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Government/Politics

Kasich's Appointment Of Democratic Energy Lawyer To PUCO Charges Up Some Critics

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Karen Kasler
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The Public Utilities Commission voted to approve the rate plans for AEP and FirstEnergy on March 31, 2016.

Gov. John Kasich’s new appointment to the commission that regulates utilities in Ohio is getting mixed reviews.

Democratic lawyer Howard Petricoff of Columbus has a long history in energy – including the recent work he did against the controversial rate plans that AEP and FirstEnergy brought to the PUCO to shore up their inefficient coal plants. Republican Senate President Keith Faber said in a statement that some of his colleagues are concerned that Petricoff’s past work will affect his ability to make neutral decisions, and that he wants formal hearings before the Senate will grant its consent. But Democratic Rep. David Leland pointed out in a statement that state law requires no more than three members of the PUCO be from the same party, and said the recommendation – quoting here – “effectively restores bipartisanship to one of our state’s most important oversight panels”.