Chapter 4929: ALTERNATE RATE PLAN FOR NATURAL GAS COMPANIES; CERTIFICATION OF GOVERNMENTAL AGGREGATORS AND RETAIL NATURAL GAS SUPPLIERS

4929.01 Alternate rate plan for natural gas company definitions.

As used in this chapter:

(A) "Alternative rate plan" means a method, alternate to the method of section 4909.15 of the Revised Code, for establishing rates and charges, under which rates and charges may be established for a commodity sales service or ancillary service that is not exempt pursuant to section 4929.04 of the Revised Code or for a distribution service. Alternative rate plans may include, but are not limited to, methods that provide adequate and reliable natural gas services and goods in this state; minimize the costs and time expended in the regulatory process; tend to assess the costs of any natural gas service or goods to the entity, service, or goods that cause such costs to be incurred; afford rate stability; promote and reward efficiency, quality of service, or cost containment by a natural gas company; provide sufficient flexibility and incentives to the natural gas industry to achieve high quality, technologically advanced, and readily available natural gas services and goods at just and reasonable rates and charges; or establish revenue decoupling mechanisms. Alternative rate plans also may include, but are not limited to, automatic adjustments based on a specified index or changes in a specified cost or costs.

(B) "Ancillary service" means a service that is ancillary to the receipt or delivery of natural gas to consumers, including, but not limited to, storage, pooling, balancing, and transmission.

(C) "Commodity sales service" means the sale of natural gas to consumers, exclusive of any distribution or ancillary service.

(D) "Comparable service" means any regulated service or goods whose availability, quality, price, terms, and conditions are the same as or better than those of the services or goods that the natural gas company provides to a person with which it is affiliated or which it controls, or, as to any consumer, that the natural gas company offers to that consumer as part of a bundled service that includes both regulated and exempt services or goods.

(E) "Consumer" means any person or association of persons purchasing, delivering, storing, or transporting, or seeking to purchase, deliver, store, or transport, natural gas, including industrial consumers, commercial consumers, and residential consumers, but not including natural gas companies.

(F) "Distribution service" means the delivery of natural gas to a consumer at the consumer's facilities, by and through the instrumentalities and facilities of a natural gas company, regardless of the party having title to the natural gas.

(G) "Natural gas company" means a natural gas company, as defined in section 4905.03 of the Revised Code, that is a public utility as defined in section 4905.02 of the Revised Code and excludes a retail natural gas supplier.

(H) "Person," except as provided in division (N) of this section, has the same meaning as in section 1.59 of the Revised Code, and includes this state and any political subdivision, agency, or other instrumentality of this state and includes the United States and any agency or other instrumentality of the United States.

(I) "Billing or collection agent" means a fully independent agent, not affiliated with or otherwise controlled by a retail natural gas supplier or governmental aggregator subject to certification under section 4929.20 of the Revised Code, to the extent that the agent is under contract with such supplier or aggregator solely to provide billing and collection for competitive retail natural gas service on behalf of the supplier or aggregator.

(J) "Competitive retail natural gas service" means any retail natural gas service that may be competitively offered to consumers in this state as a result of revised schedules approved under division (C) of section 4929.29 of the Revised Code, a rule or order adopted or issued by the public utilities commission under Chapter 4905. of the Revised Code, or an exemption granted by the commission under sections 4929.04 to 4929.08 of the Revised Code.

(K) "Governmental aggregator" means either of the following:

(1) A legislative authority of a municipal corporation, a board of township trustees, or a board of county commissioners acting exclusively under section 4929.26 or 4929.27 of the Revised Code as an aggregator for the provision of competitive retail natural gas service;

(2) A municipal corporation acting exclusively under Section 4 of Article XVIII, Ohio Constitution, as an aggregator for the provision of competitive retail natural gas service.

(L)

(1) "Mercantile customer" means a customer that consumes, other than for residential use, more than five hundred thousand cubic feet of natural gas per year at a single location within this state or consumes natural gas, other than for residential use, as part of an undertaking having more than three locations within or outside of this state. "Mercantile customer" excludes a customer for which a declaration under division (L)(2) of this section is in effect pursuant to that division.

(2) A not-for-profit customer that consumes, other than for residential use, more than five hundred thousand cubic feet of natural gas per year at a single location within this state or consumes natural gas, other than for residential use, as part of an undertaking having more than three locations within or outside this state may file a declaration under division (L)(2) of this section with the public utilities commission. The declaration shall take effect upon the date of filing, and by virtue of the declaration, the customer is not a mercantile customer for the purposes of this section and sections 4929.20 to 4929.29 of the Revised Code or the purposes of a governmental natural gas aggregation or arrangement or other contract entered into after the declaration's effective date for the supply or arranging of the supply of natural gas to the customer to a location within this state. The customer may file a rescission of the declaration with the commission at any time. The rescission shall not affect any governmental natural gas aggregation or arrangement or other contract entered into by the customer prior to the date of the filing of the rescission and shall have effect only with respect to any subsequent such aggregation or arrangement or other contract. The commission shall prescribe rules under section 4929.10 of the Revised Code specifying the form of the declaration or a rescission and procedures by which a declaration or rescission may be filed.

(M) "Retail natural gas service" means commodity sales service, ancillary service, natural gas aggregation service, natural gas marketing service, or natural gas brokerage service.

(N) "Retail natural gas supplier" means any person, as defined in section 1.59 of the Revised Code, that is engaged on a for-profit or not-for-profit basis in the business of supplying or arranging for the supply of a competitive retail natural gas service to consumers in this state that are not mercantile customers. "Retail natural gas supplier" includes a marketer, broker, or aggregator, but excludes a natural gas company, a governmental aggregator as defined in division (K)(1) or (2) of this section, an entity described in division (A)(2) or (3) of section 4905.02 of the Revised Code, or a billing or collection agent, and excludes a producer or gatherer of gas to the extent such producer or gatherer is not a natural gas company under section 4905.03 of the Revised Code.

(O) "Revenue decoupling mechanism" means a rate design or other cost recovery mechanism that provides recovery of the fixed costs of service and a fair and reasonable rate of return, irrespective of system throughput or volumetric sales.

Cite as R.C. § 4929.01

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.127, HB 487, §101.01, eff. 6/11/2012.

Effective Date: 06-26-2001; 2008 SB221 07-31-2008

4929.02 Policy of state as to natural gas services and goods.

(A) It is the policy of this state to, throughout this state:

(1) Promote the availability to consumers of adequate, reliable, and reasonably priced natural gas services and goods;

(2) Promote the availability of unbundled and comparable natural gas services and goods that provide wholesale and retail consumers with the supplier, price, terms, conditions, and quality options they elect to meet their respective needs;

(3) Promote diversity of natural gas supplies and suppliers, by giving consumers effective choices over the selection of those supplies and suppliers;

(4) Encourage innovation and market access for cost-effective supply- and demand-side natural gas services and goods;

(5) Encourage cost-effective and efficient access to information regarding the operation of the distribution systems of natural gas companies in order to promote effective customer choice of natural gas services and goods;

(6) Recognize the continuing emergence of competitive natural gas markets through the development and implementation of flexible regulatory treatment;

(7) Promote an expeditious transition to the provision of natural gas services and goods in a manner that achieves effective competition and transactions between willing buyers and willing sellers to reduce or eliminate the need for regulation of natural gas services and goods under Chapters 4905. and 4909. of the Revised Code;

(8) Promote effective competition in the provision of natural gas services and goods by avoiding subsidies flowing to or from regulated natural gas services and goods;

(9) Ensure that the risks and rewards of a natural gas company's offering of nonjurisdictional and exempt services and goods do not affect the rates, prices, terms, or conditions of nonexempt, regulated services and goods of a natural gas company and do not affect the financial capability of a natural gas company to comply with the policy of this state specified in this section;

(10) Facilitate the state's competitiveness in the global economy;

(11) Facilitate additional choices for the supply of natural gas for residential consumers, including aggregation;

(12) Promote an alignment of natural gas company interests with consumer interest in energy efficiency and energy conservation.

(B) The public utilities commission and the office of the consumers' counsel shall follow the policy specified in this section in exercising their respective authorities relative to sections 4929.03 to 4929.30 of the Revised Code.

(C) Nothing in Chapter 4929. of the Revised Code shall be construed to alter the public utilities commission's construction or application of division (E) of section 4905.03 of the Revised Code.

Cite as R.C. § 4929.02

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.127, HB 487, §101.01, eff. 6/11/2012.

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

Effective Date: 06-26-2001; 2008 SB221 07-31-2008

4929.03 Applicability of other public utility commission provisions.

Except as otherwise provided in section 4929.04 of the Revised Code, only the commodity sales services, distribution services, and ancillary services of a natural gas company are subject to the jurisdiction of the public utilities commission. Chapter 4905. with the exception of section 4905.10 , Chapter 4909., Chapter 4935. with the exception of sections 4935.01 and 4935.03 , and sections 4933.08 , 4933.09 , 4933.11 , 4933.123 , 4933.17 , 4933.28 , and 4933.32 of the Revised Code do not apply to any other service or goods provided by a natural gas company. Nothing in this chapter prevents the commission from exercising its authority under Title XLIX of the Revised Code to protect customers of nonexempt, regulated services or goods from any adverse effects of the provision of unregulated services or goods. Nothing in this chapter affects the authority of the commission to enforce sections 4905.90 to 4905.96 of the Revised Code.

Cite as R.C. § 4929.03

Effective Date: 09-17-1996; 05-27-2005

4929.04 Exempting commodity sales service or ancillary service of natural gas company from other rate provisions.

(A) The public utilities commission, upon the application of a natural gas company, after notice, after affording the public a period for comment, and in the case of a natural gas company with fifteen thousand or more customers after a hearing and in the case of a natural gas company with fewer than fifteen thousand customers after a hearing if the commission considers a hearing necessary, shall exempt, by order, any commodity sales service or ancillary service of the natural gas company from all provisions of Chapter 4905. with the exception of section 4905.10 , Chapter 4909., and Chapter 4935. with the exception of sections 4935.01 and 4935.03 of the Revised Code, from sections 4933.08 , 4933.09 , 4933.11 , 4933.123 , 4933.17 , 4933.28 , and 4933.32 of the Revised Code, and from any rule or order issued under those Chapters or sections, including the obligation under section 4905.22 of the Revised Code to provide the commodity sales service or ancillary service, subject to divisions (D) and (E) of this section, and provided the commission finds that the natural gas company is in substantial compliance with the policy of this state specified in section 4929.02 of the Revised Code and that either of the following conditions exists:

(1) The natural gas company is subject to effective competition with respect to the commodity sales service or ancillary service;

(2) The customers of the commodity sales service or ancillary service have reasonably available alternatives.

(B) In determining whether the conditions in division (A)(1) or (2) of this section exist, factors the commission shall consider include, but are not limited to:

(1) The number and size of alternative providers of the commodity sales service or ancillary service;

(2) The extent to which the commodity sales service or ancillary service is available from alternative providers in the relevant market;

(3) The ability of alternative providers to make functionally equivalent or substitute services readily available at competitive prices, terms, and conditions;

(4) Other indicators of market power, which may include market share, growth in market share, ease of entry, and the affiliation of providers of services.

(C) The applicant shall have the burden of proof under this section.

(D) The commission shall not issue an order under division (A) of this section that exempts all of a natural gas company's commodity sales services from the chapters and sections specified in that division unless the commission finds that the company offers distribution services on a fully open, equal, and unbundled basis to all its customers and that all such customers reasonably may acquire commodity sales services from suppliers other than the natural gas company.

(E) An order exempting any or all of a natural gas company's commodity sales services or ancillary services under division (A) of this section shall prescribe both of the following:

(1) A separation plan that ensures, to the maximum extent practicable, that the operations, resources, and employees involved in the provision or marketing of exempt commodity sales services or ancillary services, and the books and records associated with those services, shall be separate from the operations, resources, and employees involved in the provision or marketing of nonexempt commodity sales services or ancillary services and the books and records associated with those services;

(2) A code of conduct that governs both the company's adherence to the state policy specified in section 4929.02 of the Revised Code and its sharing of information and resources between those employees involved in the provision or marketing of exempt commodity sales services or ancillary services and those employees involved in the provision or marketing of nonexempt commodity sales services or ancillary services. The commission, however, shall not prescribe, as part of any such separation plan or code of conduct, any requirement that unreasonably limits or restricts a company's ability to compete with unregulated providers of commodity sales services or ancillary services.

(F) Notwithstanding division (A)(2) of section 4929.08 of the Revised Code or any exemption granted under division (A) of this section, the commission has jurisdiction under section 4905.26 of the Revised Code, upon complaint of any person or upon the complaint or initiative of the commission, to determine whether a natural gas company has failed to comply with a separation plan or code of conduct prescribed under division (E) of this section. If, after notice and hearing as provided in section 4905.26 of the Revised Code, the commission is of the opinion that a natural gas company has failed to comply with such a plan or code, the commission may do any of the following:

(1) Issue an order directing the company to comply with the plan or code;

(2) Modify the plan or code, if the commission finds that such a modification is reasonable and appropriate, and order the company to comply with the plan or code as modified;

(3) Abrogate the order granting the company's exemption under division (A) of this section, if the commission finds that the company has engaged in one or more material violations of the plan or code, that the violation or violations were intentional, and that the abrogation is in the public interest.

(G) An order issued under division (F) of this section is enforceable in the manner set forth in section 4905.60 of the Revised Code. Any violation of such an order shall be deemed a violation of a commission order for the purpose of section 4905.54 of the Revised Code.

Cite as R.C. § 4929.04

Effective Date: 09-17-1996; 05-27-2005

4929.041 Regulatory exemption of investment in storage or gathering facilities.

(A) As used in this section, "regulatory exemption" means an exemption from all provisions of Chapter 4905. of the Revised Code with the exception of sections 4905.10 , 4905.35 , and 4905.90 to 4905.96 of the Revised Code, Chapters 4909., 4933., and 4935. of the Revised Code, with the exception of section 4935.03 of the Revised Code, and from any rule or order issued under the exempted provisions of those chapters.

(B) The public utilities commission, upon an application filed under section 4909.18 of the Revised Code by a natural gas company in substantial compliance with the policy specified in section 4929.02 of the Revised Code, shall grant a regulatory exemption, by order, for either or both of the following:

(1) Any investments in storage or gathering facilities placed into service on or after January 1, 2010, and also any service of the natural gas company related to those facilities ;

(2) Any investments in gathering facilities placed into service before January 1, 2010, and also any service of the natural gas company related to those facilities.

(C)

(1) A natural gas company requesting a regulatory exemption under division (B)(2) of this section shall identify in the application both of the following:

(a) The valuation of the investments to be exempted, as determined under division (A)(1) of section 4909.15 of the Revised Code, in the rate case proceeding that established the company's rates in effect at the time of the filing of the application requesting the regulatory exemption;

(b) The valuation of all nonexempt investments placed into service after the date certain used in the rate case proceeding described in division (C)(1)(a) of this section, excluding investments for which deferral or recovery is authorized under section 4909.18 , 4929.05 , or 4929.111 of the Revised Code.

(2) The commission shall compare the valuations identified in divisions (C)(1)(a) and (b) of this section.

(a) If the valuation identified in division (C)(1)(a) of this section exceeds the valuation identified in division (C)(1)(b) of this section, the commission shall, in addition to the adjustments needed to implement the regulatory exemption, reduce the gross annual revenues to which the utility is entitled under division (B) of section 4909.15 of the Revised Code by applying the rate of return, as determined under division (A)(2) of section 4909.15 of the Revised Code in the rate case proceeding in which the regulatory exemption is being sought, to the difference in the two valuations.

(b) If the valuation identified in division (C)(1)(a) of this section does not exceed the valuation identified in division (C)(1)(b) of this section, the commission shall make no adjustments beyond those needed to implement the regulatory exemption.

(3) If the company, after a regulatory exemption has been granted under division (B)(2) of this section, subsequently places into service investments that perform the function that had been provided by the exempt investments prior to the granting of the regulatory exemption, the company shall not be authorized to recover revenues related to the investments placed into service greater than those consistent with the value of the exempt assets as would be determined under division (A)(1) of section 4909.15 of the Revised Code in the company's next rate case.

(D)

(1) Subject to division (E) of this section, a natural gas company subject to a regulatory exemption shall, to the maximum extent practicable, keep separate the company's operations, resources, and employees, and the associated books and records, involved in the provision or marketing of a company-provided service related to an investment exempted under the regulatory exemption from the operations, resources, and employees, and the associated books and records, involved in the provision or marketing of any company-provided service not exempted under the regulatory exemption or any other section of the Revised Code.

(2) An order granting regulatory exemption shall prescribe a functional separation plan for compliance with division (D)(1) of this section.

(E)

(1) No natural gas company subject to a regulatory exemption may use the company's storage or gathering facilities associated with the regulatory exemption to provide a commodity sales service that is unregulated or subject to an exemption order issued under section 4929.04 of the Revised Code.

(2) Upon application to the commission by a natural gas company and upon a finding of good cause shown, the commission may, by order, waive the prohibition described in division (E)(1) of this section. The natural gas company shall bear the burden of proof that the waiver is just and reasonable, which shall constitute good cause.

(F) The commission shall have continuous jurisdiction to enforce any terms that it imposes in a regulatory exemption . Whenever the commission is of the opinion, after hearing had upon complaint or upon its own initiative or complaint, served as provided in section 4905.26 of the Revised Code, that a regulatory exemption has adversely affected the quality, adequacy, or sufficiency of service provided by the company subject to the regulatory exemption , the commission may alter, amend, or suspend the regulatory exemption .

Cite as R.C. § 4929.041

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.127, HB 487, §101.01, eff. 9/10/2012.

Added by 128th General AssemblyFile No.27, SB 165, §1, eff. 6/30/2010.

4929.042 Notice of converting use of gathering facility.

A natural gas company shall notify the public utilities commission in writing before converting the use of any gathering facilities described in division (B)(2) of section 4929.041 of the Revised Code.

Cite as R.C. § 4929.042

Added by 129th General AssemblyFile No.127, HB 487, §101.01, eff. 9/10/2012.

4929.05 Request for approval of alternative rate plan.

(A) A natural gas company may request approval of an alternative rate plan by filing an application under section 4909.18 of the Revised Code, regardless of whether the application is for an increase in rates. After investigation, which may include a hearing at the discretion of the public utilities commission, the commission shall authorize the applicant to implement an alternative rate plan if the natural gas company has made a showing and the commission finds that all of the following conditions are met:

(1) The natural gas company is in compliance with section 4905.35 of the Revised Code and is in substantial compliance with the policy of this state specified in section 4929.02 of the Revised Code .

(2) The natural gas company is expected to continue to be in substantial compliance with the policy of this state specified in section 4929.02 of the Revised Code after implementation of the alternative rate plan.

(3) The alternative rate plan is just and reasonable.

(B) The applicant shall have the burden of proof under this section.

Cite as R.C. § 4929.05

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

Effective Date: 09-17-1996

4929.051 Plan proposing to initiate or continue a revenue decoupling mechanism.

(A) An alternative rate plan filed by a natural gas company under section 4929.05 of the Revised Code and proposing to initiate or continue a revenue decoupling mechanism shall be considered an application not for an increase in rates if the rates, joint rates, tolls, classifications, charges, or rentals are based upon the billing determinants and revenue requirement authorized by the public utilities commission in the company's most recent rate case proceeding and the plan also establishes, continues, or expands an energy efficiency or energy conservation program.

(B) An alternative rate plan filed by a natural gas company under section 4929.05 of the Revised Code and seeking authorization to continue a previously approved alternative rate plan shall be considered an application not for an increase in rates.

Cite as R.C. § 4929.051

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

Effective Date: 2008 SB221 07-31-2008

4929.06 Prescribing classifications, procedures, terms, or conditions for natural gas companies.

In carrying out sections 4929.04 and 4929.05 of the Revised Code, the public utilities commission may prescribe different classifications, procedures, terms, or conditions for different natural gas companies and for the natural gas services they provide, provided the classifications, procedures, terms, or conditions are reasonable and do not confer any undue economic, competitive, or market advantage or preference upon any natural gas company.

Cite as R.C. § 4929.06

Effective Date: 09-17-1996

4929.07 Proceedings after approval of exemption or alternate plan.

(A) Within thirty days after the date of issuance of an order approving an exemption or alternative rate plan under section 4929.04 or 4929.05 of the Revised Code or within twenty days after the issuance of a rehearing entry pursuant to section 4903.10 of the Revised Code, whichever is later, the natural gas company shall do either of the following:

(1) File with the public utilities commission a notice of its intention to implement the exemption or alternative rate plan as directed by the commission in its order, and a copy of its revised rate schedules;

(2) Withdraw its exemption application or alternative rate plan request if the commission modifies or does not approve as filed the exemption application or the alternative rate plan request.

(B) If a natural gas company files a notice and revised schedules pursuant to division (A)(1) of this section, the commission, within thirty days after the date of the filing, shall do either of the following:

(1) Approve the revised schedules if the commission finds that there is no material difference between the approved alternative rate plan and the filed schedules;

(2) Disapprove the revised schedules if the commission finds that there is a material difference between the approved alternative rate plan and the filed revised schedules. If the commission disapproves the revised schedules, it shall provide a written order explaining its reasons for doing so, and it shall permit the company an additional thirty days to file revised rate schedules to implement the approved alternative rate plan or permit the company to withdraw the alternative rate plan pursuant to division (A)(2) of this section.

(C) If a natural gas company withdraws its exemption application or alternative rate plan request pursuant to division (A)(2) of this section, the commission's order regarding the application, or the portion of the commission's order regarding the plan, is void, and, in the case of the withdrawal of an alternative rate plan, the rates and charges found under section 4929.05 of the Revised Code by the commission to be just and reasonable pursuant to section 4909.15 of the Revised Code shall be effective as of the date the company files final rate schedules containing those rates and charges.

(D) If an order concerning an application filed with the commission for an exemption under section 4929.04 of the Revised Code has not been issued within one hundred eighty days after the date of the application's acceptance by the commission, the exemption may be placed into effect subject to the final order of the commission. If an order concerning an application filed with the commission for alternative rate regulation under section 4929.05 of the Revised Code has not been issued within two hundred seventy-five days after the date of the application's acceptance by the commission, the rates and charges and the alternative rate plan proposed in the application may be placed into effect by the natural gas company, subject to refund of amounts collected that exceed those authorized by the commission's final order. If a final order has not been issued within three hundred sixty-five days after the date of the application's filing, the natural gas company shall have no obligation to make a refund of amounts collected after the three hundred sixty-fifth day that exceed those authorized by the commission's final order. The commission may require an undertaking to secure the refund under this division if it finds it is warranted by the financial condition of the company.

(E) In no event shall the commission reduce or require the reduction of any rate or charge for a service that is exempt or for which alternative rate regulation has been granted by the commission under section 4929.04 or 4929.05 of the Revised Code, provided that the natural gas company is in substantial compliance with the policy of this state specified in section 4929.02 of the Revised Code. If a reduction of any rate or charge is required by the terms of an alternative rate plan approved under section 4929.05 of the Revised Code, the commission shall require it.

Cite as R.C. § 4929.07

Effective Date: 09-17-1996

4929.08 Abrogation or modification of order.

(A) The public utilities commission has jurisdiction over every natural gas company that has been granted an exemption or alternative rate regulation under section 4929.04 or 4929.05 of the Revised Code. As to any such company, the commission, upon its own motion or upon the motion of any person adversely affected by such exemption or alternative rate regulation authority, and after notice and hearing and subject to this division, may abrogate or modify any order granting such an exemption or authority only under both of the following conditions:

(1) The commission determines that the findings upon which the order was based are no longer valid and that the abrogation or modification is in the public interest;

(2) The abrogation or modification is not made more than eight years after the effective date of the order, unless the affected natural gas company consents.

(B) After receiving an exemption or alternative rate regulation under section 4929.04 or 4929.05 of the Revised Code, no natural gas company shall implement the exemption or alternative rate regulation in a manner that violates the policy of this state specified in section 4929.02 of the Revised Code. Notwithstanding division (A) of this section, if the commission determines that a natural gas company granted such an exemption or alternative rate regulation is not in substantial compliance with that policy, that the natural gas company is not in compliance with its alternative rate plan, or that the exemption or alternative rate regulation is affecting detrimentally the integrity or safety of the natural gas company's distribution system or the quality of any of the company's regulated services or goods, the commission, after a hearing, may abrogate the order granting such an exemption or alternative rate regulation.

Cite as R.C. § 4929.08

Effective Date: 09-17-1996

4929.09 Designating natural gas supplies that have been obtained to provide exempt service.

In accordance with the commission's order prescribing a separation plan under division (E) of section 4929.04 of the Revised Code, a natural gas company granted an exemption under section 4929.04 of the Revised Code for a commodity sales service or ancillary service may designate the natural gas supplies that have been obtained to provide that exempt service. Nothing in this section prevents the public utilities commission from exercising its authority under section 4905.302 of the Revised Code, provided, however, that the designation of the supplies for the exempt service and the cost of the designated supplies shall not be considered in the determination of rates and charges for the company's nonexempt services, including rates and charges determined pursuant to section 4905.302 of the Revised Code.

Cite as R.C. § 4929.09

Effective Date: 09-17-1996; 05-27-2005

4929.10 Adoption of rules.

The public utilities commission shall adopt rules to carry out this chapter. Initial rules shall be adopted within one hundred eighty days after the effective date of this section.

Cite as R.C. § 4929.10

Effective Date: 09-17-1996

4929.11 Automatic adjustment mechanism or device for rates.

(A) Upon an application filed under this section, the public utilities commission may allow any automatic adjustment mechanism or device in a natural gas company's rate schedules that allows a natural gas company's rates or charges for a regulated service or goods to fluctuate automatically in accordance with changes in a specified cost or costs.

(B) Upon an application filed under section 4909.18 or 4929.05 of the Revised Code, the commission may allow any automatic adjustment mechanism or device as described in division (A) of this section.

Cite as R.C. § 4929.11

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

Effective Date: 09-17-1996

4929.111 Implementation of capital expenditure program.

(A) A natural gas company may file an application with the public utilities commission under section 4909.18 , 4929.05 , or 4929.11 of the Revised Code to implement a capital expenditure program for any of the following:

(1) Any infrastructure expansion, infrastructure improvement, or infrastructure replacement program;

(2) Any program to install, upgrade, or replace information technology systems;

(3) Any program reasonably necessary to comply with any rules, regulations, or orders of the commission or other governmental entity having jurisdiction.

(B) An application submitted under division (A) of this section shall specify the total cost of the capital expenditure program.

(C) If the commission finds that the capital expenditure program is consistent with the natural gas company's obligation under section 4905.22 of the Revised Code to furnish necessary and adequate services and facilities, which services and facilities the commission finds to be just and reasonable, the commission shall approve the application. Any deferral or recovery authorized under division (D) of this section shall be limited to amounts that are no greater than those consistent with the total cost of the capital expenditure program as set forth in the application, unless the commission in its discretion authorizes additional recovery under this section.

(D) In approving an application under division (C) of this section, the commission shall authorize the natural gas company to defer or recover in an application that the natural gas company may file under section 4909.18 , 4929.05 , or 4929.11 of the Revised Code, both of the following:

(1) A regulatory asset for the post-in-service carrying costs on that portion of the assets of the capital expenditure program that are placed in service but not reflected in rates as plant in service;

(2) A regulatory asset for the incremental depreciation directly attributable to the capital expenditure program and the property tax expense directly attributable to the capital expenditure program.

(E) A natural gas company shall not request recovery of the costs described in division (D) of this section under section 4929.05 or 4929.11 of the Revised Code more than one time each calendar year.

(F) The natural gas company may make any accounting accruals, necessary to establish the regulatory assets authorized under division (D) of this section, in addition to any allowance for funds used during construction.

(G)

(1) Any accrual for deferral or recovery under division (D) of this section shall be calculated in accordance with the system of accounts established by the commission under section 4905.13 of the Revised Code.

(2) The natural gas company shall calculate the post-in-service carrying costs, described in division (D)(1) of this section, for every investment in an asset of the capital expenditure program. This calculation shall be based on the cost of long-term debt of the natural gas company.

(H) Any accruals for deferral or recovery under division (D) of this section shall commence when the assets of the capital expenditure program are placed in service and shall cease when rates reflecting the cost of those assets are effective.

Cite as R.C. § 4929.111

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

4929.12 No intent to modify existing powers.

Except as otherwise provided in the amendment of sections 4901.12 , 4905.02 , 4905.07 , 4905.35 , 4911.10 , and 5727.33 and the enactment of sections 4929.01 to 4929.15 of the Revised Code by House Bill No. 476 of the 121st general assembly, the general assembly does not intend any modification to the existing powers of the public utilities commission under Title XLIX [49] of the Revised Code.

Cite as R.C. § 4929.12

Effective Date: 09-17-1996

4929.13 Exercising rights of public utility.

A natural gas company granted an exemption or alternative rate regulation under section 4929.04 or 4929.05 of the Revised Code is a public utility for the purpose of exercising the rights of a public utility in support of its regulated services and goods. Nothing in this chapter affects the right of appropriation of a natural gas company under law in support of its regulated services and goods.

Cite as R.C. § 4929.13

Effective Date: 09-17-1996

4929.14 Applying consumer sales practices act.

Sections 1345.01 to 1345.13 of the Revised Code shall apply to transactions between a natural gas company and its customers that involve natural gas services or goods that are exempt from or otherwise not subject to the jurisdiction of the public utilities commission pursuant to sections 4929.03 to 4929.05 of the Revised Code.

Cite as R.C. § 4929.14

Effective Date: 06-26-2001

4929.15 Investigating service complaints.

(A) If, by the consumers' counsel's own inquiries or as a result of complaints, the consumers' counsel has reasonable grounds to believe that a natural gas company is engaging in an act or practice giving rise to a ground for complaint under section 4905.26 of the Revised Code, the consumers' counsel may investigate. Prior to commencing an investigation, the consumers' counsel shall notify the natural gas company in writing of the information that the consumers' counsel will seek by the authority granted by this section. If the natural gas company fails to provide the information requested within twenty days after the date of receipt of notice from the consumers' counsel, the consumers' counsel may administer oaths, subpoena witnesses, adduce evidence, and require the production of relevant matter.

(B) Within ten days after the date a subpoena has been served pursuant to division (A) of this section, an application to extend the return day, or modify or quash the subpoena, stating good cause, may be filed with the public utilities commission. The commission shall rule on the application within ten days after the date of its filing.

(C) A person subpoenaed under this section shall comply with the terms of the subpoena, unless, as provided under division (B) of this section, the parties agree to modify the terms of the subpoena or unless the commission has modified or quashed the subpoena, extended the return day of the subpoena, or issued any other order with respect to the subpoena prior to its return day.

(D) If a person fails without lawful excuse to obey a subpoena or to produce relevant matter under this section, the consumers' counsel may file an application with the commission for an order compelling compliance. The commission shall rule on the application within ten days after the date of its filing.

Cite as R.C. § 4929.15

Effective Date: 09-17-1996

4929.20 Certifying governmental aggregators and retail natural gas suppliers.

(A) No governmental aggregator as defined in division (K)(1) of section 4929.01 of the Revised Code or no retail natural gas supplier shall provide a competitive retail natural gas service on or after thirteen months following the effective date of this section to a consumer in this state without first being certified by the public utilities commission regarding its managerial, technical, and financial capability to provide that service and providing reasonable financial assurances sufficient to protect customers and natural gas companies from default. In addition, a retail natural gas supplier may be required to provide a performance bond sufficient to protect customers and natural gas companies from default. Certification shall be granted pursuant to procedures and standards the commission shall prescribe in accordance with rules adopted under section 4929.10 of the Revised Code. However, certification or certification renewal shall be deemed approved thirty days after the filing of an application with the commission unless the commission suspends that approval for good cause shown. In the case of such a suspension, the commission shall act to approve or deny certification or certification renewal to the applicant not later than ninety days after the date of the suspension.

(B) Capability standards adopted in rules pursuant to division (A) of this section shall be sufficient to ensure compliance with section 4929.22 of the Revised Code and with the minimum service requirements established under section 4929.23 of the Revised Code. The standards shall allow flexibility for voluntary aggregation, to encourage market creativity in responding to consumer needs and demands. The rules shall include procedures for biennially renewing certification.

(C)

(1) The commission may suspend, rescind, or conditionally rescind the certification of any retail natural gas supplier or governmental aggregator issued under this section if the commission determines, after reasonable notice and opportunity for hearing, that the retail natural gas supplier or governmental aggregator has failed to comply with any applicable certification standards prescribed in rules adopted pursuant to this section or section 4929.22 of the Revised Code.

(2) An affected natural gas company may file an application with the commission for approval of authority to recover in accordance with division (C)(2) of this section incremental costs reasonably and prudently incurred by the company in connection with the commission's continuation, suspension, rescission, or conditional rescission of a particular retail natural gas supplier's certification under division (C)(1) of this section. Upon the filing of such an application, the commission shall conduct an audit of such incremental costs as are specified in the application. Cost recovery shall be through a rider on the base rates of customers of the company for which there is a choice of supplier of commodity sales service as a result of revised schedules approved under division (C) of section 4929.29 of the Revised Code, a rule or order adopted or issued by the commission under Chapter 4905. of the Revised Code, or an exemption granted by the commission under sections 4929.04 to 4929.08 of the Revised Code. The rider shall take effect ninety days after the date of the application's filing unless the commission, based on the audit results and for good cause shown, sets the matter for hearing. After the hearing, the commission shall approve the application, and authorize such cost recovery rider effective on the date specified in the order, only for such incremental costs as the commission determines were reasonably and prudently incurred by the company in connection with the continuation, suspension, rescission, or conditional rescission of a retail natural gas supplier's certification under division (C)(1) of this section. Any proceeding under division (C)(2) of this section shall be governed by Chapter 4903. of the Revised Code.

(D) No natural gas company, on and after thirteen months following the effective date of this section, shall knowingly distribute natural gas, to a retail consumer in this state, for any governmental aggregator, as defined in division (K)(1) of section 4929.01 of the Revised Code, or retail natural gas supplier, that has not been certified by the commission pursuant to this section.

Cite as R.C. § 4929.20

Effective Date: 06-26-2001

4929.21 Consent to jurisdiction - appointment of statutory agent.

(A)

(1) Beginning on the effective date of initial rules adopted pursuant to division (A) of section 4929.20 of the Revised Code, no person shall operate in this state as a retail natural gas supplier, unless that person first does both of the following:

(a) Consents irrevocably to the jurisdiction of the courts of this state and service of process in this state, including, without limitation, service of summonses and subpoenas, for any civil or criminal proceeding arising out of or relating to such operation, by providing that irrevocable consent in accordance with division (A)(4) of this section;

(b) Designates an agent authorized to receive that service of process in this state, by filing with the public utilities commission a document designating that agent.

(2) Beginning on the effective date of initial rules adopted pursuant to division (A) of section 4929.20 of the Revised Code, no person shall continue to operate as such retail natural gas supplier unless that person continues to consent to such jurisdiction and service of process in this state and continues to designate an agent as provided under this division, by refiling in accordance with division (A)(4) of this section the appropriate documents filed under division (A)(1) of this section or, as applicable, the appropriate amended documents filed under division (A)(3) of this section. Such refiling shall occur during the month of December of every fourth year after the initial filing of a document under division (A)(1) of this section.

(3) If the address of the person filing a document under division (A)(1) or (2) of this section changes, or if a person's agent or the address of the agent changes, from that listed on the most recently filed of such documents, the person shall file an amended document containing the new information.

(4) The consent and designation required by divisions (A)(1), (2), and (3) of this section shall be in writing, on forms prescribed by the commission. The original of each such document or amended document shall be legible and shall be filed with the commission, with a copy filed with the office of the consumers' counsel and with the attorney general's office.

(B) A person who enters this state pursuant to a summons, subpoena, or other form of process authorized by this section is not subject to arrest or service of process, whether civil or criminal, in connection with other matters that arose before the person's entrance into this state pursuant to such summons, subpoena, or other form of process.

(C) Divisions (A) and (B) of this section do not apply to any of the following:

(1) A corporation incorporated under the laws of this state that has appointed a statutory agent pursuant to section 1701.07 or 1702.06 of the Revised Code;

(2) A foreign corporation licensed to transact business in this state that has appointed a designated agent pursuant to section 1703.041 of the Revised Code;

(3) Any other person that is a resident of this state or that files consent to service of process and designates a statutory agent pursuant to other laws of this state.

Cite as R.C. § 4929.21

Effective Date: 06-26-2001

4929.22 Minimum service requirements.

For the protection of consumers in this state, the public utilities commission shall adopt rules under section 4929.10 of the Revised Code specifying the necessary minimum service requirements of a retail natural gas supplier or governmental aggregator subject to certification under section 4929.20 of the Revised Code regarding the marketing, solicitation, sale, or provision, directly or through its billing and collection agent, of any competitive retail natural gas service for which it is subject to certification. Rules adopted under this section shall include additional consumer protections concerning all of the following:

(A) Contract disclosure. The rules shall include requirements that a retail natural gas supplier or governmental aggregator subject to certification under section 4929.20 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 qualification and termination. The rules shall include a requirement that, before a consumer is eligible for service from a retail natural gas supplier or governmental aggregator subject to certification under section 4929.20 of the Revised Code, the consumer shall discharge, or enter into a plan to discharge, all existing arrearages owed to or being billed by the natural gas company from which the consumer presently is receiving service. The rules also shall provide for 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 retail natural gas supplier 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 effective date of initial rules adopted pursuant to division (A) of section 4929.20 of the Revised Code, 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 4933.12 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 switching, or authorizing the switching of, a customer's supplier of competitive retail natural gas service without the prior consent of the customer in accordance with appropriate confirmation practices, which may include independent, third-party verification procedures;

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

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

(E) Minimum service quality, safety, and reliability.

(F) Customer information. The rules shall include requirements that a natural gas company make generic customer load pattern information available to a retail natural gas supplier or governmental aggregator as defined in division (K)(1) or (2) of section 4929.01 of the Revised Code on a comparable and nondiscriminatory basis, and make customer information available to a retail natural gas supplier or governmental aggregator as defined in division (K)(1) or (2) of section 4929.01 of the Revised Code on a comparable and nondiscriminatory basis unless, as to customer information, the customer objects. The rules shall ensure that each natural gas company 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. The rules also shall require that, upon the request of a governmental aggregator defined in division (K)(1) of section 4929.01 of the Revised Code, solely for purposes of the disclosure required by division (D) of section 4929.26 of the Revised Code, or for purposes of a governmental aggregator defined in division (K)(2) of section 4929.01 of the Revised Code, a natural gas company or retail natural gas supplier must provide the governmental aggregator, in a timely manner and at such cost as the commission shall provide for in the rules, with the billing names and addresses of the customers of the company or supplier whose retail natural gas loads are to be included in the governmental aggregation.

(G) Ohio office. The rules shall require that a retail natural gas supplier maintain an office and an employee in this state.

Cite as R.C. § 4929.22

Effective Date: 06-26-2001

4929.23 Information provided by supplier or aggregator.

(A) A retail natural gas supplier or governmental aggregator subject to certification under section 4929.20 of the Revised Code shall provide the public utilities commission with such information, regarding a competitive retail natural gas service for which it is subject to certification, as the commission considers necessary to carry out sections 4929.20 to 4929.24 of the Revised Code. The commission shall take such measures as it considers necessary to protect the confidentiality of any such information.

(B) The commission shall require each retail natural gas supplier or governmental aggregator subject to certification under section 4929.20 of the Revised Code to file an annual report of such receipts and sales from the provision of those competitive retail natural gas services for which it is subject to certification. For the purpose of the reports, sales of hundred cubic feet of natural gas are deemed to occur at the meter of the retail customer.

Cite as R.C. § 4929.23

Effective Date: 06-26-2001

4929.24 Public utilities commission jurisdiction.

(A)

(1) The public utilities commission has jurisdiction under section 4905.26 of the Revised Code, upon complaint of any person or complaint or initiative of the commission regarding the provision by a retail natural gas supplier subject to certification under section 4929.20 of the Revised Code of any service for which it is subject to certification.

(2) The commission also has jurisdiction under section 4905.26 of the Revised Code, upon complaint of any person or complaint or initiative of the commission to determine whether a retail natural gas supplier subject to certification under section 4929.20 of the Revised Code has violated or failed to comply with any provision of sections 4929.20 to 4929.23 of the Revised Code regarding a competitive retail natural gas service for which it is subject to certification or any rule or order adopted or issued by the commission for purposes of those sections.

(B) In addition to its authority under division (C)(1) of section 4929.20 of the Revised Code and to any other remedies provided by law, the commission, after reasonable notice and opportunity for hearing in accordance with section 4905.26 of the Revised Code, may do any of the following:

(1) Order rescission of a contract, or restitution to customers, in any complaint brought pursuant to division (A)(1) or (2) of this section;

(2) Order any remedy or forfeiture provided under sections 4905.54 to 4905.60 and 4905.64 of the Revised Code upon a finding under division (A)(2) of this section that the retail natural gas supplier subject to certification under section 4929.20 of the Revised Code has violated or failed to comply, regarding a competitive retail natural gas service for which it is subject to certification, with any provision of sections 4929.20 to 4929.23 of the Revised Code or any rule or order adopted or issued under those sections.

(C)

(1) In addition to the authority conferred under section 4911.15 of the Revised Code, the consumers' counsel may file a complaint under division (A)(1) or (2) of this section on behalf of residential consumers in this state or appear before the commission as a representative of those consumers pursuant to any complaint filed under division (A)(1) or (2) of this section.

(2) In addition to the authority conferred under section 4911.19 of the Revised Code, the consumers' counsel, upon reasonable grounds, may file with the commission under section 4905.26 of the Revised Code a complaint for discovery if the recipient of an inquiry under section 4911.19 of the Revised Code fails to provide a response within the time specified in that section.

(D) The commission's jurisdiction with respect to a natural gas company under Chapter 4905. of the Revised Code extends to any violation of division (D) of section 4929.20 or any failure to comply with division (C) of section 4929.29 of the Revised Code.

Cite as R.C. § 4929.24

Effective Date: 06-26-2001

4929.25 Determine total allowable amount of capacity and commodity costs, and costs incidental thereto.

(A) Upon the filing of an application by a natural gas company in such form and pursuant to such procedures as shall be prescribed by rule of the commission under section 4929.10 of the Revised Code for the purpose of this division, the commission shall determine the total allowable amount of capacity and commodity costs, and costs incidental thereto, of the company to be received as revenues under this division. Such amount shall be the just and reasonable costs of the company that the commission by order determines meet all of the following criteria:

(1) The costs were prudently incurred.

(2) The costs are legitimate, net, verifiable, and directly due to capacity and commodity obligations entered into by the natural gas company on behalf of consumers that take commodity sales service from other than the natural gas company.

(3) The costs are otherwise unrecoverable.

(4) The company would otherwise be entitled to an opportunity to recover those costs. The commission shall not authorize such revenue opportunity for a company under this division without first setting the matter for hearing, giving notice of the hearing date to the company, and publishing notice of the hearing one time in a newspaper of general circulation in each county affected by the application. At the hearing, the company shall have the burden of demonstrating allowable costs under this division.

(B) Upon the issuance of an order under division (A) of this section determining any allowable capacity and commodity costs, and costs incidental thereto, of a natural gas company, the company shall file with the commission under section 4905.30 of the Revised Code revised schedules allowing the recovery of such costs as the commission authorized in the order, and containing such necessary and appropriate cost recovery mechanism or mechanisms as the commission prescribes in the order. The commission shall act promptly to approve such revised schedules as it determines comply with the order.

Cite as R.C. § 4929.25

Effective Date: 06-26-2001

4929.26 Local program for automatic aggregation.

(A)

(1) The legislative authority of a municipal corporation may adopt an ordinance, or the board of township trustees of a township or the board of county commissioners of a county may adopt a resolution, under which, in accordance with this section and except as otherwise provided in division (A)(2) of this section, the legislative authority or board may aggregate automatically, subject to the opt-out requirements of division (D) of this section, competitive retail natural gas service for the retail natural gas loads that are located, respectively, within the municipal corporation, township, or unincorporated area of the county and for which there is a choice of supplier of that service as a result of revised schedules approved under division (C) of section 4929.29 of the Revised Code, a rule or order adopted or issued by the commission under Chapter 4905. of the Revised Code, or an exemption granted by the commission under sections 4929.04 to 4929.08 of the Revised Code. An ordinance or a resolution adopted under this section shall expressly state that it is adopted pursuant to the authority conferred by this section. The legislative authority or board also may exercise its authority under this section jointly with any other such legislative authority or board. For the purpose of the aggregation, the legislative authority or board may enter into service agreements to facilitate the sale and purchase of the service for the retail natural gas loads.

(2)

(a) No aggregation under an ordinance or resolution adopted under division (A)(1) of this section shall include the retail natural gas load of any person that meets any of the following criteria:

(i) The person is both a distribution service customer and a mercantile customer on the date of commencement of service to the aggregated load, or the person becomes a distribution service customer after that date and also is a mercantile customer.

(ii) The person is supplied with commodity sales service pursuant to a contract with a retail natural gas supplier that is in effect on the effective date of the ordinance or resolution.

(iii) The person is supplied with commodity sales service as part of a retail natural gas load aggregation provided for pursuant to a rule or order adopted or issued by the commission under this chapter or Chapter 4905. of the Revised Code.

(b) Nothing in division (A)(2)(a) of this section precludes a governmental aggregation under this section from permitting the retail natural gas load of a person described in division (A)(2)(a) of this section from being included in the aggregation upon the expiration of any contract or aggregation as described in division (A)(2)(a)(ii) or (iii) of this section or upon the person no longer being a customer as described in division (A)(2)(a)(i) of this section or qualifying to be included in an aggregation described under division (A)(2)(a)(iii) of this section.

(B) An ordinance or resolution adopted under division (A) of this section shall direct the board of elections to submit the question of the authority to aggregate to the electors of the respective municipal corporation, township, or unincorporated area of a county at a special election on the day of the next primary or general election in the municipal corporation, township, or county. The legislative authority or board shall certify a copy of the ordinance or resolution to the board of elections not less than ninety days before the day of the special election. No ordinance or resolution adopted under division (A) of this section that provides for an election under this division shall take effect unless approved by a majority of the electors voting upon the ordinance or resolution at the election held pursuant to this division.

(C) Upon the applicable requisite authority under divisions (A) and (B) of this section, the legislative authority or board shall develop a plan of operation and governance for the aggregation program so authorized. Before adopting a plan under this division, the legislative authority or board shall hold at least two public hearings on the plan. Before the first hearing, the legislative authority or board shall publish notice of the hearings once a week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the jurisdiction or as provided in section 7.16 of the Revised Code. The notice shall summarize the plan and state the date, time, and location of each hearing.

(D) No legislative authority or board, pursuant to an ordinance or resolution under divisions (A) and (B) of this section, shall aggregate any retail natural gas load located within its jurisdiction unless it in advance clearly discloses to the person whose retail natural gas load is to be so aggregated that the person will be enrolled automatically in the aggregation and will remain so enrolled unless the person affirmatively elects by a stated procedure not to be so enrolled. The disclosure shall state prominently the rates, charges, and other terms and conditions of enrollment. The stated procedure shall allow any person enrolled in the aggregation the opportunity to opt out of the aggregation every two years, without paying a switching fee. Any such person that opts out of the aggregation pursuant to the stated procedure shall default to the natural gas company providing distribution service for the person's retail natural gas load, until the person chooses an alternative supplier.

(E)

(1) With respect to a governmental aggregation for a municipal corporation that is authorized pursuant to divisions (A) to (D) of this section, resolutions may be proposed by initiative or referendum petitions in accordance with sections 731.28 to 731.41 of the Revised Code.

(2) With respect to a governmental aggregation for a township or the unincorporated area of a county, which aggregation is authorized pursuant to divisions (A) to (D) of this section, resolutions may be proposed by initiative or referendum petitions in accordance with sections 731.28 to 731.40 of the Revised Code, except that:

(a) The petitions shall be filed, respectively, with the township fiscal officer or the board of county commissioners, who shall perform those duties imposed under those sections upon the city auditor or village clerk.

(b) The petitions shall contain the signatures of not less than ten per cent of the total number of electors in the township or the unincorporated area of the county, respectively, who voted for the office of governor at the preceding general election for that office in that area.

(F) A governmental aggregator under division (A) of this section is not a public utility engaging in the wholesale purchase and resale of natural gas, and provision of the aggregated service is not a wholesale utility transaction. A governmental aggregator shall be subject to supervision and regulation by the public utilities commission only to the extent of any competitive retail natural gas service it provides and commission authority under this chapter.

Cite as R.C. § 4929.26

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.28, HB 153, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2011.

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.29, HB 48, §1, eff. 7/2/2010.

Effective Date: 06-26-2001; 12-20-2005

4929.27 Aggregation with prior consent.

(A)

(1) The legislative authority of a municipal corporation may adopt an ordinance, or the board of township trustees of a township or the board of county commissioners of a county may adopt a resolution, under which, in accordance with this section and except as otherwise provided in division (A)(2) of this section, the legislative authority or board may aggregate, with the prior consent of each person whose retail natural gas load is proposed to be aggregated, competitive retail natural gas service for any such retail natural gas load that is located, respectively, within the municipal corporation, township, or unincorporated area of the county and for which there is a choice of supplier of that service as a result of revised schedules approved under division (C) of section 4929.29 of the Revised Code, a rule or order adopted or issued by the commission under Chapter 4905. of the Revised Code, or an exemption granted by the commission under sections 4929.04 to 4929.08 of the Revised Code. An ordinance or a resolution adopted under this section shall expressly state that it is adopted pursuant to the authority conferred by this section. The legislative authority or board also may exercise such authority jointly with any other such legislative authority or board. For the purpose of the aggregation, the legislative authority or board may enter into service agreements to facilitate the sale and purchase of the service for the retail natural gas loads.

(2)

(a) No aggregation under an ordinance or resolution adopted under division (A)(1) of this section shall include the retail natural gas load of any person that meets either of the following criteria:

(i) The person is supplied with commodity sales service pursuant to a contract with a retail natural gas supplier that is in effect on the effective date of the ordinance or resolution.

(ii) The person is supplied with commodity sales service as part of a retail natural gas load aggregation provided for pursuant to a rule or order adopted or issued by the commission under this chapter or Chapter 4905. of the Revised Code.

(b) Nothing in division (A)(2)(a) of this section precludes a governmental aggregation under this section from permitting the retail natural gas load of a person described in division (A)(2)(a) of this section from being included in the aggregation upon the expiration of any contract or aggregation as described in division (A)(2)(a)(i) or (ii) of this section or upon the person no longer qualifying to be included in an aggregation.

(B) Upon the applicable requisite authority under division (A) of this section, the legislative authority or board shall develop a plan of operation and governance for the aggregation program so authorized. Before adopting a plan under this division, the legislative authority or board shall hold at least two public hearings on the plan. Before the first hearing, the legislative authority or board shall publish notice of the hearings once a week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the jurisdiction or as provided in section 7.16 of the Revised Code. The notice shall summarize the plan and state the date, time, and location of each hearing.

(C)

(1) With respect to a governmental aggregation for a municipal corporation that is authorized pursuant to division (A) of this section, resolutions may be proposed by initiative or referendum petitions in accordance with sections 731.28 to 731.41 of the Revised Code.

(2) With respect to a governmental aggregation for a township or the unincorporated area of a county, which aggregation is authorized pursuant to division (A) of this section, resolutions may be proposed by initiative or referendum petitions in accordance with sections 731.28 to 731.40 of the Revised Code, except that:

(a) The petitions shall be filed, respectively, with the township fiscal officer or the board of county commissioners, who shall perform those duties imposed under those sections upon the city auditor or village clerk.

(b) The petitions shall contain the signatures of not less than ten per cent of the total number of electors in the township or the unincorporated area of the county, respectively, who voted for the office of governor at the preceding general election for that office in that area.

(D) A governmental aggregator under division (A) of this section is not a public utility engaging in the wholesale purchase and resale of natural gas, and provision of the aggregated service is not a wholesale utility transaction. A governmental aggregator shall be subject to supervision and regulation by the public utilities commission only to the extent of any competitive retail natural gas service it provides and commission authority under this chapter.

Cite as R.C. § 4929.27

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.28, HB 153, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2011.

Effective Date: 06-26-2001; 12-20-2005

4929.28 Resolving issues regarding aggregation.

Any governmental aggregator as defined in division (K)(1) or (2) of section 4929.01 of the Revised Code or retail natural gas supplier shall act in good faith with a natural gas company to resolve any issues regarding an aggregation prior to the date of commencement of service to the aggregated load. In the event agreement cannot be reached, either party may petition the public utilities commission to resolve the issues.

Cite as R.C. § 4929.28

Effective Date: 06-26-2001

4929.29 Order for distribution of service on comparable and nondiscriminatory basis to nonmercantile consumers.

(A)

(1) The legislative authority of a municipal corporation described in division (K)(1) of section 4929.01 of the Revised Code, the board of township trustees of a township, or the board of county commissioners of a county may petition the public utilities commission to require a natural gas company with fifteen thousand or more customers in this state to provide, upon the effective date of an ordinance or resolution authorized and adopted under section 4929.26 or 4929.27 of the Revised Code, distribution service on a fully open, equal, and nondiscriminatory basis to consumers that are not mercantile customers and are within the area of the governmental aggregation and to which the company provides distribution service through distribution facilities it singly or jointly owns or operates.

(2) The legislative authority of a municipal corporation described in division (K)(2) of section 4929.01 of the Revised Code may petition the commission to require a natural gas company with fifteen thousand or more customers in this state to provide, upon the effective date of an ordinance adopted under Section 5 of Article XVIII, Ohio Constitution, distribution service on a fully open, equal, and nondiscriminatory basis to consumers that are within the area of the governmental aggregation and to which the company provides distribution service through distribution facilities it singly or jointly owns or operates.

(3) A retail natural gas supplier may petition the commission to require a natural gas company with fifteen thousand or more customers in this state to so provide such fully open, equal, and nondiscriminatory service to all consumers that are not mercantile customers and to which the company provides distribution service through distribution facilities it singly or jointly owns or operates.

(B) Upon petition under division (A)(1), (2), or (3) of this section, the commission, after notice and opportunity for hearing and by order, may require that the natural gas company provide the service within the area specified in the petition, provided that the commission finds that the provision of the service within the area is in the public interest. The applicant shall have the burden of proof under this division. Chapter 4903. of the Revised Code shall apply to a proceeding under this division.

(C) Upon the issuance of an order under division (B) of this section requiring distribution service on a comparable and nondiscriminatory basis within the area specified in the order, the natural gas company shall file with the commission under section 4905.30 of the Revised Code revised schedules under which the company shall provide the service so ordered. The commission shall act promptly to approve the schedules.

Cite as R.C. § 4929.29

Effective Date: 06-26-2001

4929.30 Prior arrangements, contracts and aggregation programs.

(A) Nothing in sections 4929.20 to 4929.29 of the Revised Code affects any arrangement or other contract to supply or arrange for the supply of commodity sales service or ancillary service to a consumer in this state, which arrangement or contract was entered into prior to the effective date of initial rules adopted pursuant to division (A) of section 4929.20 of the Revised Code, and was authorized as a result of a rule or order adopted or issued by the public utilities commission under Chapter 4905. of the Revised Code; and nothing in sections 4929.20 to 4929.29 of the Revised Code affects any rights or duties of any person under such an arrangement or contract for the term of the arrangement or contract.

(B) Nothing in sections 4929.20 to 4929.29 of the Revised Code applies to a community aggregation program that is designed and operated to avoid gaps in the cumulative coverage of the aggregation and under which more than fifty per cent of a natural gas company's customers were enrolled in the program as of January 1, 2001. A municipal corporation served under such a program by the facilities of a natural gas company may continue to provide competitive retail natural gas service to customers in the aggregation, including school districts and customers outside the boundaries of the municipal corporation.

Cite as R.C. § 4929.30

Effective Date: 06-26-2001