The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) last week issued for comment staff-proposed new rules for competitive retail natural gas service and providers of the service. As a result of amended Ohio Substitute House Bill 9, which was signed into law by Gov. Bob Taft in March, the commission’s authority over gas providers in the state has been significantly expanded (see NGI, May 21).

The amended bill requires certain governmental aggregators and retail natural gas suppliers to be certified by the Commission; authorizes governmental aggregation for competitive retail natural gas service; authorizes the Commission to order large natural gas companies to provide distribution service on an open, non-discretionary basis; and consolidates consumer protection authority over certain retail natural gas transactions.

The staff suggests proposed rules on the following:

The staff said initial comments must be filed with the commission by July 10, and reply comments must be filed by July 24. Additionally, the PUCO will hold a conference June 29 at the commission offices. The staff said the conference will allow interested parties to participate in a question and answer session with the PUCO staff to gain a better understanding of the proposal.

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