Energy

Ohio consumers face difficulties filing complaints against utilities

In complaints against the industry, customers face daunting process to seek resolution

A power surge at Daniel George’s home in Forest, Ohio, damaged his stove, other appliances, furnace and television.

COLUMBUS —”If you are an Ohio consumer filing a complaint against a utility company, get ready for a long battle, and be prepared to lose.

…The PUCO has ruled in favor of consumers just four times in that 10-year period, which is 6 percent of cases that ended in a decision on the merits, and less than 1 percent of all cases, according to a Dispatch review.

The most common outcome is a settlement, which happened in 535 cases. Settlement details are mostly undisclosed, making it difficult to say how consumers fared. Attorneys who have worked on the cases say that most of the settlements are cases that should never have risen to that level, and are easily solved. Other cases were dropped or dismissed or had some other reason for not making it to a decision.

That left 70 cases that made it all the way to the commission for a ruling. Of those, consumers won four times. Three more cases were won in part and lost in part. The rest, 63 decisions, were in favor of the utilities.”

— Dan Gearino, Columbus Dispatch

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