(A) There is hereby established in the state treasury a universal service fund, into which shall be deposited all universal service revenues remitted to the director of development under this section, for the exclusive purposes of providing funding for the low-income customer assistance programs and for the consumer education program authorized under section 4928.56 of the Revised Code, and paying the administrative costs of the low-income customer assistance programs and the consumer education program. Interest on the fund shall be credited to the fund. Disbursements from the fund shall be made to any supplier that provides a competitive retail electric service or a noncompetitive retail electric service to a customer who is approved to receive assistance under a specified low-income customer assistance program and to any authorized provider of weatherization or energy efficiency service to a customer approved to receive such assistance under a specified low-income customer assistance program.
(B) Universal service revenues shall include all of the following:
(1) Revenues remitted to the director after collection by an electric distribution utility beginning July 1, 2000, attributable to the collection from customers of the universal service rider prescribed under section 4928.52 of the Revised Code;
(2) Revenues remitted to the director that have been collected by an electric distribution utility beginning July 1, 2000, as customer payments under the percentage of income payment plan program, including revenues remitted under division (C) of this section;
(3) Adequate revenues remitted to the director after collection by a municipal electric utility or electric cooperative in this state not earlier than July 1, 2000, upon the utility's or cooperative's decision to participate in the low-income customer assistance programs.
(1) Beginning July 1, 2000, an electric distribution utility shall transfer to the director the right to collect all arrearage payments of a customer for percentage of income payment plan program debt owed to the utility on the day before that date or retain the right to collect that debt but remit to the director all program revenues received by the utility for that customer.
(2) A current or past percentage of income payment plan program customer is relieved of any payment obligation under the percentage of income payment program for any unpaid arrears accrued by the customer under the program as of the effective date of this section if the customer, as determined by the director, meets both of the following criteria:
(a) The customer as of that date has complied with customer payment responsibilities under the program.
(b) The customer is permanently and totally disabled as defined in section 5117.01 of the Revised Code or is sixty-five years of age or older as defined in that section.
(D) The public utilities commission shall complete an audit of each electric utility by July 1, 2000, for the purpose of establishing a baseline for the percentage of income payment plan program component of the low-income assistance programs.
Effective Date: 10-05-1999