Newsletter - July 2018
A Day at the PUCO
300+ photos, 13 interviews and one full day at the PUCO. See how it all went down for the June cover story in Public Utilities Fortnightly:
PUCO Chair Asim Haque gives an update on PowerForward
Recently, Chairman Haque had the opportunity to preview the progress of the PUCO's PowerForward initiative at the Smart Electric Power Alliance's 2018 Grid Evolution Summit.
After three phases and over 125 speakers, he expects a final document detailing the future of grid modernization to be available this fall. Read the full article here via UtilityDive.
New area code overlay
The PUCO recently approved a plan to overlay a new area code over the existing 937 area code. The 937 area code is expected to run out of available phone numbers in the third quarter of 2020. All current 937 area code subscribers will continue to maintain their current number.
“While we are still years away from the projected exhaust date, it’s important for the telecom industry to begin planning now so that the roll out of a new area code can go as smoothly and seamlessly as possible, just like previous area code additions,” stated PUCO Chairman Asim Z. Haque.
Upon implementation of the overlay, all new phone subscribers will be assigned the new 326 area code. Additionally, all local calls will require dialing the full 10-digit phone number in order to complete local calls.
According to the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA), the 937 area code is projected to run out of available phone numbers in the third quarter of 2020. Following this approval of an overlay plan, the NANPA will assign the new 326 code to co-exist with the existing geographical boundaries of the 937 area code.
Additional information regarding area code exhaust can be found on the PUCO website here.
A copy of the Commission finding and order is available here under the case number 17-2329-TP-COI.
Icebreaker staff report
The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) has issued its staff report on the Icebreaker Wind Facility in Cuyahoga County. The report, which comes after an OPSB staff investigation, recommends the approval of construction of the facility with 34 conditions. The report is only a recommendation, and the final decision regarding the proposed facility remains pending before the Board. Read the full report here.
A local public hearing was held July 19 at 6 pm at Cleveland City Council Chambers; comments can still be filed here.
The project would consist of a six turbine wind-powered electric generation facility in Lake Erie, approximately eight to ten miles off the shore of Cleveland. The turbine model proposed has a nameplate capacity of 3.45 megawatts (MW). The project would also include an 11.8-mile long submerged electric line to transmit power to Cleveland Public Power's onshore Lake Road substation.
The PUCO issued a call for comments regarding AT&T Ohio’s application to discontinue its participation in the federal Lifeline program throughout the majority of its service territory. Comments are due Aug. 31, 2018.
Lifeline is a federally funded program that provides monthly discounts to eligible consumers of landline, wireless or broadband services. Customers enrolled in their service provider’s Lifeline program receive a $9.25 monthly bill credit.
On Sept. 7, 2017, AT&T Ohio filed a petition with the PUCO to end its designation as an eligible telecommunications carrier. The designation provides AT&T access to federal Universal Service Fund support to provide discounts to its Ohio customers. If approved by the Commission, AT&T Ohio would no longer provide Lifeline discounts to its customers. In order to continue to receive Lifeline discounts, AT&T Ohio customers would need to enroll with a different provider. AT&T Ohio identified 10,482 customers that may be affected by the change.
A list of providers offering Lifeline discounts is available online at lifelinesupport.org.
The Commission notes, however, that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has a pending proposal to discontinue Lifeline support for non-facilities based wireless providers. If approved by the FCC, this proposal may reduce the number of alternative Lifeline providers. The PUCO has previously advocated that the FCC not adopt this proposal.
AT&T Ohio is directed to publish notice in local newspapers throughout its service territory.
PUCO staff, along with 11 other parties, filed a stipulation in the Dayton Power and Light (DP&L) distribution rate case. The stipulation serves as a settlement agreement between the signing parties, and acts as a recommendation to the PUCO commissioners, who are the ultimate decision makers. The commission has the authority to accept, reject or modify a stipulation.
The stipulation includes an annual revenue increase of $29.78 million. Additionally, the residential fixed customer charge would increase to $7.00 a month. According to a PUCO staff analysis, if accepted, the terms of the stipulations would result in the average residential customer using 1,000 kWh/month experiencing a $2.64 increase in their monthly bill.
Also included in the stipulation are commitments to immediately reflect the reduction in the federal corporate tax rate effectuated by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. DP&L will return savings to customers through utility bill credits to account for deferred tax savings within a 10-year period.
DP&L will implement a revenue decoupling rider, intended to reduce the utility’s incentive to sell increasing amounts of electricity.
DP&L will spend up to $1 million in capital investments to support electric vehicle charging stations throughout its service territory under the terms of the stipulation.
The full stipulation and recommendation is available in the case docket here.
New features coming soon to the PUCO community
As part of the PUCO's business services improvements and efficiencies, the recently-launched PUCO Community will soon be adding more options for motor carriers, drivers and the general public. Currently, regulated companies may file their annual report, pay annual assessments, view active and inactive certificates, and file telecommunications relay service reports all through the PUCO Community.
Coming soon, motor carriers and drivers will also have the opportunity to join the PUCO Community. Here they can view and apply for certificates of operation and view inspection reports, compliance reviews and violations. They can also pay civil forfeiture assessments and schedule a conference, all under one account and without traditional online payment fees.
Citizens will have new options too: they can search for motor carriers and view their certificate, inspection and violation information as interactive data.
All these updates and more will be rolled out over the following months. For more information, visit the PUCO Community webpage.
The PUCO's Mike Purcell featured in spring issue of OCSEA quarterly
For PUCO member Mike Purcell, safety has been a priority throughout his 27 years in public service. While his gas pipeline safety investigator job as a Utility Specialist 2 is anything but simple, his message IS: safety first!
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Request a PUCO speaker at your next event
PUCO representatives are available to speak to your organization on a variety of topics including energy conservation, understanding your utility bill and comparing energy suppliers. Requesting a speaker is easy: contact us at (614) 466-7750 or fill out an online request here.
July 25 - Aug 5: PUCO at the Ohio State Fair
Come visit the PUCO at the Ohio State Fair! Learn more about the organization, energy conservation, your utility bill and more:
The Ohio State Fair and Expo Center
717 East 17th Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43211
Find more information about the fair here.
August 30: AEP transmission line public hearing
The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) will hold a hearing to allow the public to express their views about AEP Ohio Transmission Company’s (AEP Ohio Transco) proposal to construct a 138 kilovolt (kV) electric transmission line spanning parts of Ross County. The local public hearing is scheduled as follows:
August 30, 2018, at 6 p.m.
Chillicothe and Ross County Public Library
Main Library Annex – Room D
140 South Paint Street
Chillicothe, Ohio 45601
More information about that project is available here.
Fluctuating energy prices and temperatures can have a dramatic impact on your monthly bill. Budget billing can make it manageable.
Summer thunderstorms can increase the chances of a power outage in your neighborhood. Here are some tips on how to prepare.
Safe summer driving
Summer is a huge travel season and with that comes more motorists on the roads. Learn how to stay safe around commercial motor vehicles like semi-trucks.