The Regulatory Mix, TMI’s daily blog of regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court, issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of a TMI Regulatory Bulletin.
The National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) created FirstNet – the First Responder Network Authority – to empower America’s first responders with state of the art communications tools. FirstNet’s mission is to ensure that a nationwide interoperable, wireless broadband network is built for the pubic safety community. See the Executive Summary here. See the FirstNet process flow chart here.
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai releases remarks at the 9-1-1 Goes To Washington conference:
“Our role at the FCC, as I see it, is to support your heroic efforts. It’s not just a calling; it’s a duty. In fact, the very first section of the Communications Act tasks the FCC with “promoting safety of life and property through the use of wire and radio communications,” and our nation’s 911 systems are critical to achieving that objective.”
See the full text of Commissioner Pai’s remarks here.
The PUC adopted changes and recommendations affecting the competitive retail electric market. “The Commission’s action today will benefit consumers in offering clearer transparency in billing and the overall energy choice process,” stated PUCO Chairman Todd A. Snitchler. “Our ruling also establishes a framework for further consideration and implementation of other market enhancements that will have a positive impact on the competitive retail electric market.”
The PUC’s Order directs Ohio’s regulated distribution utilities to file an application to include retail supplier logos on customer bills in the event that a customer receives services from a competitive electric provider. Additionally, standardization of “price-to-compare” language will allow consumers to more easily compare rates offered by competitive suppliers. The “price-to-compare” represents the charges a consumer would no longer pay to their utility should they enroll with a competitive supplier. The PUC also set in motion further evaluation in a number of other areas of interest including corporate separation policies, utility-supplier information sharing, contract portability, and advanced meter tariff language. Watch for the TMI Energy Bulletin.
The PUC issued a Press Release reminding customers who are behind on their electric and natural gas bills that their service may be terminated April 1, regardless of income. PUC urges customers who receive a termination notice to call their utility immediately. Resources are available to help consumers maintain service. If consumers are not satisfied with the utility response, they are encouraged to call the PUC. Prior to termination, the utility company must provide two notices and give consumers the opportunity to contact it to make arrangements to avoid termination. If service is shut off, the company will leave notice telling consumers what to do to have service restored. Payment to restore service will depend on the consumer’s household income and payment history. Consumers may be required to pay a security deposit equal to two average monthly bills, reconnection fee, or the full balance of the bill. Additional information about the law that applies to the termination and reconnection of utility service can be found on the PUC website.