What's new for the 2012 reporting period?
A. For 2012 reports (which are due April 30, 2013 - see the Commission’s entry in Case No. 13-01-AU-RPT issued February 27, 2013), we are simplifying the filing process by using a uniform core report and affidavit across all industry segments. Also, we have eliminated the steps from last year that required you to file the report in a case docket. In addition, the system will now also automatically send a copy of your report to the Ohio Consumers Counsel.
If you are unable to file on-line and need a paper form, or want to be served by paper copy via regular mail, please file a Request for Paper Service form in Case No. 13-01-AU-RPT
Q. When are annual reports due?
A.At the beginning of each year, the Commission issues an entry in the first case for the new year (13-01-AU-RPT, etc.), setting the due date for the filing of annual reports as April 30, or the first business day thereafter if the 30th falls on a weekend. For all reporting enities, other than the transportation segments, a copy of your report must also be sent to the Ohio Consumers' Counsel (OCC); the on-line system automatically. The PUCO, and if applicable the OCC, will determine the appropriate assessment amounts and send a bill to the fiscal contact identified in your report by October 1st. Payment is due by November 1st.
Q. What if I need an extension?
A. An automatic 30-day extension will be granted to any reporting company filing an extension request form in the appropriate case for year in which the Commission issued its entry (13-01, etc.).
Q. How do I get a username and password so we can file our Annual Report? Is there just one for our Company or does each individual need one? Can you send me my company’s user name and password?
A. No. Usernames and passwords are created by the user based on an unique email address. There is no limit on the number of users one company can have, but only the most recent user to request access will be able to edit and file the annual report. (See page 2-6 of the Step-by-Step Instructions.) If you think your address has already been used to create an account, simply click on the “Forgot Password” link, and enter your email address. If the system has your email address on file, it will reset your password and send you a message with your username and new password. Otherwise, click on the “Create Account” link and create your own username (which is not case sensitive) and password (which is case sensitive). Your password must be at least 8 characters, and contain at least three of the following:
Q. We have a username and password that was set up by a former employee. How can we keep using this, but change the email address so we get all the confirmation messages?
A. You can either create a new PUCO account (using a different username) or you can keep the same username and just change the email address and password settings. For this second option, you must first log in, then go to:
Q. I am trying to submit our annual report but the system will not allow us to login. What's wrong?
A. If you are using a new computer running Microsoft Windows 8 (aka “Metro) operating system with Internet Explorer 8, you may need to change the compatibility setting by clicking on the icon that looks like a torn piece of paper on the menu bar at the top right corner of the screen. The icon will turn blue and should let you go to the PUCO Log In screen. See the Step-by-Step Instructions for a screen shot.
Q. How long will it take for my access to be approved so I can submit our annual report?
A. If you have successfully submitted a request for access to file on behalf of your company (see pages 3-6 of the instructions) you should see a confirmation message stating that you will receive an email when your request has been approved. Please note that there may be a delay of up to a minute for the system to process your request, which includes sending a notice via email to the PUCO Docketing Division Staff. If you do not you get a confirmation screen message, please contact the annual reports mailbox or call (614) 466-4095 during business hours (8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. EST). Currently, all access requests require manual approval by PUCO Staff, who monitor these notices and attempt to respond within 60 minutes or less, during business hours. When your request is approved, you will receive an email automatically.
Q. I am trying to upload my affidavit in Step 5. Each time I select the file and click upload, it goes away and will not upload. I have tried a jpg, tiff and png. Am I missing something?
A. Try changing the file name to something short and without any special characters. In some instances, your operating system may allow extremely long file names and/or the use of special characters that are not permitted for web-based applications. Our system is also having trouble with TIF images that were created by certain programs. We are working on a fix, but in the meantime, if the affidavit was in TIF format, please try saving it as a JPG and uploading that file format.
Q. The second page of our notarized Affidavit (the California Jurat portion) does not show in the PDF file of the core annual report even though this second page was included when the affidavit was uploaded. How do we fix this?
A. The system will be modified to allow the affidavit to be uploaded as a multi-page PDF file. Until this modification can be implemented, we will manually convert the multi-page image to PDF and insert it into the report. To help us identify those reports with this issue, please send a copy of the affidavit image file and the incomplete report to our annual reports mailbox.
Q. Do we need to file a hard copy (as Ohio Revised Code (RC) Section 4905.14(A)(1) seems to require) or is filing exclusively through the new electronic system sufficient?
A. Please do not send a hard copy. RC1306.06 provides that an electronic record can be used to satisfy legal requirements, so no paper copy is necessary.
Q. Does my company have to file an annual report with the PUCO?
A. Each jurisdictional regulated entity that was granted a PUCO certificate before or during the reporting year must file a separate annual report for each PUCO certificate number it holds, regardless of whether it conducted operations or generated revenue in Ohio during the reporting year. You do NOT have to file a report for any certificate that became effective after the reporting period.
Regulated entities DO NOT include any owners, operators, or facilities that are certified as Ohio Renewable Energy Resource Generating Facilities (REN), pursuant to RC4928.64 and RC4928.65. Regulated entities DO include all of the following:
Q. Do registered gas or electricity brokers need to file? If so where are the forms that I need to fill out?”
A. As a general rule, if a company holds a PUCO certificate, it will also need to file an annual report. [Note: This does NOT apply to facilities that are certified as Ohio Renewable Energy Resource Generating Facilities (aka REN certificates).] Each jurisdictional regulated entity that was granted a PUCO certificate before or during the reporting year must file a separate annual report for each PUCO certificate number it holds, regardless of whether it conducted operations or generated revenue in Ohio during the reporting year. This includes a registered electricity broker that is a Certified Retail Electric Service (CRES) Providers and/or Governmental Aggregator under RC 4928.06 unless the certificate that became effective after the reporting period. The forms that you will need to fill out are now on-line. See the Step-by-Step Instructions for further details.
Q. As a privately held company we do not normally produce an annual report. What information can we submit instead?
A. RC 4928.06, requires every Certified Retail Electric Service (CRES) provider and governmental aggregator subject to certification under RC 4928.08, to file an annual report of sales and receipts for those services for which it is subject to certification. RC 4929.23 requires every Certified Retail Natural Gas (CRNG) supplier and governmental aggregator under RC 4929.20, to file an annual report of sales and receipts for those services for which it is subject to certification. RC 4905.10(D) provides that, for the purpose of annual assessment, “public utility” includes not only electric utilities as defined in RC 4928.01, and natural gas companies as defined in RC 4929.01, but also CRES and CRNG suppliers subject to certification under RC 4928.08 and RC 4929.20, respectively.
In short, if your company holds a certificate or authority (other than for a renewable energy facility) from the PUCO, your company must file an annual report (and pay a minimum assessment) even if it is a privately held company, and even if you had no Ohio intrastate sales or receipts. Please note that you must file a separate report for each certificate or authority held.
The good news is that, for certified gas and electric service providers and governmental aggregators, the information is limited to contact information for the company and third-party filers (if applicable). Required financial data is limited to a simple report of Ohio intrastate sales and receipts for those services for which it is subject to certification.
Q. Is it possible to file these reports under a Motion for Protective Order so they are kept confidential?
A. No. All annual reports are public records subject to disclosure in accordance with RC 149.43. For further discussion of this issue, see the Commission’s December 19, 2012 Finding and Order denying the motions of T-Mobile, and AT&T and Verizon for protective orders in Case No. 12-05-TP-RPT.
Q. What if we did not conduct operations or have any Ohio gross earnings during the reporting year?
A. Your company must still file an annual report and pay a minimum assessment unless you have filed the appropriate pleadings to abandon your certificated authority or notify us that your certificate should be revoked.
Your company will also be subject to two $100 minimum annual assessments, pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Section 4905.10(A), payable to the PUCO and, except for railroads, bridges or ferries, the Ohio Consumers Counsel (OCC). However, the $100 minimum annual assessment only applies once to each regulated entity. For example, if your company holds both a CRES and CRNG certificate, the $100 minimum will be split and assessed at $50 per certificate, by both the PUCO and OCC.
Q. Are sales to non-profit entities, such as a church or charity, included in Ohio Intrastate gross sales and revenue calculations.
A. Yes. There is no statutory basis for excluding such sales or revenues.
Q. Is a municipality providing electric (or gas) service required to file an annual report with the PUCO? What about a governmental cooperative? What if a municipality has an electric and/or gas aggregation program for its community?
A. RC 4905.02 exempts public utilities that are owned or operated by a municipal corporation (as well certain non-profit and cooperative entities) from the definition of “public utility” and, therefore, these service providers do not file annual reports with the PUCO. However, some municipalities have gas and/or electric aggregation programs which are required to be certified by the PUCO and an annual report must be filed for each certificate. Generally, these annual reports are filed by a third-party supplier or aggregator on behalf of the municipality, township, or village, but should be signed by an official duly authorized to act on behalf of the municipality, township, or village. Please note that as the holder of a PUCO certificate, the municipality, township, or village is also subject to the $100 minimum assessment under RC 4905.10(A), as well as an assessment from the OCC, although this assessment may also be paid by the third-party supplier or aggregator on behalf of the municipality, township, or village.
Q. Do I have to file a separate report for gas and electricity or is it the same report?
A. Your company must file an annual report for each certificate or authority (other than for a renewable energy facility) that you held from the PUCO during the reporting period (although the reports may look virtually identical), unless you want your certificate revoked. Please note that your company will also be subject to a $100 minimum assessment, pursuant to RC4905.10(A), but this assessment only applies once to each regulated entity. If your company is certified as both a gas and electric supplier, the $100 minimum will be split and assessed at $50 per certificate.
Q. Can a third-party company or person authorized to prepare and file an annual report for a regulated entity also sign the affidavit on the verification page on behalf of the filing regulated entity? In previous years, the president of the company has signed the verification affidavit. Do I need to have the president sign, or would a vice president’s signature be sufficient?
A. Each filing company should determine the person(s) authorized to file on behalf of the company, and take appropriate measures to ensure the information reported is accurate. The Affidavit for all Annual Reports is required to be completed, scanned, and uploaded as part of the on-line filing process for all industry segments. The affidavit must be signed by a company officer authorized to file the report, and duly notarized. The form allows the officer to designate an employee, accountant or third-party contractor, to make the filing on behalf of the filing company. (See the sample affidavit, showing a company president signing a report that will be filed by a third-party accountant.) Please note that only the company officer's signature needs to be notarized. The employee, accountant or third-party contractor can complete the bottom section (if applicable) after the officer's signature is notarized.
Q. Do I need to be a lawyer to file a report? What about a response to a show cause order?
A. You do not need an attorney to file your annual report because you are essentially reporting historical data, as opposed to filing motions or pleadings that make legal or policy arguments. A lawyer is also not required to file a factual response to a show cause order (which is the next step in the event you don’t file your report or pay your assessment) if your response is of a factual nature (our records are not correct, you forgot but have now filed, etc.). If, however, the Commission issues an order revoking your certificate for failure to file the report or pay the assessment, your only recourse is to file an application for rehearing, pursuant to RC4903.10, within 30 days of the issuance of the order. OAC4901-1-08(A), requires that any party not appearing in propria persona shall be represented by an attorney-at-law authorized to practice before the courts in Ohio, and that corporations must be represented by an attorney-at-law. In Finding 12 of its January 30, 2013 order in Case No. 12-03-GE-RPT, the Commission held that the filing of an application for rehearing constitutes the practice of law in Ohio, and consequently, applications for rehearing filed by non-lawyers on behalf of corporations could not be considered.
Q. I have clicked on the submit button. How can I be sure it got filed? What happens next?
A. You should receive an email that notifies you that your report has been submitted and attaches a copy of the report. A copy is also sent to the Ohio Consumers' Counsel (OCC). This email confirmation will not include any supplemental schedules due to file size limitations. If all looks good, your report will be manually posted in the permanent archive of annual reports for public access. Supplemental schedules will also be posted manually, and may require additional time. You will be notified by email when posting is completed. The PUCO and, if applicable, the OCC will determine the appropriate assessment amounts and send a bill to the fiscal contact identified in your report by October 1st. Payment is due by November 1st.
Q. Where are the forms for gas pipeline safety reports?
A. The Gas Pipeline Safety report forms (which are also sometimes referred to as "annual reports") are posted with instructions on the PUCO Forms page at: http://www.puco.ohio.gov/puco/index.cfm/puco-forms/gas-pipeline-safety-forms-and-advisory-bulletins/. Instructions for filing the PUCO annual intrastate revenue report (for fiscal assessment purposes, which is due April 30) for natural gas gas pipeline companies can be found at the Annual Reports Page.
Q. What if I have more questions?
A. See the Annual Report Filing Instructions for detailed step-by-step filing instructions, send a message to our annual reports mailbox, or contact the PUCO Docketing Division at (614) 466-4095 for assistance.