ordinance in accordance with any fluctuation in the cost to the company of obtaining the gas that it sells, that has occurred since the time of the adoption of the ordinance.
(2) For the purpose of this section, the term "special purchase" means any purchase of interstate natural gas, any purchase of liquefied natural gas, and any purchase of synthetic natural gas from any source developed after the effective date of this section, April 27, 1976, provided that this purchase be of less than one hundred twenty days duration and the price for this purchase is not regulated by the federal power commission. For the purpose of this division, the expansion or enlargement of a synthetic natural gas plant existing at such date shall be considered a source so developed.
(3) For the purpose of this section, the term "residential customer" means urban, suburban, and rural patrons of gas companies and natural gas companies insofar as their needs for gas are limited to their residence. Such term includes those patrons whose rates have been set under an ordinance adopted pursuant to sections 743.26 and 4909.34 of the Revised Code or Section 4 of Article XVIII, Ohio Constitution.
(B) A purchased gas adjustment clause may not allow, and no such clause may be interpreted to allow, a gas company or natural gas company that has obtained an order from the public utilities commission permitting the company to curtail the service of any customer or class of customers other than residential customers, such order being based on the company's inability to secure a sufficient quantity of natural gas, to distribute the cost of any special purchase made subsequent to the effective date of such order, to the extent that such purchase decreases the level of curtailment of any such customer or class of customers, to any class of customers of the company that was not curtailed, to any class of residential customers of the company, or to any class of customers of the company whose level of curtailment was not decreased and whose consumption increased as a result of, or in connection with, the special purchase.
(1) The commission shall promulgate a purchased gas adjustment rule, consistent with this section, that establishes a uniform purchased gas adjustment clause to be included in the schedule of gas companies and natural gas companies subject to the jurisdiction of the public utilities commission and that establishes investigative procedures and proceedings including, but not limited to, periodic reports, audits, and hearings.
(2) The commission shall not require that a management or performance audit pertaining to the purchased gas adjustment clause of a gas or natural gas company, or a hearing related to such an audit, be conducted more frequently than once every three years. Any such management or performance audit and any such hearing shall be strictly limited to the gas or natural gas company's gas or natural gas production and purchasing policies. No such management or performance audit and no such hearing shall extend in scope beyond matters that are necessary to determine the following:
(a) That the gas or natural gas company's purchasing policies are designed to meet the company's service requirements;
(b) That the gas or natural gas company's procurement planning is sufficient to reasonably ensure reliable service at optimal prices and consistent with the company's long-term strategic supply plan;
(c) That the gas or natural gas company has reviewed existing and potential supply sources;
(3) Unless otherwise ordered by the commission for good cause shown and except as provided in division (D) of this section:
(a) The commission's staff shall conduct any audit or other investigation of a natural gas company having fifteen thousand or fewer customers in this state that may be required under the purchased gas adjustment rule.
(b) Except as provided in section 4905.10 of the Revised Code, the commission shall not impose upon such company any fee, expense, or cost of such audit or other investigation or any related hearing under this section.
(4) Unless otherwise ordered by the commission for good cause shown either by an interested party or by the commission on its own motion, no natural gas company having fifteen thousand or fewer customers in this state shall be subject under the purchased gas adjustment rule to any audit or other investigation or any related hearing, other than a financial audit or, as necessary, any hearing related to a financial audit.
(5) In issuing an order under division (C) (3) or (4) of this section, the commission shall file a written opinion setting forth the reasons showing good cause under such division and the specific matters to be audited, investigated, or subjected to hearing. Nothing in division (C) (3) or (4) of this section relieves such a natural gas company from the duty to file such information as the commission may require under the rule for the purpose of showing that a company has charged its customers accurately for the cost of gas obtained.
(D) A natural gas company that does not sell natural gas under a purchased gas adjustment clause shall not be subject to this section.
(E) Nothing in this section or any other provision of law shall be construed to mean that the commission, in the event of any cost distribution allowed under this section, may issue an order pursuant to which the prudent and reasonable cost of gas to a gas company or natural gas company of any special purchase may not be recovered by the company. For the purpose of this division, such cost of gas neither includes any applicable franchise taxes nor the ordinary losses of gas experienced by the company in the process of transmission and distribution.
(F) The commission shall not at any time prevent or restrain such costs as are distributable under this section from being so distributed, unless the commission has reason to believe that an arithmetic or accounting inaccuracy exists with respect to such a distribution or that the company has not accurately represented the amount of the cost of a special purchase, or has followed imprudent or unreasonable procurement policies and practices, has made errors in the estimation of cubic feet sold, or has employed such other practices, policies, or factors as the commission considers inappropriate.
Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.20, HB 95, §1, eff. 9/9/2011.
Effective Date: 06-26-2001 .