Justia Utilities Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio

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At issue was whether Intermessage Communications and members of a proposed class of retail cellular-telephone-service subscribers seeking to recover treble damages under Ohio Rev. Code 4905.61 for regulatory violations related to the wholesale cellular-service market committed in the 1990s, as determined by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), had standing to bring this action. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Eighth District Court of Appeals affirming the trial court’s decision to certify the class and dismissed this matter, holding that Intermessage and the proposed class of retail cellular-service subscribers lacked standing to bring an action pursuant to section 4905.61 because the language of the statute limits recovery of treble damages to the “person, firm, or corporation” directly injured as a result of the “violation, failure, or omission” found by the PUCO. View "Satterfield v. Ameritech Mobile Communications, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal brought by the Office of Ohio Consumers’ Counsel (OCC) and the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association Energy Group (OMAEG) challenging the Public Utility Commission’s decision to approve the third electric-security plan (ESP) of Ohio Power Company, holding that OCC and OMAEG failed to demonstrate prejudice or harm caused by the ESP order. On appeal, OCC and OMAEG argued that the Commission’s approval of the Power Purchase Agreement Ride as a component of the ESP was reversible error. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding (1) OCC failed to demonstrate that ratepayers suffered actual harm or prejudice from the ESP order; and (2) this Court declines to address the claims that ratepayers were at risk of imminent or future harm rising from the ESP order. View "In re Application of Ohio Power Co." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the Public Utilities Commission that approved a charge referred to as the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) Rider as a component of Ohio Power Company’s third electric-security plan (ESP), holding that the order was not unlawful or unreasonable. Specifically, the Court held (1) the PPA Rider did not recover unlawful transition revenue; (2) the challenges to the Commission’s approval of the PPA Rider under the ESP statute, Ohio Rev. Code 4928.143, were without merit; (3) the challenges to the Commission’s approval of the joint stipulation to resolve the issues in the PPA Rider case failed; and (4) the Commission complied with Ohio Rev. Code 4903.09 when it approved the Ohio Valley Electric Corporation-only PPA Rider. View "In re Application of Ohio Power Co." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed this appeal challenging the Public Utility Commission’s decision to allow Dayton Power and Light Company (DP&L) to withdraw and terminate its second electric-security plan (ESP II), holding that the Commission’s approval of DP&L’s third electric-security plan (ESP III) rendered this case moot. The Commission allowed DP&L to withdraw and terminate its ESP II rate plan and service stability rider (SSR) charge. The ESP II rate plan and its SSR charge were then replaced by ESP III, which the Commission approved. Appellant’s appealed the Commission’s order regarding ESP II. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal as moot, holding that because there was no remedy that the Court could legally order, the appeal constituted only a request for an advisory ruling, and the controversy was no longer live. View "In re Application of Dayton Power & Light Co." on Justia Law

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At issue was whether a utility company provided its customer adequate notice that natural-gas service to the customer’s property had been disconnected by hanging two notices on the front door of the property. The customer, who was not occupying the property, did not realize that the gas had been disconnected and did not discover the utility’s notices until the pipes froze and burst, causing damage. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) determined that the utility gave adequate notice of the disconnection by hanging tags on the property’s front door. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was nothing “unlawful or unreasonable” in the PUCO’s determination that the door-tag notice was adequate. View "Harris Design Services v. Columbia Gas of Ohio, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in remanded in part the order of the Public Utilities Commission ordering First Energy companies (collectively, FirstEnergy) to refund more than $43 million to ratepayers and granting several motions for protective orders granting trade-secret protection to certain information related to FirstEnergy’s purchase of renewable-energy-credits (REC). The court held (1) the Commission engaged in unlawful retroactive ratemaking when it ordered FirstEnergy to refund more than $43 million in previously recovered REC costs to ratepayers; and (2) the Commission’s decision to grant trade-secret status to certain information related to FirstEnergy’s in-state REC purchases lacked record support. View "In re Review of Alternative Energy Rider Contained in Tariffs of Ohio Edison Co." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the orders issued by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) finding that the presence of stray gas near Appellants’ properties created a verifiable safety hazard that justified Columbia Gas of Ohio, Inc.’s discontinuing gas service to the homes. Specifically, the court held (1) Appellants’ argument that PUCO misinterpreted Ohio Rev. Code 4905.20 and 4905.21 by permitting Columbia Gas to withdraw natural-gas service without filing an abandonment application was unavailing; and (2) PUCO did not err in determining that Columbia Gas did not violate Ohio Rev. Code 4905.22’s prohibition against furnishing inadequate service. View "In re Complaints of Lycourt-Donovan v. Columbia Gas of Ohio, Inc." on Justia Law

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There was no error in the determination of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio that the plan of the Illuminating Company to remove a silver maple tree located near the company’s transmission line was reasonable. The tree belonged to Mary-Martha and Dennis Corrigan and stood within the company’s easement running through the Corrigan’s property. The Corrigans appealed, arguing primarily that the evidence did not support findings that pruning was impracticable and that the tree posed a threat to the line. The Supreme Court rejected the Corrigans’ evidentiary challenges, holding that the Corrigans failed to show that the Commission’s decision was unlawful or unreasonable. View "Corrigan v. Illuminating Co." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the Public Utilities Commission that authorized Duke Energy Ohio, Inc. to recover costs associated with the environmental remediation of two manufactured-gas-plant (MGP) sites near downtown Cincinnati. The court held that the Commission did not exceed its authority when it allowed Duke to recover the costs incurred to remediate the MGP sites. The court dismissed Appellants’ remaining arguments as moot. Because Appellants did not carry their burden of demonstrating that the Commission’s order was unjust, unreasonable or unlawful, the Supreme Court affirmed the Commission's order. View "In re Application of Duke Energy Ohio, Inc." on Justia Law

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In 2000, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio first approved a corporate separation plan for Cincinnati Gas & Electric Company, now known as Duke Energy Ohio, Inc. Over the next decade, the Commission approved a series of amendments to the plan. In 2014, Duke filed an application for approval of a fourth amended corporate separation plan, which sought approval to commence offering nonelectric products and services to its customers. The Commission approved Duke’s application. Interstate Gas Supply, Inc. appealed, arguing, inter alia, that the Commission’s orders violated Ohio Rev. Code 4903.09, a statute requiring the Commission to file written opinions setting forth the reasons for its decision in all contested cases. The Supreme Court agreed and reversed, holding that the Commission violated section 4903.09 by failing to set forth in its order its reasons in sufficient details to enable the Supreme Court to determine how it reached its decision. Remanded. View "In re Application of Duke Energy Ohio, Inc., for Approval of its Fourth Amended Corporate Separation Plan" on Justia Law