Who is Sam Randazzo and what is the PUCO?

Sam Randazzo, chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.
Sam Randazzo, chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

Who is Sam Randazzo?

In February 2019, Gov. Mike DeWine appointed Randazzo to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, which regulates telecommunications, natural gas and electric companies. Randazzo chairs the PUCO, as well as the Ohio Power Siting Board.

Randazzo has been heavily involved in Ohio energy policy for the past five decades. Prior to his PUCO appointment, Randazzo spent more than two decades at McNeese, Wallace & Nurick LLC.

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He began his career as a staff attorney at the PUCO and later as an assistant attorney general before entering private practice. He has represented Industrial Energy Users-Ohio since 1992, and he been a critic of Ohio’s renewable energy mandates put in place in 2008.

Energy News Network reported that in his first year as chairman, the PUCO and Siting Board have rendered decisions that blocked solar development and made it harder for wind energy projects.

What is the PUCO?

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio is a five-member board appointed by the governor that regulates utilities, including natural gas and electric companies, rail and trucking firms and landline telephone service.

What are Randazzo’s financial interests?

Randazzo owns a $581,000, 3,000-square-foot condo in Columbus and last month purchased a $600,000, 2,300-square-foot house in Marble Cliff, an exclusive suburb near downtown Columbus, according to Franklin County property records. He and his wife own two other properties as well.

He also owns two consulting businesses: Sustainability Funding Alliance of Ohio and IEU Administration Co. Sustainability Funding Alliance of Ohio did work for FirstEnergy Solutions, according to federal bankruptcy filings. FirstEnergy Solutions, now called Energy Harbor, is an Akron-based company that owns two nuclear power plants in Ohio. It is a former subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp.

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