130th Ohio General Assembly
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H. B. No. 662  As Introduced
As Introduced

130th General Assembly
Regular Session
2013-2014
H. B. No. 662


Representatives Duffey, McGregor 



A BILL
To enact sections 4781.401, 4934.01, 4934.02, 4934.03, 4934.04, 4934.05, 4934.06, 4934.07, 4934.08, 4934.09, 4934.10, 4934.11, 4934.12, 4934.13, 4934.14, 4934.15, 4934.16, 4934.17, 4934.18, 4934.20, 4934.21, 4934.22, 4934.24, 5311.082, and 5321.061 of the Revised Code regarding measurement of public utility service to premises administered by a landlord, condominium unit owners association, or manufactured home park operator.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF OHIO:
Section 1. That sections 4781.401, 4934.01, 4934.02, 4934.03, 4934.04, 4934.05, 4934.06, 4934.07, 4934.08, 4934.09, 4934.10, 4934.11, 4934.12, 4934.13, 4934.14, 4934.15, 4934.16, 4934.17, 4934.18, 4934.20, 4934.21, 4934.22, 4934.24, 5311.082, and 5321.061 of the Revised Code be enacted to read as follows:
Sec. 4781.401.  A park operator shall comply with Chapter 4934. of the Revised Code.
Sec. 4934.01. As used in this chapter:
(A) "Competitive retail electric service" has the same meaning as in section 4928.01 of the Revised Code.
(B) "Competitive retail natural gas service" has the same meaning as in section 4929.01 of the Revised Code.
(C) "Cooperative" means an entity that is owned and operated exclusively by and solely for its customers to provide electric, gas, water, or sewage disposal service and includes an electric cooperative as defined in section 4928.01 of the Revised Code.
(D) "Dwelling unit," "landlord," and "tenant" have the same meanings as in section 5321.01 of the Revised Code.
(E) "Electric light company," "gas company," "heating or cooling company," "natural gas company," "sewage disposal system company," and "water-works company" have the same meanings as in section 4905.03 of the Revised Code.
(F) "Manufactured home" has the same meaning as in division (C)(4) of section 3781.06 of the Revised Code.
(G) "Master meter" means a device that collectively measures the public utility service provided to multiple residents, unit owners, or tenants by a public utility and includes a master-meter system as defined in section 4905.90 of the Revised Code, but excludes a submeter.
(H) "Mobile home" has the same meaning as in section 4501.01 of the Revised Code.
(I) "Park operator" and "resident" have the same meanings as in section 4781.01 of the Revised Code.
(J) "Premises" means a dwelling unit, manufactured home, mobile home, or unit.
(K) "Public utility" has the same meaning as in section 4905.02 of the Revised Code.
(L) "Public utility service" includes service provided by an electric light company, gas company, heating or cooling company, natural gas company, sewage disposal system company, and water-works company, but excludes a municipal corporation and cooperative.
(M) "Submeter" means a device that measures only the amount of public utility service provided to the premises of a resident, unit owner, or tenant, but does not include a meter of a resident, unit owner, or tenant who is a customer of the public utility providing the service.
(N) "Third-party reseller" means any person, corporation, or other entity that purchases electricity, natural gas, or water from a public utility, a supplier of competitive retail electric service, a supplier of competitive retail natural gas service, municipal corporation, municipal authority, or regional water and sewer district for resale to consumers. "Third-party reseller" does not include a public utility, cooperative, municipal corporation, or municipal authority.
(O) "Unit," "unit owner," and "unit owners association" have the same meanings as in section 5311.01 of the Revised Code.
Sec. 4934.02.  For all premises receiving public utility service and that are administered by a park operator, unit owners association, or landlord, on and after the effective date of this section, including property converted to a condominium property or apartment units after that date, each operator, association, and landlord shall measure public utility service provided to the premises through a master meter, through a master meter in conjunction with a submeter, or through a public-utility-owned meter.
Sec. 4934.03.  All submeters and master meters operating under Chapter 4934. of the Revised Code shall meet the same standards for meters established by the public utilities commission under section 4905.28 of the Revised Code.
Sec. 4934.04.  If a park operator, unit owners association, or landlord, after the effective date of this section, installs a submeter to measure public utility service provided to the premises of a resident, unit owner, or tenant, the operator, association, or landlord shall notify the public utilities commission of the installation within thirty days of the installation. Such notification shall include the address and county of each of the specific premises for which a submeter was installed, the square footage of the premises, and the type of public utility service to be measured by the submeter.
Sec. 4934.05.  A park operator, unit owners association, or landlord may enter into a contract with a third-party reseller that requires the reseller to provide public utility service in accordance with this chapter to residents, unit owners, and tenants, as applicable.
Sec. 4934.06.  (A) A park operator, unit owners association, or landlord, or a third-party reseller under contract pursuant to section 4934.05 of the Revised Code, shall submit, at least once per calendar year, the following information to the public utilities commission:
(1) The address of each of the premises to which the operator, association, landlord, or reseller provides public utility service;
(2) The type of public utility service provided to each of the premises identified in division (A)(1) of this section;
(3) The rate at which the operator, association, landlord, or reseller charges the resident, unit owner, or tenant for the service, measured on the appropriate unit basis, as follows:
(a) For electricity, in kilowatt hours (Kwh);
(b) For natural gas, in centum cubic feet (Ccf);
(c) For water, in centum cubic feet (Ccf);
(d) For sewage removal, in centum cubic feet (Ccf).
(B) If the operator, association, landlord, or reseller changes its rate within the six months following the reporting of its rate to the commission, it must report the new rate to the commission within fifteen days of the effective date of the change in rate.
(C) The information reported under this section is a public record.
Sec. 4934.07. (A) A park operator, unit owners association, or landlord, or a third-party reseller under contract pursuant to section 4934.05 of the Revised Code, that measures public utility service to a premises through a master meter that is not operated in conjunction with a submeter, may use a formula, including a ratio utility billing system, for determining the cost of the public utility service provided to the premises.
(B) A park operator, unit owners association, or landlord shall provide a written explanation of the formula at the time a resident, owner, or tenant enters into a rental agreement, association agreement, or lease. A third-party reseller shall include a written explanation of the formula on any contract for public utility service to the premises between the reseller and the resident, owner, or tenant at the time the contract is entered into and on each bill for public utility service to the premises.
Sec. 4934.08.  (A) A park operator, unit owners association, or landlord that meets both of the following must comply with division (B) of this section:
(1) The operator, association, or landlord has not entered into a contract with a third-party reseller under section 4934.05 of the Revised Code;
(2) The operator, association, or landlord measures public utility service to a premises through a master meter that is not operated in conjunction with a submeter.
(B) The operator, association, or landlord shall include in all rental, association, and lease agreements both of the following:
(1) The formula used for determining the cost of the public utility service provided to the premises;
(2) The portion of the rental or fee charged under an agreement or lease that represents the actual cost of public utility service provided to the premises.
Sec. 4934.09. A park operator, unit owners association, or landlord, or a third-party reseller under contract pursuant to section 4934.05 of the Revised Code, that measures public utility service to a premises through a master meter that is not operated in conjunction with a submeter shall not:
(A) Charge residents, unit owners, or tenants more, in aggregate, for public utility service than the total amount the operator, association, landlord, or third-party reseller is charged for that service; or
(B) Charge each resident, unit owner, or tenant for the public utility service an amount that exceeds the charge imposed for public utility service to comparable premises of other residential customers in the same service territory.
Sec. 4934.10. (A) A park operator, unit owners association, or landlord, or a third-party reseller under contract pursuant to section 4934.05 of the Revised Code, that measures public utility service through a submeter shall not charge a resident, unit owner, or tenant for the public utility service an amount that exceeds the charge imposed for public utility service to comparable premises of other residential customers in the same service territory.
(B) The operator, association, landlord, or reseller may charge the resident, unit owner, or tenant for the actual amount for the service if the charge does not exceed the limit described in division (A) of this section.
Sec. 4934.11.  A park operator, unit owners association, or landlord, or third-party reseller under contract pursuant to section 4934.05 of the Revised Code, may charge residents, unit owners, or tenants an amount for public utility service that exceeds the limitations imposed under section 4934.09 or 4934.10 of the Revised Code if both of the following apply:
(A) The charge is derived, in whole or in part, from costs incurred under a long-term supply contract;
(B) The charge did not exceed the limitations imposed under section 4934.09 or 4934.10 of the Revised Code at the time the long-term supply contract was entered into.
Sec. 4934.12. (A) A park operator, unit owners association, or landlord, or a third-party reseller under contract pursuant to section 4934.05 of the Revised Code, that measures public utility service through a submeter shall include in any bill to a resident, unit owner, or tenant, all of the following:
(1) The beginning and ending submeter reading;
(2) The dates the submeter was read;
(3) The rate charged for service to the resident, unit owner, or tenant;
(4) The rate charged for service to a single-family home in the same county.
(B) An operator, association, landlord, or reseller described in division (A) shall ensure that each bill is generated at least fourteen days prior to the date upon which payment is due.
Sec. 4934.13.  (A) For the purpose of providing a prospective or actual resident, unit owner, or tenant with useful knowledge regarding the cost of submetered public utilities at an individual premises, the public utilities commission shall provide each park operator, unit owners association, or landlord, or third-party reseller under contract pursuant to section 4934.05 of the Revised Code for each of the premises for which a submeter is installed, a document, or means of obtaining a document, disclosing the following information in a format that is clear and easily understood:
(1) The price per unit, as provided to the specific premises, of any public utility service that is measured by a submeter when provided to the specific premises;
(2) The price of the submetered public utility service as a percentage of the maximum allowable price;
(3) The mean and median price per unit by which the submetered public utility service is provided in the county where the specific premises is located;
(4) An estimate of the predicted annual cost, in dollars, of the submetered public utility service provided to the specific premises, together with the predicted average annual cost in that county of the same public utility service to properties of comparable square footage.
(B) Each park operator, unit owners association, or landlord, or third-party reseller under contract pursuant to section 4934.05 of the Revised Code, shall provide to each prospective resident, unit owner, or tenant, prior to the signing of a lease, rental or purchase agreement, or service contract, and once per year thereafter, and each time the rate is changed pursuant to section 4934.06 of the Revised Code, to each resident, unit owner, or tenant, the document under division (A) of this section.
(C) Each park operator, unit owners association, landlord, and third-party reseller shall be required to keep, for each document provided under division (B) of this section, a copy signed by the resident, unit owner, or tenant, for three years.
Sec. 4934.14.  (A) A park operator, unit owners association, or landlord, or a third-party reseller under contract pursuant to section 4934.05 of the Revised Code, shall maintain adequate records detailing all submeter measurements for public utility services provided to a premises and the charges for the services.
(B) Upon reasonable prior request, the operator, association, landlord, or reseller shall make all records created under this section available for inspection by a resident, unit owner, or tenant during normal business hours and shall keep the records for a minimum of three years after the termination of the lease, rental agreement, or association agreement, or any contract for public utility service between a resident, unit owner, or tenant and the reseller.
Sec. 4934.15. A park operator, unit owners association, or landlord, or a third-party reseller under contract pursuant to section 4934.05 of the Revised Code, may impose an administrative fee, late fee, or any other fee relating to the provision of, or payment for, public utility service supplied to a tenant's, resident's, or unit owner's premises.
Sec. 4934.16. (A) A park operator, unit owners association, landlord, or a third-party reseller under contract pursuant to section 4934.05 of the Revised Code, may prorate or allocate the costs for public utility service that is provided to common areas and for commonly used equipment available for use by a resident, unit owner, or tenant.
(B) If an operator, association, landlord, or reseller prorates or allocates the costs for public utility service that is provided to common areas and for commonly used equipment, the operator, association, landlord, or reseller shall disclose prior to entering into a rental agreement, association agreement, or lease, or a contract for public utility service with a resident, unit owner, or tenant that the public utility service for such areas and equipment will be so prorated or allocated.
Sec. 4934.17. If a fee is imposed pursuant to section 4934.15 of the Revised Code or a cost is prorated or allocated pursuant to section 4934.16 of the Revised Code, the fee or cost or both, plus the charge imposed for public utility service to the premises, shall not exceed the charge imposed for public utility service to comparable premises of other residential customers in the service territory.
Sec. 4934.18.  (A) A park operator, unit owners association, a landlord, or a third-party reseller under contract pursuant to section 4934.05 of the Revised Code, may terminate the service of facilitating, through a submeter or otherwise, public utility service for nonpayment of public utility service. Such termination shall be done in accordance with all rules for terminating public utility service for nonpayment established by the public utilities commission of Ohio as such rules are applied to electric light companies or natural gas companies.
(B) Notwithstanding Chapters 1923. and 5321. of the Revised Code, a park operator or landlord shall not evict a resident or tenant if public utility service has been terminated under division (A) of this section.
Sec. 4934.20.  No park operator, unit owners association, landlord, or third-party reseller shall enter into a rental agreement, association agreement, or lease, or a contract for public utility service with a resident, unit owner, or tenant that conflicts with the provisions of this chapter.
Sec. 4934.21.  Nothing in this chapter shall limit the authority of the public utilities commission to prohibit or limit the reselling of public utility service.
Sec. 4934.22. If a landlord, park operator, unit owners association, or third-party reseller violates any provision of this chapter, the affected resident, unit owner, or tenant may bring an action to recover double the amount of damages resulting from the violation, obtain injunctive relief to prevent the recurrence of the conduct, and obtain a judgment for reasonable attorney's fees.
For purposes of this section, "damages" means either or both of the following, as applicable to the facts based upon which an action is brought under this division:
(A) The total amount charged to the resident, unit owner, or tenant for the public utility service for the period during which a violation of this chapter occurred;
(B) The total amount of administrative, late, or other fees charged to the resident in violation of section 4934.15 of the Revised Code.
Sec. 4934.24.  The public utilities commission shall adopt rules that do the following:
(A) Establish standards and other requirements for ratio utility billing systems;
(B) Establish a method for determining the amount other residential customers in a service territory are charged for the public utility service for comparison as described in sections 4934.09, 4934.10, and 4934.15 of the Revised Code.
Sec. 5311.082.  A unit owners association shall comply with Chapter 4934. of the Revised Code.
Sec. 5321.061.  A landlord shall comply with Chapter 4934. of the Revised Code.
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