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NEWS
December 18, 2012
Pennsylvania has more retail electricity suppliers than any other state, according to an industry organization that assesses competitive power markets. The Annual Baseline Assessment of Choice in Canada and the United States counted 47 retail suppliers in Pennsylvania, and ranked the state second overall behind Texas, the most active market in the country. The report commended the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission for constructing market rules that encourage competition. More than 1.9 million Pennsylvania customers - 34 percent - have switched suppliers, according to the PUC's website, www.papowerswitch.com .    - Andrew Maykuth
NEWS
November 15, 2012
The head of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Wednesday told a state Senate panel that the efforts of utilities to restore service following Hurricane Sandy were well coordinated and showed improvement over the response to several big storms in 2011. PUC Chairman Robert F. Powelson told the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee that 90 percent of the state's 1.5 million outages were restored four days after the storm hit. "Given the number of outages and the extent of the damage, this was an impressive feat," he said.
NEWS
November 9, 2012
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Thursday unanimously approved a $75,000 civil penalty against Peco Energy Co. for failing to follow procedures related to a 2009 gas leak and explosion at a house in Upper Merion Township, Montgomery County. A crack in a four-inch cast iron main allowed gas to leak into the crawl space of a house in the 600 block of Summit Street in Swedeland, which caused a "low-level explosion and fire" on Dec. 26, 2009. There were no injuries. The PUC criticized Peco for failing to follow its procedures for identifying and classifying leak migration.
NEWS
October 28, 2012
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission was ordered Friday by a state judge to stop reviewing or challenging municipal ordinances that affect natural gas drilling, the same day the agency admitted to miscalculating how much money some municipalities will receive from the drilling industry. PUC spokeswoman Jennifer Kocher could not say exactly how the error occurred or which municipalities were affected. Kocher also declined to comment on the order by Commonwealth Court Senior Judge Keith Quigley.
BUSINESS
September 9, 2012 | By Andrew Maykuth, Inquirer Staff Writer
State regulators on Friday stepped up their inquiry into the safety of Peco Energy Co.'s smart-meter installation program, which the utility suspended last month after some devices caught fire. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission scheduled an informational meeting for Thursday at its Harrisburg offices and has summoned representatives from Peco and its three meter vendors. Peco, in a formal written response Friday to questions from the PUC, updated the number of meters that have overheated from 15 to 26. Some resulted in fires that damaged the area where the meter is mounted to the wall, and three caused fires that spread beyond the meter, said Cathy Engel Menendez, Peco's spokeswoman.
BUSINESS
September 3, 2012 | By Andrew Maykuth, Inquirer Staff Writer
A proposed new safety rule requiring Pennsylvania utilities to move some residential gas meters from basements to exterior walls has triggered anxiety among preservationists, who fear a proliferation of unsightly devices on urban streets. Scores of commentators representing historical societies, neighborhood associations, and preservation commissions have submitted objections to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. The Independent Regulatory Review Commission, the state's advisory panel on new regulations, on Aug. 15 found so many faults with the PUC's proposal that it suggested the agency withdraw the plan.
NEWS
August 16, 2012 | By Andrew Maykuth, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The Marcellus Shale Coalition, the natural gas industry trade group, is expanding its presence in Southeastern Pennsylvania by hiring Shari Williams, a former communications specialist at the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and the wife of State Sen. Anthony H. Williams (D., Philadelphia). Williams, who worked with the PUC for 17 years, led consumer education events on energy and utility issues in Eastern Pennsylvania. She will take on a new role with the shale coalition as outreach manager in the Philadelphia area, where the industry is stepping up efforts to address public apprehension with fracking, which takes place mostly in western and northern part of the state.
BUSINESS
June 23, 2012 | By Andrew Maykuth and INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Thursday approved the transfer of pipelines connected with the ConocoPhillips refinery in Trainer, removing an obstacle to the refinery's sale to Delta Air Lines Inc. The PUC approved the late-hour request on a fast track after the companies involved in the sale realized that some pipelines came under the jurisdiction of the utility commission, and that regulatory approval was required. The application was filed on May 25. Commission chairman Robert F. Powelson extolled the PUC's contribution to efforts to assist in the Delaware County refinery's sale, which is being supported with $30 million in grants from the Corbett administration.
BUSINESS
June 8, 2012 | Andy Maykuth
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Thursday approved a 4.1 percent rate increase for Aqua Pennsylvania, less than half of the water utility's original request. The monthly bill for a typical residential customer using 4,745 gallons per month would increase $1.99 from $52.86 to $54.85. The commission approved a settlement for a $16.7 million annual increase that had been reached among Aqua, the Commission's Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement, the state's Office of Consumer Advocate and the Aqua Large Users Group.
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