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The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) today ruled that it will assert jurisdiction to stop submetering companies from charging submetered residential customers more than what the PUCO-regulated local public utility charges a customer with equivalent usage through default service rates. 

Submetering frequently asked questions

What is submetering?

Submetering is the practice of installing secondary metering devices with the ability to measure utility service usage beyond the primary utility meter. This practice allows a landlord, condominium association, submetering company or other entity to purchase utility services and resell or redistribute the services to its tenants on an individually metered basis.

What is the PUCO’s role in submetering?

The PUCO has supervisory authority over all public utilities within its jurisdiction, and among other responsibilities, has the power to prescribe any rule or order necessary to protect consumers. Submetering companies could fall under PUCO jurisdiction under certain circumstances, namely if the company fails any prong of the Shroyer Test.

What is the Shroyer Test?

The PUCO has traditionally applied the three-part Shroyer Test to determine if an entity is operating as a public utility and thus falls within the scope of the Commission’s exclusive jurisdiction. The prongs of the test are as follows:

  1. Has the landlord manifested an intent to be a public utility by availing itself of special benefits available to public utilities such as accepting a grant of a franchised territory, a certificate of public convenience and necessity, the use of eminent domain, or use of the public right of way for utility purposes?
  2. Is the utility service available to the general public rather than just to tenants?
  3. Is the provision of utility service ancillary to the landlord’s primary business?

Recently, the Commission clarified certain aspects of the Shroyer Test, namely:

  1. The Shroyer Test should be applied not only to landlords, but also condominium associations, submetering companies and other similarly-situated entities;
  2. Failure of any one of the three prongs of the Shroyer Test is sufficient to determine that an entity is unlawfully operating as a public utility; and
  3. For submetered residential customers, a relative price test will be utilized to determine if a submetering entity is presumed to fail the third prong of the Shroyer Test.

What is the relative price test?

The relative price test compares what a submetered residential customer paid for utility service against what that same customer would have paid the local public utility for equivalent usage under the utility’s default service rates. 

How is the relative price test performed?

To conduct the relative price test, a submetered residential customer compares what they paid the submetering company to what the customer would have paid the local public utility for equivalent usage under default service rates. Submetered residential customers may contact the PUCO Call Center for assistance.

First, a submetered residential customer will need to determine the local public utility service territory where they reside.  To make this determination, a customer may use the PUCO’s Find Utility Information tool.

When contacting the PUCO Call Center for assistance, submetered residential customers need the following information:

  • the customer’s service address
  • any recent bills from the submetering entity
  • the customer’s monthly usage – if this is not printed on the customer’s monthly billing statement, the customer may need to contact the submetering entity to obtain this information.

In order to assist submetered residential customers, the Commission directed local public utility companies to develop, in cooperation with PUCO staff, an online bill calculator tool.  Once the online bill calculators are available, submetered residential customers who believes they are being over-charged for utility service will be able to plug their usage in to determine what they would have paid the local public utility for equivalent usage under the default service rates. If the submetered charges are greater than what they would have paid the local public utility, the customer may seek a remedy with the PUCO. 

What happens if a submetering company fails the relative price test?

If a submetering entity fails the relative price test, the customer should contact the submetering entity to facilitate an agreeable resolution.  A PUCO Call Center representative can also help the customer facilitate a resolution.

If an informal resolution cannot be reached, the customer can file a formal complaint and state that the submetering entity has failed the relative price test and is thus acting as a public utility. The submetering entity would have the ability to respond to that formal complaint. The PUCO will decide formal complaints and assert jurisdiction where necessary on a case-by-case basis.

However, the PUCO does not have the authority to award damages.

If you have utility-related questions or would like to file a complaint, call the PUCO Call Center at (800) 686-7826 (PUCO) or visit www.PUCO.ohio.gov.

How can I learn more?

The Commission’s opinion and order, and all other case documents are available online through Docketing Information System at www.PUCO.ohio.gov by searching case number 15-1594-AU-COI.

“It is our hope that today’s Commission decision will serve to protect customers by disciplining pricing in the submetering marketplace and providing a true venue for submetered residential customers to file their grievances,” stated PUCO Chairman Asim Z. Haque.

To determine whether a submetered residential customer is being over-charged, the Commission established a pricing test that does not allow for a submetering entity to charge more than what the local public utility would charge for equivalent usage through default service rates.  A submetering company must show that any amounts charged above that amount fit within a safe harbor set forth in today’s decision.

To assist submetered residential customers in performing the price test, the Commission directs local public utility companies to develop, in cooperation with PUCO staff, an online bill calculator tool.  If submetered residential customers believe they are being over-charged for utility service, they will be able to utilize this tool or contact the PUCO Call Center for assistance.

In December 2015, the PUCO opened an investigation into the practice of submetering companies and solicited comments from interested parties.

In December 2016, the Commission issued an order modifying the longstanding Shroyer Test, which is used to determine if an entity is operating as a public utility. In doing so, the Commission established a relative price test which, when failed, creates a rebuttable presumption that the submetering company is offering regulated utility services at a profit, thereby subject to PUCO jurisdiction. Additionally, the Commission sought comment from stakeholders on the percentage threshold for the relative price test.

 

 

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“An incredible team building exercise,” said Tracy Burge

Loveland, Ohio – Loveland High School (LHS) students have earned the title of a national winner of the 10th annual Trex Plastic Film Recycling Challenge, a program designed to help educate students about the importance of recycling.

“The Trex Plastic Film Recycling Challenge is not only an engaging way to teach the importance of recycling, but it also serves as an incredible team building exercise,” said Tracy Burge, LHS environmental science teacher. “Our students worked together and with the community to recycle as much plastic as possible, and we are so thrilled that they demonstrated such strong leadership in this effort to save the planet!”

To capture this year’s top honors, LHS students recycled more than 950 pounds of polyethylene plastic. In recognition of their outstanding efforts, Trex Company, presented the students with a new Trex bench for use at their school, as well as a picture frame made from Trex composite materials to showcase their winner certificate.

“We want the Tiger Family to know that now and in the following years we will recycle all flat plastic in room 283 at the high school,” said Burge. “Next year we will have bins outside at the schools. This contest goes on every year, and our goal is to repeat this success.”

The Trex Plastic Film Recycling Challenge pits K-12 schools across the country against one another in a fun, friendly competition to collect and recycle the most plastic bags and other types of polyethylene materials for the chance to win Trex products for their schools. Instead of going into landfills, that plastic waste will be converted into beautiful Trex composite decking.

“Offering a rewarding, hands-on school project, the Trex Plastic Film Recycling Challenge provides students with a better understanding and appreciation for sustainable practices,” said Stephanie Hicks, material resource coordinator for Trex. “After a decade, the program is still growing – with a record number of schools competing this year – and continues to educate tens of thousands of students about environmental responsibility.”

One of the largest recyclers of plastic in the U.S., Trex uses more than 1.5 billion plastic bags to make its eco-friendly, wood-alternative outdoor living products each year. A standard 16-foot Trex board contains recycled material from approximately 2,250 plastic bags. In addition to plastic grocery and retail bags, Trex reuses polyethylene plastic from a variety of common household items – such as case overwraps, bread bags, bubble wrap, newspaper sleeves and dry cleaning bags – to create composite products that offer a superior alternative to wood and an environmentally responsible choice to consumers.

For more information about the Trex Plastic Film Recycling Challenge, visit Trex.com/Recycling.



Raising Joyful Rebels, a Guide for Moms by local author, Fran Hendrick

Loveland based author, Fran Hendrick says moms can become pros at growing girls’ resilience, strength, and happiness.


 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Please excuse the quality of our recent video work from the Loveland City Hall council chamber. After the City recently hired a Public Information Officer (PIO), LOVELAND MAGAZINE TV has been put into a small corral to one side of the room, and the podium was placed so that when the public rises to speak, they have their backs toward the audience and our camera. We have talked to the City Manager and the Clerk of Council about how this arrangement significantly degrades our video, “The old set-up allowed a video camera to swing back and forth between those at the podium and the council table. That arrangement had been used for decades.”

Our plea has fallen on deaf ears. The PIO, however, did respond saying, “Unfortunately, the arrangement of the media area will not be moved to accommodate better angles at this time.”

So, for the time being, LOVELAND MAGAZINE TV is forced to show butts instead of faces, except when Councilwoman Pam Gross uses the podium. (See this recent video)

 

Loveland, Ohio – Resident Elizabeth Blust spoke at the May 23 Council meeting. She said she only recently became more aware of City politics. The talked about her ethical concerns surrounding activities at City Hall and finished by saying she did not give Mayor Mark Fitzgerald permission to bulldoze the municipal building.

Blust challenged Fitzgerald to send her a “Spoliation Warning” letter like he sent to other residents.

 

 



Loveland Sweets – Fine Candies

Loveland Sweets is a purveyor of hand-crafted chocolates, caramels, marshmallows, and ice creams. Our house-made candies are prepared in small batches.


 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Please excuse the quality of our recent video work from the Loveland City Hall council chamber. After the City recently hired a Public Information Officer (PIO), LOVELAND MAGAZINE TV has been put into a small corral to one side of the room, and the podium was placed so that when the public rises to speak, they have their backs toward the audience and our camera. We have talked to the City Manager and the Clerk of Council about how this arrangement significantly degrades our video, “The old set-up allowed a video camera to swing back and forth between those at the podium and the council table. That arrangement had been used for decades.”

Our plea has fallen on deaf ears. The PIO, however, did respond saying, “Unfortunately, the arrangement of the media area will not be moved to accommodate better angles at this time.”

So, for the time being, LOVELAND MAGAZINE TV is forced to show butts instead of faces, except when Councilwoman Pam Gross uses the podium. (See this recent video)

Loveland, Ohio – Pat Morganroth appeared at a recent Loveland City Council meeting  and talked about the Annual National Wheelchairs Veterans Games that will be held in Cincinnati July 17 – 23. She encouraged residents to attend and volunteer at the event.

 



Wards Corner Chiropractic & Sports Rehab

Loveland chiropractor Douglas Portmann, DC at Wards Corner Chiropractic & Sports Rehab is one of the best chiropractors in the Loveland area.


 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Please excuse the quality of our recent video work from the Loveland City Hall council chamber. After the City recently hired a Public Information Officer (PIO), LOVELAND MAGAZINE TV has been put into a small corral to one side of the room, and the podium was placed so that when the public rises to speak, they have their backs toward the audience and our camera. We have talked to the City Manager and the Clerk of Council about how this arrangement significantly degrades our video, “The old set-up allowed a video camera to swing back and forth between those at the podium and the council table. That arrangement had been used for decades.”

Our plea has fallen on deaf ears. The PIO, however, did respond saying, “Unfortunately, the arrangement of the media area will not be moved to accommodate better angles at this time.”

So, for the time being, LOVELAND MAGAZINE TV is forced to show butts instead of faces, except when Councilwoman Pam Gross uses the podium. (See this recent video)

Loveland, Ohio – Russ Dolezal recently went to a Loveland Council meeting. He has lived in Loveland for ten years, but before moving here he lived in Blue Ash and was part of putting on the first Taste of Blue Ash. He talked about how Blue Ash planned their developments carefully and slowed down long enough so the public could be involved and guide the process. He said, “There was a lot of patience involved.”

Dolezal said Blue Ash showed patience in their process to construct a new municipal building and recreation center. and concluded his remarks by quoting W. Axl Rose, “Said woman take it slow, and it’ll work itself out fine All we need is just a little patience.”

 



Pizazz Studios and Gifts in Historic Downtown

We promise the best customer service, and beyond a doubt, the best selection of merchandise in the area Pizazz Studio is a whimsical gift shop in downtown Loveland.



Dear Loveland Magazine Readers,

It was suggested I contact Loveland Magazine about a lost ring that I found on Sunday afternoon – Fathers Day – at Nisbet Park on the playground sitting on top of the mulch. Hopefully, you might be able to help find the owner.

I have attached a couple pictures of the ring. It appears to be a very nice woman’s ring. The stone has a yellowish or light green color to it.

I have not had any success on the Loveland FB garage sale group.

I believe my next step will be taking it to the Loveland Police Station this week.

Thanks

Cindy Marshall

Contact Loveland Magazine at lovelandmagazine@cinci.rr.com

 

 



Accounting Plus LLC

Accounting Plus–Bingaman Accounting and Tax Service, LLC is a tax preparation, payroll and bookkeeping company locally based in Loveland, OH.



LHS students being recognized by PSR-C include Katie McElveen, Olivia Piziali, Ben Cummins, Nick Griffiths, Sam Schwantes, Andy Schwantes, Jonah Smith, and (not pictured) Lauren Kahrs.

 

Loveland, Ohio – Eight Loveland High School (LHS) students were recently selected by the Public Service Recognition-Cincinnati (PSR-C) Committee for their volunteer efforts. LHS student Katie McElveen was honored for her work with the Ronald McDonald House, and Olivia Piziali, Ben Cummins, Nick Griffiths, Sam Schwantes, Andy Schwantes, Jonah Smith, and Lauren Kahrs, for their work with Loveland’s NEST program. The  students were presented with their 2017 Student Public Service Award on Fountain Square in Cincinnati Thursday, May 11.

Recognizing Quality Public Service in the Greater Cincinnati Area Uniting All Levels and Areas of Government in One Celebration!

“Student service is something we intentionally integrate into the student experience at Loveland High School, and we are extremely proud of these dedicated individuals for taking the initiative to give back to the community in this way,” said LHS Principal Peggy Johnson.

According to PSR-C, the students are being recognized during Public Service Recognition Week – a time set aside to pay tribute to the profession of public service and to recognize those individuals who have done an outstanding job during the year. The May 11 event will be PSR-C’s 29th recognition event.

Throughout the country, mayors, governors, agency leaders, communities and public service organizations participate in PSRW by issuing proclamations; hosting award ceremonies and special tribute events; and delivering messages about the value of public service. We encourage government leaders and public servants from all backgrounds to participate by showing appreciation to their employees and colleagues and by sharing stories of excellence in public service.

Connecticut NBC affiliate pulls Megyn Kelly interview with Sandy Hook denier

Dear Loveland Magazine Readers,

The pressure is working: An NBC affiliate here in Connecticut just announced they won’t air Megyn Kelly’s interview with Sandy Hook conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

We have to keep the pressure up to stop this dangerous interview completely before it airs tomorrow nation-wide.

Demands from supporters like you convinced them to do the right thing – but we have to keep the pressure up to stop this dangerous interview completely before it airs tomorrow nation-wide. Giving Jones this publicity would fuel more harassment of our families by people like him who say our loved ones weren’t murdered or never even lived.

Already, 138,988 supporters have flooded NBC with demands to pull this interview and stop promoting Jones’ hateful lies – but to get other stations to follow suit, we need you to sign our petition immediately.

Please, sign our petition right away: Tell NBC not to air its interview tomorrow between Megyn Kelly and Sandy Hook denier Alex Jones.

Our families have already suffered the unbearable pain of having to deal with harassment from Sandy Hook deniers like Jones, on top of having lost our loved ones. The platform of an NBC interview gives him credibility and legitimacy that is dangerous to our families.

We don’t want to keep living in fear – we simply want to honor our loved ones and build a legacy for them. Thank you for all you’ve done to stand by our side.

Sandy Hook Promise

Symmes Township, Ohio – Lake Isabella is a 77-acre man-made lake on Loveland Maderia Road at the I-275 entrance/exit ramp to Loveland/Symmes Township/Indian Hill. It is one of the Hamilton County Parks. It is on the banks of the State and National Scenic Little Miami River.

The park offers picnic areas, a playground and access to the Little Miami River.

What do you do to slow down? Explore Lake Isabella with a life-long visitor and see why this east-side park is a destination for both fishing and families. 

Enjoy a 28-acre pay lake that is stocked weekly March through October and offers fishing from the bank, dock or rental boat. Electric trolling motors are permitted. Personal watercrafts, such as canoes and kayaks, are not permitted on the lake. Lake Isabella also has a full-service boathouse and reservable Chart Room, Riverside Lodge and Shady Elm Shelter for group outings. The park offers picnic areas, a playground and access to the Little Miami River.

 

LHS students Anna Eskender, Avery Lawrence and Anneliese Deal worked together to set up a sleeping area under the bleachers near the high school for the Tigers in Service Shantytown event.

Experience used to better understand the plight of the homeless

Loveland, Ohio –  – The Loveland High School (LHS) Tigers in Service Club set up makeshift tents under the stadium bleachers and spent the night April 22-23 so 30 students could experience a “Shantytown” event.

“The students were seeking to raise awareness about homelessness by offering their peers at LHS the chance to experience life as a homeless person for one night,” said LHS Teacher and Tigers in Service Sponsor Rachel Bierkan.

LHS students slept overnight in makeshift tents set up under the stadium bleachers at the high school

“After participating in Shantytown, my eyes were truly opened to many of the harsh realities of homelessness,” said LHS Senior Lydia Powell. “Homelessness is a major issue in today’s world and we wanted to do Shantytown to bring some attention to this problem and break some of the stereotypes that are often associated with it. It is amazing how much we take for granted in our daily lives.  Shantytown helped to remind us of how fortunate we really are.”

During the 18-hour event students listened to speakers and participated in activities to further their education on homelessness.  Most inspiring was the narrative shared by a woman who had experienced homelessness herself.  

“It was a great way for us to realize how fortunate we are,” said LHS Senior Anna Eskender. “Most of us are privileged in many ways and it’s easy to lose sight of this as we go about our adolescence. This event truly took us out of our comfort zone and helped us understand what really counts and what really matters in life.”  

“I thought it was an amazing learning experience for all participants and helped everyone to understand the realities of homelessness,” said LHS Senior Nicole Goret.

“This event was organized by some of our senior students,” said Bierkan. “They are passionate about understanding what they can do to help. It was a successful learning experience.”



We do it so you won’t have to!


 

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