Today Governor Mike DeWine rejected all four candidates being considered to replace former Chairman Sam Randazzo on the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. As a result, the PUCO nominating council will send four new names for the Governor’s consideration.
While there were names on the original list of four who had prior and present financial ties to Ohio’s regulated utilities, there were also qualified individuals on the list for consideration. Why would Governor DeWine turn away professionals with extensive utility market experience and consumer advocacy expertise who could have brought a fresh start and much-needed perspective to a PUCO that is currently in the shadows of scandal?
Unless Governor DeWine is willing to provide us with his reasons for rejecting these candidates, it begs the question as to who exactly is steering the ship in Ohio—Governor DeWine or the utilities? Is this yet another example of regulated utilities flexing their muscle in Ohio and hand-picking their own regulators?
The new PUCO Commissioner should be dedicated to increasing equity, fairness, and access to services at the community level at a time when corruption has been winning the day in Ohio. Ohioans are demanding a commissioner:
• With a history of integrity without the risk of even the appearance of impropriety
• With a history of working within the community and embracing justice
• With a plan to demand transparency from regulated utilities
• With an understanding of energy trends and clean energy development opportunities
• With no current or previous connections to regulated utilities
• With no background of lobbying for or having financial ties to utility companies
Ohioans deserve better than what we got with Sam Randazzo. We deserve a PUCO Chair who is ready to put the consumer first, and a Governor who is ready to demonstrate his leadership with this important choice. Now is the time for a fresh start, and we will be watching.
- Rachael Belz, Director, Ohio Consumers Power Alliance