In 2015 Ohio law assigned PUCO with the duties of enforcing Ohio’s damage prevention laws. Aggrieved parties will have the option of reporting alleged compliance failures to the PUCO to be investigated. When the investigation is complete, the PUCO will then forward the information to the Underground Technical Committee (UTC), a committee made up of individuals with knowledge and experience in safe excavation, who will decide if a compliance failure occurred and determine an appropriate consequence.
What is the purpose of the damage prevention registration fee?
In order to pay the costs of enforcing the damage prevention laws, users of the One-Call (Call Before You Dig) system must register with the PUCO and pay an annual registration fee of not more than $50. Failure to register may result in a fine of up to $2,500.
Who must register?
Any excavator, developer, designer or utility operator conducting business in Ohio that participates in (or is required to participate in) the One-Call system must register and pay the registration fee. Individuals who use the One-Call system just to perform excavation work on his or her own property will not be required to pay the registration fee.
How do I register?
The PUCO will identify potential registrants and will then issue invoices to those companies and individuals with instructions that include the amount to pay and where to send the payment.
Why am I receiving an invoice?
Your company has been identified as a commercial excavator, developer, designer or utility operator and, therefore, is required by law to register and pay the fee. Instructions are included on the invoice.
What if I have received an invoice in error?
Each invoice will contain instructions on what to do if you feel you have been invoiced in error.
Who can submit a complaint?
To submit a complaint, you must be an aggrieved party as defined by the law. In other words, you must be a person with duties and obligations under damage prevention law and directly involved with or impacted by the alleged compliance failure.
What information should be included in a complaint description?
The complaint can only be properly addressed with adequate information. Please be detailed in your description and fully explain what happened when the violation occurred. For instance, include information such as: what happened, when it happened, why you believe this is a violation, how you discovered the alleged violation, what happened after you discovered the alleged violation, etc. The more fully the UTC understands the situation the better it can properly decide if a violation occurred. If adequate information is provided it can avoid a delay in the process by ensuring that the UTC doesn't have to request further information from the parties.
Below is an example of an adequate description:
Our company received notification from Ohio811 that there was going to be an excavation at 123 Main St. The ticket requested that the entire property be located and the deadline to mark the ticket was Wednesday at 12:43 p.m. Our locator arrived at the site on Wednesday at 9:20 a.m. to locate our facilities and discovered that the excavator had already begun digging. The excavator had dug a trench approximately 10’ by 5’ and about 6’ deep using a back hoe. A 2” gas service line was exposed and scratched but no gas was released and no one was injured.
What happens after a complaint is submitted?
The PUCO will notify the complainant (person who submitted the complaint) that the case has been assigned and is under investigation. After receiving that information, we encourage you to send any supporting documentation that you have (pictures, damage claims, Ohio811 tickets, etc.) to assist with the investigation. The PUCO will notify the respondent (person who committed the alleged compliance failure) within 10 business days with the details of the complaint and allow them the opportunity to respond.
What will an investigation consist of?
The PUCO will gather statements and documents from both the complainant and the respondent regarding the alleged compliance failure. Both parties will also have an opportunity to provide supporting documentation such as pictures, locate tickets and other relevant material.
Who decides the case?
Cases are reviewed by the UTC, an appointed committee made up of industry experts. Once the UTC has made a decision, both parties will be notified by the PUCO of the outcome.
How can I appeal a decision?
Either party may appeal to the Commission by filing a request for reconsideration. Requests must be submitted in writing, within 30 days, and must state the grounds for reconsideration. Decisions made by the Commission can be appealed by the Ohio Supreme Court.