What is the OCC?
Role and Overview
The Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel (OCC) is the statewide legal representative for Ohio’s residential consumers in matters related to their investor-owned electric, natural gas, telephone, and water services. Led by Consumers’ Counsel Bruce Weston, the agency advocates for consumers in proceedings before the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), federal regulatory agencies, appellate courts, and the Ohio General Assembly. The agency also monitors public utilities’ compliance with regulatory standards for consumer protection. The OCC also educates consumers about utility issues that affect their bills and quality of service.
The Consumers’ Counsel is selected by a nine-member, bipartisan governing board representing family farmers, organized labor, and residential consumers. Each governing board member is appointed by the Ohio Attorney General. The OCC has approximately 35 employees and an operating budget of $5.8 million.
Since the agency’s inception in 1976, the agency has helped to save Ohio utility customers billions of dollars in avoided utility charges, participated to create payment assistance programs for low-income customers, and worked to safeguard consumer protections. The agency’s staff has educated thousands of utility customers about choices available to them in a changing industry and ways to save money on their utility bills.
The OCC is a founding member of the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates.
The OCC’s organizational structure is as follows:
Analytical Services Department
The Analytical Services Department protects residential consumers by conducting technical analysis of utility operations in rate filings and other regulatory proceedings. This work includes accounting, economics, and financial analysis. The Department also monitors utility company compliance with state statutes, regulations, and company policies.
The Legal Department represents Ohio’s residential consumers in administrative proceedings before the PUCO, federal regulatory agencies, and appellate courts. The legal staff’s advocacy includes both negotiating for settlements and litigating in hearings, to obtain outcomes that are favorable for utility consumers.
The Operations Department is responsible for fiscal and administrative functions of the office. These functions include human resources, information management services, budgeting, purchasing, strategic planning, and contract management.
Public Affairs Department
The Public Affairs Department serves Ohio’s residential utility consumers through outreach and education, media relations, and the legislative process. Educational information is provided to consumers on OCC’s website and in other ways such as informational fact sheets. The Department participates in the legislative process by providing information to legislators on issues affecting Ohio consumers.
Each year the OCC compiles an annual report with information about agency accomplishments, current issues and budget information. Click HERE to view our annual reports.