Along party lines, the Ohio Senate’s Public Utilities Committee today rejected Gov. John Kasich’s appointment of M. Howard Petricoff, a Democrat, to the Public Utility Commission of Ohio (PUCO). Petricoff’s appointment to the PUCO more closely followed historical interpretations of Ohio law that prevents PUCO from having more than three commissioners affiliated with or belonging to the same political party.
“The Senate’s rejection of Mr. Petricoff is a case in point as to why reform is needed in the way Ohio’s public utility law has been interpreted in recent years,” said David Leland (D-Columbus). “In Mr. Petricoff, it seems we have a qualified and experienced choice that would bring balance and diversity in philosophy to the work of the commission, but recent party-line appointments have empowered lawmakers to put political party above all else. Balance and competing perspectives are fundamental to ensuring sound public policy that weighs the interests of business with the health and checkbooks of Ohio consumers.”
Columbus lawmaker Rep. David Leland introduced legislation to bring bipartisanship back to the state panel that is supposed to balance multi-billion-dollar utility decisions with best interests of consumers in the state.
Leland’s legislation, House Bill 122, was introduced in March of 2015 and is scheduled for a first hearing next week in House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee.