Ohio Consumers’ Counsel and Agency Director
Bruce Weston serves Ohioans as the Consumers’ Counsel (agency director), by appointment of the Consumers’ Counsel Governing Board in March 2012. Previously, he served as the Deputy Consumers’ Counsel and directed the agency’s Legal Department. His career spans more than 40 years in public utilities law, which provides experience that he draws upon in his public service to the agency and to Ohio residential consumers.
Bruce is committed to giving Ohioans a voice in their government’s regulatory and legislative processes for regulation of essential utility services, among the powerful corporate interests and undue influence of public utilities. In general, he seeks affordable rates and reliable utility services for millions of Ohio consumers. His consumer protection priorities include: Reforming the process for selection of PUCO commissioners so as to increase sensitivity to consumer issues and for more transparency; repealing or improving the ratemaking in Ohio’s 2008 energy law that favors electric utilities over consumers; enabling competitive markets instead of monopolies for providing lower prices and greater innovation for consumers where competition can be effective – such as for power plants and for new electric grid services on the customer’s side of the meter; changing the system that has denied refunds to consumers when the Supreme Court overturns a PUCO rate order; and protecting consumers from a smaller segment of energy marketers that has deceived them and/or charged them unconscionable rates.
Prior to joining the agency for a second time in October 2004, he was in private law practice where he served as legal counsel for clients in cases involving utility rates, service quality, industry restructuring and competition. Bruce received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Cincinnati. He earned his law degree from The Ohio State University College of Law. He served the agency as a legal intern and then, upon graduation, began a 12-year tenure as an attorney for the agency. He served as the chair of the Public Utilities Law Committee of the Ohio State Bar Association for two years beginning in June 2010.
Deputy Consumers’ Counsel and Legal Department Director
Larry Sauer serves Ohioans as the Deputy Consumers’ Counsel, by appointment of the Consumers’ Counsel Governing Board in September 2014. As Deputy, he performs the duties of the Consumers’ Counsel during any times of the Consumers’ Counsel’s unavailability. Larry also serves as the Director of the Legal Department. He joined the Agency in 2003 as an Assistant Consumers’ Counsel. He has served as counsel in electric and natural gas cases, and he has advised the Agency on consumer issues involving competitive markets for utility services. Prior to joining the Agency, he worked for 24 years as an accountant, analyst, and attorney for American Electric Power (AEP).
Analytical Department Director
Dan Shields serves Ohioans as the Director of the Analytical Department, after joining OCC in 2014. He is responsible for the Agency’s financial analyses associated with consumer advocacy in federal and state cases and in the legislature. Before joining the Agency, Dan served as the Federal Energy Advocate at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) and was Director of the Office of the Federal Energy Advocate. He served the public for more than 30 years in various positions at the PUCO.
Operations Department Acting Manager
Lisa Lyman serves Ohioans as the Acting Manager of OCC’s Operations Department. The Operations Department provides services to the Agency for information technology (IT), fiscal matters and human resources. Lisa joined OCC as its fiscal manager in 2015. Prior to joining the Agency, Lisa held positions in fiscal and contract management with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and worked for the Department of Administrative Services in its Real Estate Division. Lisa received her Bachelor of Science in Human Services from Ohio University in 1985.
Public Affairs Department Acting Manager
J.P. Blackwood serves Ohioans as the Acting Manager of the Public Affairs Department. The Public Affairs Department supports OCC’s efforts in communications, outreach and education, and legislative services. J.P. joined the Agency as a Public and Legislative Affairs Specialist in 2018. He served the public for 20 years with the City of Columbus Department of Public Service where he led a communications program for road construction and was part of the Department’s public relations team. J.P. earned a Bachelor’s degree in economics and public relations as well as Master’s degrees in Public Policy and Management and political science.