For Immediate Release
Contact:  Matt Schilling
614 | 466 7750

PUCO offers guide to establishing utility services for the New Year  

COLUMBUS, OHIO (Jan. 2, 2014) – As 2014 begins, many Ohioans may find themselves moving into a new home or apartment. This can be an exciting but hectic time. To help make that transition a smooth one, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) offers some helpful information in establishing utility services like electric, natural gas, telephone and water service.

The PUCO regulates investor-owned utilities. Your utility service may be supplied by a municipality, county, water/sewer district, cooperative or for-profit company that may have different requirements for establishing service, so be sure to call in advance to ensure that your utility service will be established when you are ready to move to your new residence.

Establishing service – plan ahead

Before you move into your new residence, call your local utility companies to set up an appointment to establish your service. Each utility including electric, natural gas, telephone and water may have different inspection and installation procedures that need to be completed before your service can begin. Since it may take several days to schedule an installation appointment and for any construction to be completed, it is recommended that you call in advance to ensure that your residence will be equipped with utility service when you are ready for the service to begin.

Most utility companies allow customers to sign up for service by phone or online. Keep in mind that you may need to provide the company with information such as your name, driver’s license number, service address, mailing address, phone number and employment information.

When you move, remember to call your existing utility companies to terminate service at your present address. Many times, electric and natural gas companies will use an estimate based on your previous usage to determine the final bill. To ensure an accurate final bill, you can request a final meter reading. Another option is to read the meter yourself and call in the reading to the utility company. You should contact your utility company or access their website for more information about how to read your meter.

Installing service

The PUCO has established time frames in which utility companies are required to install your service.

Generally, utility companies must provide you with a commitment of when they will have your service installed at the time you sign up to establish service.

Establishing credit

When you sign up for utility service with a new company, you will be required to establish credit, which can be done in several ways. If you own your property, have a good credit rating or have had a similar type of utility service in the past 24 months, you may automatically qualify for credit with the company. If you do not meet one of these criteria, you will be able to establish credit by paying a security deposit or furnishing a creditworthy guarantor.

If you pay a security deposit, the company will review your payment history after 12 months to determine if you are eligible for a refund of your deposit, plus interest. Check with your utility company about the options for establishing credit.

Choice programs

Choice programs are available for customers of several electric and natural gas utilities in Ohio. These customers are able to choose their electric or natural gas supplier, while distribution continues to be provided by the local utility. You can refer to the PUCO Apples to Apples comparison charts to see if electric or natural gas choice is available in your area. However, you will still need to establish service with your local utility before you can choose an alternative supplier.

Consumer complaints

Your utility companies should be able to establish your service in a timely manner. If the company does not meet its service commitments, you should first call your utility company to file a complaint and work with a company representative to resolve the issue. If you are unsatisfied with the way your complaint was handled, you can contact the PUCO at 1-800-686-PUCO (7826) or at PUCO.ohio.gov to file an informal complaint against the company.

If you have problems with service such as a power outage, gas leak or water leak, contact your local utility company. You can also contact the PUCO if the problem is not resolved to your satisfaction.

Utility assistance programs

A number of low-income assistance programs are available to help qualifying Ohioans pay for monthly electric, natural gas and telephone bills. For more information on program options, benefits and eligibility requirements, contact the PUCO at 1-800-686-PUCO (7826) or PUCO.ohio.gov or your local utility.

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The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) is the sole agency charged with regulating public utility service. The role of the PUCO is to assure all residential, business, and industrial consumers have access to adequate, safe, and reliable utility services at fair prices while facilitating an environment that provides competitive choices. Consumers with utility-related questions or concerns can call the PUCO Call Center at (800) 686-PUCO (7826) and speak with a representative.

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