First Energy’s Plan to force all its customers to buy light bulbs for 3 times the market price is a reminder of how much better the quality of life and the environment for business could be in Ohio if we had a Public Utilities Commission that approached its regulatory function with an eye toward protecting consumers and not just utilities like First Energy.
Yesterday and today I received dozens of calls, emails and text messages from angry First Energy customers seeking representation in some sort of lawsuit to stop the proposal to send two light bulbs to each First Energy customer in Ohio and then bill those customers over $21.00 for those light bulbs.
Congressman Kucinich must be hearing much of the same because he has asked his staff to look at filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
What I am afraid they are going to find is the same thing that I found in doing some initial research on this issue. Any effort to sue would be preempted by the fact that the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (“PUCO”) has already approved this obvious rip off of Ohio Consumers.
I’m going to continue to look for a way to use the legal process to right this wrong.
But as usual with state government, there is more to the story.
As egregious as this light bulb scheme may be it pales in comparison to the hundreds of other advantages written into state law and PUCO orders that allow First Energy and other Utilities to nickel and dime Ohio’s citizens and businesses on a daily basis.
And the current group of PUCO Commissioners is letting them do it.
We had a chance a few years ago to reshape the PUCO with members who were committed to protecting consumers. We let that chance slip away.