Text messages obtained by the news media show former PUCO Chair Sam Randazzo — while on the state’s payroll and serving as Ohio’s top utility regulator — appears to have been quietly urging lawmakers to enact a provision that saved FirstEnergy tens of millions of dollars.
In 2019, as part of the state budget — and against the advice of the OMA — lawmakers reworked the “significantly excessive earnings test” (SEET) formula. This action protected utilities structured like FirstEnergy from issuing PUCO-ordered consumer refunds.
A June 2019 text message provided to The Ohio Capital Journal shows a FirstEnergy executive told the company’s then-CEO Chuck Jones: “Senate kept SEET in — thanks to … Sam Randazzo.” After this latest revelation, the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel has renewed its call for an audit to look for possible corporate separation violations between FirstEnergy and its affiliates. 11/9/2021