This morning the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) received an e-mail from Plain Township trustee Louis Giavasis about deficiencies in a Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) notice on hearings concerning an electric rate increase case pending before the PUCO.
Giavasis, who is a Stark County leading light in fighting the AEP/Ohio Power 52% over three years rate increase request, complained that the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio had led the township trustees to believe that there would be at least one additional opportunity for the trustee and any other interested Ohioan to appear in Columbus to give additional testimony on the AEP request.
The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) contacted Paul Duffy, chief legal counsel for the PUCO, and addressed questions to him about the notice that Plain trustees received.
Duffy said that he didn't think the PUCO did any thing wrong in terms of the content of a letter it sent to the township on November 28th acknowledge receiving the trustees' resolution opposing the AEP increase, but that he could see how the trustees could misconstrue the reference to the hearing aspect of the letter (see the yellow/green highlighted portions of the accompanying graphic to see the relevant language).
The Report too sees why the Plain trustees would (as they did) call the PUCO about the specifics of a hearing (location, date and time of day) looking at the language contained in the letter.
Imagine the trustees' consternation when told that THE hearing was in progress as they spoke.
Well, there was a hearing in progress but it was a hearing for "officially" entered intervenors only. As this is the last day that the hearing will be open (as The Report understands Duffy) barring a request that it be held open for an additional time for rebuttal of testimony given today.
So The Report thinks it is the job of Stark County's legislators (listen up Slesnick, legislator-elect Snitchler, Schuring and Oelslger to make inquiry with the PUCO as to how rephrase the letter so that future misapprehension of the hearing matter can be avoided.
In a nutshell, The Report does believe that the language is ripe to mislead and encourages the PUCO, with coaching from Stark County's area legislators, to restructure the discussion in its "stock letter" response to make it crystal clear that the letter IS NOT notice of a specific hearing.