PUCO approves Ohio Rural Natural Gas asset transfer
COLUMBUS, OHIO (Oct. 4, 2017) – The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) today approved the transfer of assets formerly owned and operated by Ohio Rural Natural Gas Co-op (ORNG) to Utility Pipeline, Ltd. (UPL). Current ORNG/Ludlow customers will receive natural gas service from and become members of Knox Energy Cooperative Association.
“Today the Commission completes its work to ensure that customers of the former Ohio Rural Natural Gas Co-op continue to receive safe, reliable natural gas service,” stated PUCO Chairman Asim Z. Haque. “Customers should feel confident their natural gas service is in experienced hands with Knox Energy.”
In today’s finding and order, the Commission directed UPL and Knox Energy to notify effected customers within 30 days, explaining the transaction and the terms under which Knox Energy will provide natural gas service. The Commission also ordered the companies to file notice with the PUCO within three days of the transaction’s closing.
The asset transfer comes at the end of a months-long investigation in which the Commission ordered ORNG to cease operations following repeated safety violations.
On Jan. 18, 2017, the Commission directed ORNG to cease operations. A PUCO investigation revealed that ORNG’s facilities were operated in a manner that may be hazardous to life and property, and that ORNG lacked knowledge, expertise and qualified management to safely operate a natural gas pipeline system.
On April 17, 2017, the Commission adopted an agreement, filed by ORNG, Ludlow Natural Gas Company (Ludlow), and PUCO staff, which stated that Ludlow would own and operate ORNG’s system until the assets could be sold or transferred to an unaffiliated third party, and that Ludlow would retain gas pipeline safety experts in order to safely provide utility service to ORNG/Ludlow’s customers pending the completion of a transfer of assets.
On Aug. 15, 2017, Ludlow, UPL, and Knox Energy jointly filed an application to transfer the assets from Ludlow to UPL, and to assign the customers to be served by Knox Energy.
A copy of today’s finding and order is available on the PUCO website at www.PUCO.ohio.gov. Click on the link to the Docketing Information System and enter case 17-1785-GA-ATR in the search field.
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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