Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Plays a Major Role in Public Policy Debates

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) affects every household in Ohio. That’s because the PUCO regulates providers of all kinds of utility services, including electric and natural gas companies, local and long distance telephone companies, water and wastewater companies, rail and trucking companies. The PUCO was created to assure Ohioans adequate, safe and reliable public utility services at a fair price. More recently, the PUCO gained responsibility for facilitating competitive utility choices for Ohio consumers.  Specifically, the PUCO:

  1. Protects consumers by monitoring and enforcing PUCO rules and state laws against unfair, inadequate and unsafe public utility and transportation services;
  2. Resolves consumer disputes either informally between utilities, residents, business, industrial and competing utilities through a formal complaint process where only the PUCO can order relief and corrective action;
  3. Assures availability of adequate, safe and reliable services to all residential, business and industrial consumers;
  4. Provides consumers with information about their rights and responsibilities as a utility customer and publishes the Apples to Apples cost comparisons for energy services Ohio permits electric and natural gas utilities to compete for customer; and
  5. Regulates utility rates for the delivery of electric, natural gas and telecommunications services.

The PUCO is governed by five independent commissioners appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Ohio Senate.  The current PUCO Commissioners include;

Asim Z. Haque is the chairman and chief executive officer of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.  He was appointed to the PUCO by Governor John R. Kasich in 2013, and reappointed by Gov. Kasich to serve a second term in 2016.  Chairman Haque, an attorney, began his professional career at a large general practice firm in Columbus where he represented a broad spectrum of clients in energy and utility matters.  He went on to serve as internal legal counsel for a global auto manufacturer, a role he held immediately prior to his appointment to the Commission.

Beth Trombold was appointed to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) by Governor John Kasich in 2013 and reappointed to a second term in 2018. Prior to her appointment, Trombold served as assistant director of the Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA). A long time public servant, she also served in a variety of roles within the PUCO, including director of Economic Development and Public Affairs. During her career, Commissioner Trombold led legislative efforts on many important utility issues; including: electric restructuring, natural gas choice, and telecommunications reform.

Thomas W. Johnson was appointed to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) by Governor John Kasich in April 2014. Johnson served as PUCO chairman for the first year of his term. Commissioner Johnson has a long tradition of public service having served for 22 years in the Ohio House of Representatives, where he represented southeastern Ohio. He chaired the House Finance & Appropriations Committee; and was a member of the House Public Utilities Committee and the House Energy & Environment Committee. After leaving elected office, Johnson served as Governor Bob Taft’s director of the Office of Budget and Management from 1999 to 2006.

Lawrence K. Friedeman was appointed to the Public Utilities Commission (PUCO) of Ohio by Governor John R. Kasich in 2017.  For more than 20 years, Commissioner Friedeman has held various roles in the energy sector related to regulatory and compliance disciplines. His tenure has afforded him the opportunity to work with regulatory commissions, utilities, consumer advocates and competitive suppliers in a dozen states, including Ohio. Most recently, Friedeman served as vice president of regulatory affairs and compliance at IGS Energy.

Daniel R. Conway was appointed to the Public Utilities Commission (PUCO) of Ohio by Governor John R. Kasich in 2017.   Prior to joining the PUCO, Conway practiced energy and telecommunications law for more than 35 years. He represented public utilities, primarily electric, natural gas utilities and telecommunications companies in cases before the PUCO, in appeals to the Ohio Supreme Court and in actions in the federal courts. Conway’s work in the energy and utilities sector spreads wide and includes proceedings addressing fundamental changes in utility services and policies. Throughout his career he also represented utility customers in PUCO proceedings, and advised industrial and commercial clients on energy and regulatory matters.

The PUCO will play a major role in defining and debating Ohio’s energy agenda in particular as the Ohio General Assembly is in a fever pitch debate on a range of issues that include submetering of utility services, deregulation of electric services, renewable energy mandates, and a range of other issues.