Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Commissioner M. Howard Petricoff said Friday that he would step down, after the state Senate Public Utilities Committee in a rare move voted Thursday to oppose his appointment. Petricoff, a Democrat, was nominated in June by Republican Gov. John Kasich. He has been serving without confirmation since. He retired in 2015 after nearly 30 years with the Columbus-based law firm, Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP, which has represented energy clients in high-profile cases in the state. Petricoff was the only Democrat serving on the PUCO. While the full Senate didn’t vote on his appointment, some Republicans in the chamber expressed uncertainty about his previous work on behalf of natural gas suppliers and electricity providers. Petricoff released a statement saying “I am grateful for the governor’s trust, and out of respect for that trust, I see no value in subjecting his appointment of me — nor the good efforts of the nominating council — to an unfortunate outcome.” PUCO Chairman Asim Haque said he was saddened by the Senate’s position and noted that Petricoff has “four decades of experience as a utility expert.”
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