The Ohio Senate Health Committee is expected to vote today on the re-appointment of Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis to the State Medical Board of Ohio. Gov. Kasich has selected Gonidakis to serve in a seat reserved for a “consumer” representative.
The following is a statement from ProgressOhio Executive Director Sandy Theis in opposition to his reappointment:
“As a lobbyist, Mike Gonidakis represents American Power & Light – a firm that buys electricity and water from utilities, then sells them to unsuspecting customers at a huge increase. The practice is so predatory that is banned in many other states. Mike Gonidakis is no champion of consumers. The Senate should vote NO on his confirmation and Gov. Kasich should find a real consumer advocate to serve on the state medical board.’’
According to an investigation by the Columbus Dispatch:
Unlike most states, Ohio allows unregulated, third-party “submeter” companies to make big profits by reselling electricity and water to residents of apartments and condominiums.
A 10-month investigation by The Dispatch found that residents pay markups of 5 percent to 40 percent when their landlords enter into contracts with certain submeter companies. If the customer fails to pay, the companies sometimes resort to collection tactics that would be illegal for regulated utilities, including shutting off heat in winter and even eviction.
Leading the charge against these submeter firms has been the Office of Consumers’ Counsel, which advocates for residential utility customers, the Ohio Poverty Law Center and Legal Aid Columbus. Gonidakis has helped to defeat legislation to reform the submetering industry.