CRITICS QUESTION WHETHER THE FORMER OHIO UTILITY COMMISSION CHAIR SHOULD HAVE RECUSED HIMSELF MORE OFTEN TO AVOID ANY APPEARANCE OF BIAS.
By Kathiann M. Kowalski
This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism in partnership with the nonprofit Energy News Network. Please join the Eye on Ohio free mailing list or the mailing list for the Energy New Network as this helps provide more public service reporting.
Concerns about the outsized influence of utility and fossil fuel interests have resurfaced as the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio begins steps to name a new commissioner after the sudden exit of Chair Sam Randazzo.
Randazzo resigned on Nov. 20 after an FBI team had searched his home and FirstEnergy released a mandatory quarterly report to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The report showed the company paid $4 million to an entity associated with Randazzo shortly before his appointment last year.
Now the Public Utilities Commission, or PUCO, has put out a call for applicants to fill the vacancy. Under Ohio law, a nominating council will review the applications and then nominate four candidates to the governor. Advocates have criticized the council, which only has one seat for a consumer advocate, as being too heavily tilted toward utility interests.Continue reading