Countdown to deregulation

The state of Ohio is still on track to implement electric deregulation beginning Jan. 1, 2001, as scheduled.

The Ohio Public Utilities Commission has passed most of the rules needed to move the state into deregulation, says Matt Motley, PUCO public information officer. Those rules will now be sent to the Joint Committee on Agency Rulemaking to ensure PUCO is not overstepping its boundaries.

Once JACAR has approved the rules, energy suppliers will begin the certification process with the state, then start seeking customers.

The following is a timeline of the process:

  • July 1999 — Ohio Gov. Bob Taft signs a bill into law which mandates deregulation of the state’s electricity industry.
  • July 2000 — Rules, drawn up by PUCO, are drafted to be sent to JACAR for approval.
  • August — JACAR has a 30-day window to make a decision on the proposed rules and is expected to rule this month.
  • September — The state will begin to certify electricity suppliers in mid to late September. Also in September, PUCO will begin a media campaign to educate consumers about their choices. Motley says the state wants to begin its campaign before the marketers do to help prevent confusion and the perception that consumers must immediately choose an electric supplier.

    “We want to let people know what’s coming and what their rights are,” Motley says.

  • October — After companies are certified by the state to provide electricity in the deregulated marketplace, PUCO expects them to begin marketing to potential customers.

    “Once they’re certified, they’re going to be pretty aggressive about going out to get people,” he says.

  • Dec. 31, 2003 — The state must achieve a switching rate of at least 20 percent, which it can encourage by adjusting shopping credits to make certain supplier options more attractive to consumers, Motley says.