4928.17 Corporate separation plans.

(A) Except as otherwise provided in sections 4928.142 or 4928.143 or 4928.31 to 4928.40 of the Revised Code and beginning on the starting date of competitive retail electric service, no electric utility shall engage in this state, either directly or through an affiliate, in the businesses of supplying a noncompetitive retail electric service and supplying a competitive retail electric service, or in the businesses of supplying a noncompetitive retail electric service and supplying a product or service other than retail electric service, unless the utility implements and operates under a corporate separation plan that is approved by the public utilities commission under this section, is consistent with the policy specified in section 4928.02 of the Revised Code, and achieves all of the following:

(1) The plan provides, at minimum, for the provision of the competitive retail electric service or the nonelectric product or service through a fully separated affiliate of the utility, and the plan includes separate accounting requirements, the code of conduct as ordered by the commission pursuant to a rule it shall adopt under division (A) of section 4928.06 of the Revised Code, and such other measures as are necessary to effectuate the policy specified in section 4928.02 of the Revised Code.

(2) The plan satisfies the public interest in preventing unfair competitive advantage and preventing the abuse of market power.

(3) The plan is sufficient to ensure that the utility will not extend any undue preference or advantage to any affiliate, division, or part of its own business engaged in the business of supplying the competitive retail electric service or nonelectric product or service, including, but not limited to, utility resources such as trucks, tools, office equipment, office space, supplies, customer and marketing information, advertising, billing and mailing systems, personnel, and training, without compensation based upon fully loaded embedded costs charged to the affiliate; and to ensure that any such affiliate, division, or part will not receive undue preference or advantage from any affiliate, division, or part of the business engaged in business of supplying the noncompetitive retail electric service. No such utility, affiliate, division, or part shall extend such undue preference. Notwithstanding any other division of this section, a utility's obligation under division (A)(3) of this section shall be effective January 1, 2000.

(B) The commission may approve, modify and approve, or disapprove a corporate separation plan filed with the commission under division (A) of this section. As part of the code of conduct required under division (A)(1) of this section, the commission shall adopt rules pursuant to division (A) of section 4928.06 of the Revised Code regarding corporate separation and procedures for plan filing and approval. The rules shall include limitations on affiliate practices solely for the purpose of maintaining a separation of the affiliate's business from the business of the utility to prevent unfair competitive advantage by virtue of that relationship. The rules also shall include an opportunity for any person having a real and substantial interest in the corporate separation plan to file specific objections to the plan and propose specific responses to issues raised in the objections, which objections and responses the commission shall address in its final order. Prior to commission approval of the plan, the commission shall afford a hearing upon those aspects of the plan that the commission determines reasonably require a hearing. The commission may reject and require refiling of a substantially inadequate plan under this section.

(C) The commission shall issue an order approving or modifying and approving a corporate separation plan under this section, to be effective on the date specified in the order, only upon findings that the plan reasonably complies with the requirements of division (A) of this section and will provide for ongoing compliance with the policy specified in section 4928.02 of the Revised Code. However, for good cause shown, the commission may issue an order approving or modifying and approving a corporate separation plan under this section that does not comply with division (A)(1) of this section but complies with such functional separation requirements as the commission authorizes to apply for an interim period prescribed in the order, upon a finding that such alternative plan will provide for ongoing compliance with the policy specified in section 4928.02 of the Revised Code.

(D) Any party may seek an amendment to a corporate separation plan approved under this section, and the commission, pursuant to a request from any party or on its own initiative, may order as it considers necessary the filing of an amended corporate separation plan to reflect changed circumstances.

(E) No electric distribution utility shall sell or transfer any generating asset it wholly or partly owns at any time without obtaining prior commission approval.

Effective Date: 10-05-1999; 2008 SB221 07-31-2008