On February 4th, Governor Mike DeWine appointed attorney Samuel Randazzo to become the new Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO). DeWine made the appointment after current Chairman Asim Haque announced he would resign on March 1 to take a job with PJM Interconnection, a company that manages the high-voltage, long-distance grid in Ohio and 12 other states. The Ohio Senate is expected to confirm Randazzo.
According to the biography on the PUCO website, Randazzo has spent more than 40 years as a private attorney representing utilities in front of the PUCO. Before that he was a staff member of the PUCO and an assistant Ohio attorney general.
The PUCO is a quasi-judicial panel that regulates all kinds of utility services for Ohioans. It works to resolve disputes between customers and Ohio’s investor-owned utilities and regulate rates for utility services where there are no choices for consumers. The PUCO is made up of five commissioners and is headed by a chairman. All Commission members, including the chairman, are appointed by the governor from a list provided by the PUCO Nominating Council, subject to confirmation by the Ohio Senate. The chair is responsible for holding hearings, setting the docket and providing guidance as utilities prepare for the future.
For the past three years, Clean Fuels Ohio has worked with the PUCO and was able to develop a strong working relationship with Chairman Haque, other commissioners and Commission staff. The Commission has begun to play an essential role in related to charging infrastructure for electric vehicles (EVs) and may have a role to play on other key issues, such as pipeline access for renewable natural gas to facilitate greater use of renewable CNG.
Sam Spofforth, Executive Director of Clean Fuels Ohio, had the opportunity to meet Randazzo as part of a small group of PoweringOhio Steering Committee members. The conversation focused on EVs and grid modernization, among other topics.
“We’ve appreciated working with Chairman Haque and now look forward to building a strong working relationship with new Chairman Randazzo,” said Sam Spofforth, Executive Director of Clean Fuels Ohio. “The Commission’s role will become increasingly important in diversifying transportation energy sources and technologies for the benefit of all utility customers.”