4928.10 Minimum service requirements for competitive services.

For the protection of consumers in this state, the public utilities commission shall adopt rules under division (A) of section 4928.06 of the Revised Code specifying the necessary minimum service requirements, on or after the starting date of competitive retail electric service, of an electric utility, electric services company, electric cooperative, or governmental aggregator subject to certification under section 4928.08 of the Revised Code regarding the provision directly or through its billing and collection agent of competitive retail electric services for which it is subject to certification. Rules adopted under this section shall include a prohibition against unfair, deceptive, and unconscionable acts and practices in the marketing, solicitation, and sale of such a competitive retail electric service and in the administration of any contract for service, and also shall include additional consumer protections concerning all of the following:

(A) Contract disclosure. The rules shall include requirements that an electric utility, electric services company, electric cooperative, or governmental aggregator subject to certification under section 4928.08 of the Revised Code do both of the following:

(1) Provide consumers with adequate, accurate, and understandable pricing and terms and conditions of service, including any switching fees, and with a document containing the terms and conditions of pricing and service before the consumer enters into the contract for service;

(2) Disclose the conditions under which a customer may rescind a contract without penalty.

(B) Service termination. The rules shall include disclosure of the terms identifying how customers may switch or terminate service, including any required notice and any penalties.

(C) Minimum content of customer bills. The rules shall include all of the following requirements, which shall be standardized:

(1) Price disclosure and disclosures of total billing units for the billing period and historical annual usage;

(2) To the maximum extent practicable, separate listing of each service component to enable a customer to recalculate its bill for accuracy;

(3) Identification of the supplier of each service;

(4) Statement of where and how payment may be made and provision of a toll-free or local customer assistance and complaint number for the electric utility, electric services company, electric cooperative, or governmental aggregator, as well as a consumer assistance telephone number or numbers for state agencies, such as the commission, the office of the consumers' counsel, and the attorney general's office, with the available hours noted;

(5) Other than for the first billing after the starting date of competitive retail electric service, highlighting and clear explanation on each customer bill, for two consecutive billing periods, of any changes in the rates, terms, and conditions of service.

(D) Disconnection and service termination, including requirements with respect to master-metered buildings. The rules shall include policies and procedures that are consistent with sections 4933.121 and 4933.122 of the Revised Code and the commission's rules adopted under those sections, and that provide for all of the following:

(1) Coordination between suppliers for the purpose of maintaining service;

(2) The allocation of partial payments between suppliers when service components are jointly billed;

(3) A prohibition against blocking, or authorizing the blocking of, customer access to a noncompetitive retail electric service when a customer is delinquent in payments to the electric utility or electric services company for a competitive retail electric service;

(4) A prohibition against switching, or authorizing the switching of, a customer's supplier of competitive retail electric service without the prior consent of the customer in accordance with appropriate confirmation practices, which may include independent, third-party verification procedures.

(5) A requirement of disclosure of the conditions under which a customer may rescind a decision to switch its supplier without penalty;

(6) Specification of any required notice and any penalty for early termination of contract.

(E) Minimum service quality, safety, and reliability. However, service quality, safety, and reliability requirements for electric generation service shall be determined primarily through market expectations and contractual relationships.

(F) Generation resource mix and environmental characteristics of power supplies. The rules shall include requirements for determination of the approximate generation resource mix and environmental characteristics of the power supplies and disclosure to the customer prior to the customer entering into a contract to purchase and four times per year under the contract. The rules also shall require that the electric utility, electric services company, electric cooperative, or governmental aggregator provide, or cause its billing and collection agent to provide, a customer with standardized information comparing the projected, with the actual and verifiable, resource mix and environmental characteristics. This disclosure shall occur not less than annually or not less than once during the contract period if the contract period is less than one year, and prior to any renewal of a contract.

(G) Customer information. The rules shall include requirements that the electric utility, electric services company, electric cooperative, or governmental aggregator make generic customer load pattern information available to other electric light companies on a comparable and nondiscriminatory basis, and make customer-specific information available to other electric light companies on a comparable and nondiscriminatory basis unless, as to customer-specific information, the customer objects. The rules shall ensure that each such utility, company, cooperative, or aggregator provide clear and frequent notice to its customers of the right to object and of applicable procedures. The rules shall establish the exact language that shall be used in all such notices.

Effective Date: 10-05-1999