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Utilitiy Search by Address - Glossary

Below are definitions for utility-related terms found on the Find Utility Information by Street Address page.

Local Electric Company

The company that delivers electricity to your home or business.

Electric Company Type

Local electric companies in Ohio are either investor-owned utilities or electric cooperatives.  Investor-owned utilities are shareholder-owned business organizations.  Electric cooperatives are member-owned non-profit organizations.  The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) regulates the rates charged by investor-owned utilities, and assures their compliance with service, safety, and reliability standards.

Electric Supplier Choice

Electric choice is a program that allows some customers served by investor-owned utilities to choose the company providing their electric power.  The purpose of the choice program is to foster competition in the electric generation market, which has the potential to lower rates for consumers.  The electric choice program gives customers options regarding the supplier of the electricity they use.  If you choose a new electric supplier, your local electric utility will continue to deliver the electricity to your home, and you should continue to call your local electric utility if your power goes out.  The Public Utility Commission of Ohio publishes its Apples-to-Apples charts to make residential consumers aware of the electric supplier options available to them.  Residential customers served by electric cooperatives or municipal electric utilities are not eligible for electric choice.

Municipal Electric Utility

Municipal electric utilities are municipal corporations, such as cities and villages, that maintain their own electric distribution system.  The services provided by municipal electric utilities vary, but could include street lighting, the provision of power to government buildings, and residential electric service.   The Ohio Constitution specifically grants municipal corporations the right to operate utilities in Section 4 of Article XVIII.  Municipalities may not always provide electric service to their entire incorporated area.   Contact the municipality for details regarding their service territory.


Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier

The Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier (ILEC) is the traditional telephone company operating in a given area.  Prior to the existence of Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (CLECs), ILECs were the only option available to consumers wanting a landline telephone.  CLECs now offer customers a choice of landline service providers in many areas of Ohio.   Under current law, ILECs have a responsibility to provide Basic Local Exchange Service (BLES) to all persons and entities requesting it in their service area.  BLES is the provision of a standard telephone landline and related services, such as 9-1-1 access and directory assistance.

Telephone Exchange Area

A telephone exchange area is a geographic region used to establish rates for telephone service.  The boundary of an exchange area is based on geography and regulation, not necessarily telecommunication equipment.  Exchange areas distinguish local from long-distance calls.  All calls originating and terminating within an exchange are local, while calls from one exchange to another may incur an additional toll charge.

Natural Gas Distribution Companies

A natural gas distribution company is an investor-owned utility that owns and operates distribution pipelines and delivers natural gas to consumers.

Regulated Water and Wastewater Companies

The Public Utility Commission of Ohio (PUCO) regulates investor-owned water and wastewater companies throughout the state  If your water and wastewater provider is a municipality, county, cooperative, or water and/or sewer district, the PUCO does not regulate it.