OPAE has been working closely with the utilities and the PUCO to provide guidance on Ohio’s Utility COVID-19 Transition Plans. We made a series of recommendations that included:
- Disconnection Notices should begin again on 9/1/2020 with disconnections resuming on 11/1/2020 after the Winter Reconnect order is issued
- Late payment fees for future recovery should be deferred with no charge to customers; Require disconnect/reconnect fees to be rolled into arrearage; Eliminate disconnection fees for AMI; Waive deposits
- Payment Plan terms should be 24-months based on the customer’s ability to pay
- In terms of PIPP which helps vulnerable Ohioans make payments based on income: 1) eliminate anniversary date (requires customers to make up all missed PIPP payments to remain on program); 2) begin eligibility redetermination 10/1/20 for customers not using the Summer Crisis Program
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has issued clear orders regarding participation in the Percentage Income Payment Plan Plus (PIPP). These apply to all regulated natural gas companies. The PUCO has also taken action to reconnect customers of Vectren and Suburban who were disconnected for failure to meet anniversary date or re-verification requirements. Suburban was threatened with fines of $10,000 per day. The PUCO’s ruling is as follows:
- Anniversary & re-verification dates remains suspended until Commission orders otherwise. The Commission has asked Duke for a plan to reinstate the requirements that is due by September 7, 2020.
- Missed payments from 3/12 — 8/2/20 are to be enrolled into arrears.
- Requirement to accept weatherization applies only once health emergency over.
- Must reconnect PIPP customers removed from the program between March and July.