"I am greatly concerned about the intense public attention. . . . "
Robert S. Tongren, Consumers’ Counsel
10 West Broad Street, Suite 1800
Columbus, Ohio 43215-3485
November 5, 2003
Jerome Solove, Chairman
OCC Governing Board
141 East Town Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
I am greatly concerned about the intense public attention focused on decisions made by the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel. It is my fear that this controversy will impede the future work of the office and it is for this reason that it is time for me to step down as Consumers’ Counsel effective today.
During my tenure, I have been extremely proud of the work accomplished by my staff and believe that we have achieved much in the way of educating and representing the interests of residential utility customers to the best of our ability. As the utility environment changed so did the way we conducted our business. Gaining savings or competitive choices for residential consumers was always first and foremost on our minds whether we negotiated or litigated a case.
We partnered with natural gas utilities to develop customer choice programs. We provided benefits when the electric market opened to competition. We negotiated SBC Ohio’s Advantage Ohio plan, which provided the first ever decrease in the company’s basic telephone rates. We placed an emphasis on helping consumers with utility complaints and developed an outreach and education program that has helped individuals and groups across the state become more informed about their utility services. We saved consumers over $1.7 billion.
I would like to thank you, the Governing Board and my staff for allowing us to achieve many important benefits for the residential utility customers of Ohio. I have the utmost confidence that the Board will help the office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel continue its important work in serving the public interest today, tomorrow and well into the future.
Robert S. Tongren