Ohio renters face utility markups up to 40 percent

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A newspaper investigation has found that Ohio renters pay markups for utilities as high as 40 percent when their landlords contract with some third-party companies that make big profits from reselling electricity and water.

The companies are unregulated, and if customers are unable or refuse to pay, can resort to collection tactics that are illegal for regulated utilities. That can include shutting off the heat in winter and even eviction.

Yet no state agency has the authority to respond.

Attorney General Mike DeWine tells The Columbus Dispatch (http://bit.ly/179ACyM) that would require action by the Ohio Legislature.

Unlike most states, Ohio allows the so-called "submeter" companies to operate.

The newspaper estimates that up to 20,000 people in the Columbus area alone are affected by the markups.

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Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, http://www.dispatch.com

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