Freeze on Clean Energy

PUCO’s Howard Petricoff steps down as commissioner

Howard Petricoff

Howard Petricoff

COLUMBUS — “PUCO commissioner Howard Petricoff, a lawyer who has practiced energy law for 40 years, resigned today rather than face an Ohio Senate rejection in the final weeks of the year.

Gov. John Kasich appointed Petricoff, the commission’s only Democrat, to a five-year term on the commission in June. He was one of 19 candidates. The Senate had until the end of the year to vote on the appointment or allow it to become permanent without a vote.

…In the months since his appointment, Petricoff had recused himself in a small number of cases, including the FirstEnergy, American Electric Power and Dayton Power & Light rate cases, because he had represented opponents.

At the same time in recent months a conflict developed between the legislature and the Kasich administration over the state’s renewable energy and energy efficiency rules that all power companies have had to follow until the lawmakers “froze” the rules in 2014, but only for two years.

The rules are set to spring back into life on Jan. 1, unless the legislature suspends them again, an act that Kasich has vowed to veto.

Amid that tension, the Senate’s Public Utilities Committee last week re-opened its consideration of Petricoff’s appointment, voting to not recommend the Senate approve it.”

— John Funk, Cleveland Plain Dealer

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