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Section 4935.03 | Rules for energy emergencies.

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(A) The public utilities commission shall adopt, and may amend or rescind, rules in accordance with section 111.15 of the Revised Code, with the approval of the governor, defining various foreseen types and levels of energy emergency conditions for critical shortages or interruptions in the supply of electric power, natural gas, coal, or individual petroleum fuels and specifying appropriate measures to be taken at each level or for each type of energy emergency as necessary to protect the public health or safety or prevent unnecessary or avoidable damage to property. The rules may prescribe different measures for each different type or level of declared energy emergency, and for any type or level shall empower the governor to:

(1) Restrict the energy consumption of state and local government offices and industrial and commercial establishments;

(2) Restrict or curtail public or private transportation or require or encourage the use of car pools or mass transit systems;

(3) Order, during a declared energy emergency, any electric light, natural gas or gas, or pipeline company; any supplier subject to certification under section 4928.08 or 4929.20 of the Revised Code; electric power or gas utility that is owned by a municipal corporation or not for profit; coal producer or supplier; electric power producer or marketer; or petroleum fuel producer, refiner, wholesale distributor, or retail dealer to sell electricity, gas, coal, or petroleum fuel in order to alleviate hardship, or if possible to acquire or produce emergency supplies to meet emergency needs;

(4) Order, during a declared energy emergency, other energy conservation or emergency energy production or distribution measures to be taken in order to alleviate hardship;

(5) Mobilize emergency management, national guard, law enforcement, or emergency medical services.

The rules shall be designed to protect the public health and safety and prevent unnecessary or avoidable damage to property. They shall encourage the equitable distribution of available electric power and fuel supplies among all geographic regions in the state.

(B) The governor may, after consultation with the chairperson of the commission, declare an energy emergency by filing with the secretary of state a written declaration of an energy emergency at any time the governor finds that the health, safety, or welfare of the residents of this state or of one or more counties of this state is so imminently and substantially threatened by an energy shortage that immediate action of state government is necessary to prevent loss of life, protect the public health or safety, and prevent unnecessary or avoidable damage to property. The declaration shall state the counties, utility service areas, or fuel market areas affected, or its statewide effect, and what fuels or forms of energy are in critically short supply. An energy emergency goes into immediate effect upon filing and continues in effect for the period prescribed in the declaration, but not more than thirty days. At the end of any thirty-day or shorter energy emergency, the governor may issue another declaration extending the emergency. The general assembly may by concurrent resolution terminate any declaration of an energy emergency. The emergency is terminated at the time of filing of the concurrent resolution with the secretary of state. When an energy emergency is declared, the commission shall implement the measures which it determines are appropriate for the type and level of emergency in effect.

(C) Energy emergency orders issued by the governor pursuant to this section shall take effect immediately upon issuance, and the person to whom the order is directed shall initiate compliance measures immediately upon receiving the order. During an energy emergency the attorney general or the prosecuting attorney of the county where violation of a rule adopted or order issued under this section occurs may bring an action for immediate injunction or other appropriate relief to secure prompt compliance. The court may issue an ex parte temporary order without notice which shall enforce the prohibitions, restrictions, or actions that are necessary to secure compliance with the rule or order. Compliance with rules or orders issued under this section is a matter of statewide concern.

(D) During a declared energy emergency the governor may use the services, equipment, supplies, and facilities of existing departments, offices, and agencies of the state and of the political subdivisions thereof to the maximum extent practicable and necessary to meet the energy emergency, and the officers and personnel of all such departments, offices, and agencies shall cooperate with and extend such services and facilities to the governor upon request.

(E) During an energy emergency declared under this section, no person shall violate any rule adopted or order issued under this section. Whoever violates this division is guilty of a minor misdemeanor on a first offense, and a misdemeanor of the first degree upon subsequent offenses or if the violation was purposely committed.

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