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Speakers Bureau

The Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel (OCC) provides knowledgeable outreach and education professionals to talk about issues concerning the electric, natural gas, telephone, and water industries. Speakers are available free of charge and are prepared to cover a variety of topics to groups of 30 or more. The length and content of presentations are determined by the needs of the audience. OCC also welcomes the opportunity to speak to groups during their lunch hour.


Who Are The Speakers?

O&E Region MapAmy Carles – Central and Northwest counties: Allen, Auglaize, Champaign, Crawford, Darke, Defiance, Erie, Fulton, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Huron, Logan, Lorain, Lucas, Marion, Mercer, Miami, Montgomery, Ottawa, Paulding, Preble, Putnam, Sandusky, Seneca, Shelby, Union, Van Wert, Williams, Wood, Wyandot.

Tonja Stewart Shaw – Central and Northeast counties: Ashland, Ashtabula, Carroll, Columbiana, Coshocton, Cuyahoga, Delaware, Franklin, Geauga, Harrison, Holmes, Jefferson, Knox, Lake, Licking, Mahoning, Medina, Morrow, Portage, Richland, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, Wayne.

Kathryn Metz – Central and Southern counties: Adams, Athens, Belmont, Brown, Butler, Clark, Clermont, Clinton, Fairfield, Fayette, Franklin, Gallia, Greene, Guernsey, Hamilton, Highland, Hocking, Jackson, Lawrence, Madison, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Pickaway, Pike, Ross, Scioto, Vinton, Warren, Washington.


 

 

Speaker Bios

Amy Carles


Amy CarlesAmy Carles is a Senior Outreach and Education Program Specialist with the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel (OCC), the residential utility consumer advocate.  Amy’s first term with OCC spanned from June 2004 until July 2011. She has since reclaimed her position with OCC in November 2014.

As a Senior Outreach and Education Program Specialist, one of Amy’s major responsibilities is to conduct presentations on a wide range of utility topics, including electric, natural gas, telephone and water, for social and human service agencies, community and professional organizations and other interested groups. She also plays an active role in educating consumers about OCC’s services by meeting with consumers, answering their questions and distributing informative materials such as fact sheets, brochures and newsletters. Amy coordinates OCC’s outreach and education efforts in the Central and Northwest Ohio area.

Prior to returning to OCC, Amy served as program coordinator and executive director for the non-profit organization Hancock County Saves at OSU Extension, Hancock County. There, she strengthened community outreach and developed, coordinated and taught financial literacy programs. She also worked for the Humane Society & SPCA of Hancock County where she assisted with Animal Control office operations, wrote grants and coordinated the Paws for a Cause: PAWS fundraiser. In the past, Amy also was a consumer education coordinator with the Ohio Attorney General’s office as well as the director of complaint management and dispute resolution and the director of advertising review for the Better Business Bureau serving Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan.

Amy earned her bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management from Bluffton University in 2011. Prior to this, she graduated from Owens Community College with an associate’s degree in Sales and Marketing with a certificate in Supervision and earned a certificate in Management Advancement for Public Service in Public Relations and Marketing from the John Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy at The Ohio State University. 

Central and Northwest counties: Allen, Auglaize, Champaign, Crawford, Darke, Defiance, Erie, Fulton, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Huron, Logan, Lorain, Lucas, Marion, Mercer, Miami, Montgomery, Ottawa, Paulding, Preble, Putnam, Sandusky, Seneca, Shelby, Union, Van Wert, Williams, Wood, Wyandot.

Download Amy Carles' bio and contact information (PDF)

 

Tonja Stewart Shaw


Tonja Stewart Shaw

Tonja Stewart Shaw is a Senior Outreach and Education Program Specialist with the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, the residential utility consumer advocate. She joined the OCC in February 2023.

As an outreach specialist, Tonja’s responsibilities include conducting presentations to social and human service agencies, community and professional organizations, and other interested groups on a wide range of utility topics including electric, natural gas, telephone, and water. She also educates Ohio consumers about OCC’s services by meeting with consumers, answering their questions, and distributing fact sheets and brochures. Tonja has extensive knowledge of low-income energy assistance programs.

Before joining the OCC, she worked in public service at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) as the Low-Income Programs Specialist for more than 31 years where she was responsible for overseeing all aspects of the energy assistance programs (Percentage of Income Payment Plan), consumer protections, coordinating the annual winter heating season campaign which included the issuance of the special reconnect order, and conducting statewide training on energy assistance programs. Tonja coordinates OCC’s outreach in Franklin County and Northeast Ohio.

Tonja earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism with a concentration in Public Relations from The Ohio State University, a Master of Science Administration in Strategic Leadership from Central Michigan University, and a Certificate in Public and Nonprofit Leadership from the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University.

Central and Northeast counties: Ashland, Ashtabula, Carroll, Columbiana, Coshocton, Cuyahoga, Delaware, Franklin, Geauga, Harrison, Holmes, Jefferson, Knox, Lake, Licking, Mahoning, Medina, Morrow, Portage, Richland, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, Wayne.

Download Tonja Stewart Shaw's bio and contact information (PDF)

 

Kathryn Metz


Kathryn MetzKathryn Metz is a Senior Outreach and Education Specialist with the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel (OCC), the residential utility consumer advocate. She joined the OCC in January 2023.

As a Senior Outreach and Education Specialist, Kathryn delivers presentations on a variety of utility topics, including  electric, natural gas, telephone and water for social and human service agencies, community and professional organizations and other interested groups. She also educates Ohio consumers about the OCC’s work by attending shows and fairs and speaking with Ohio consumers, answering their questions and distributing fact sheets. Kathryn coordinates OCC’s outreach in Central and Southern Ohio.

Before joining the OCC, Kathryn worked as an outreach coordinator at The Ohio State University’s Center for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies. She also served as a humanitarian aid worker along the Balkan route of migration in Bosnia and Serbia. Her background in human rights and education has equipped her to educate and advocate for the rights of Ohio consumers.

Kathryn earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from The Ohio State University and a Master of Arts in Human Rights Law from the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary.

Central and Southern counties: Adams, Athens, Belmont, Brown, Butler, Clark, Clermont, Clinton, Fairfield, Fayette, Franklin, Gallia, Greene, Guernsey, Hamilton, Highland, Hocking, Jackson, Lawrence, Madison, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Pickaway, Pike, Ross, Scioto, Vinton, Warren, Washington.

Download Kathryn Metz's bio and contact information (PDF)

 

Presentation Topics

Consumer Protections / Assistance

Consumer Protections – Avoiding Utility Scams
Consumer scams are prevalent and can also involve your utility service. Is there really a problem with your bill? Can you really save money? How do you know? What should you do? Knowing your rights and how to protect yourself is a must! Learn to identify scams, effectively say “no,” and reduce unwanted solicitations. The latest utility scams, Caller ID spoofing, slamming and cramming will be discussed..

Managing Your Utility Bills
As costs rise, learn how to better manage your utility bills. This program discusses consumer assistance programs, Energy Choice options, and energy efficiency.

Stay Connected to Your Utilities – Maintaining utility services (available for consumers or as a train-the-trainer)
This in-depth program provides information on disconnection protections and financial assistance programs to help keep electric, natural gas, and telephone services connected. The "train-the-trainer" program is available to agencies and organizations serving low-income consumers. Topics include consumer assistance programs, consumer rights, payment arrangements, Q&A and more. A shorter version of this program is also available for consumers.


Electric and Natural Gas

Energy Choice – Learn about your electric and natural gas choice options 
The major investor-owned utilities in Ohio offer customers the choice to buy their natural gas or electricity from an alternative supplier. Learn the possible benefits and how to make the best decision for your household.

Understanding Your Electric and Natural Gas Bill
Do you find your electric or natural gas bill difficult to understand? We will take you through the items on your bill and help you make sense of them. Electric and natural gas choice options will also be discussed.

Power Outage Tips and Consumer Rights
Are you prepared if the electric goes out? This program discusses your rights and provides tips for staying safe during a power outage.


Telephone

Understanding Your Telephone Bill
Telephone bills can be difficult to understand. Learn about charges you can control and those that can be avoided. Understanding the charges on your telephone bill can help you make sure that you are not overcharged.


Energy Efficiency

Ways to Save Money by Conserving Energy
Save money on your energy bills by making your home more energy efficient all year round. Hear tips on how to save money on your natural gas, electric, and water bills by making no-cost or low-cost changes around the house. Learn about the benefits of ENERGY STAR®, LED light bulbs, programmable thermostats, and other energy-saving tips.

Are You an Energy Saver?
How much do you really know about energy efficiency and keeping energy bills low? Test your knowledge during this fun and interactive presentation while learning fun facts and ways to reduce energy usage. You may be surprised to learn what the true energy users in your home are, and you may discover you can lower your utility bills even more!


Request A Speaker

To request a speaker, fill out and submit the speaker request form below, call (614) 466-8574 or (877) 742-5622 (toll-free in Ohio) or email occ@occ.ohio.gov.

 

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