May 31, 2011 |
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, responding to an Inquirer article about potential overcharging by several residential electricity suppliers, has called upon the power industry to comply with PUC billing regulations. In a letter dated Friday, the PUC ordered the state's electric utilities and more than 100 licensed electricity suppliers to disclose any billing irregularities and "planned corrective measures. " The PUC's letter was prompted by a May 15 Inquirer article that showed how a Brooklyn electricity supplier had failed to disclose its rates on customer bills, and how another supplier had mistakenly billed 5,770 residential customers for sales tax. The PUC, concerned that the billing goofs could undermine consumer confidence in Pennsylvania's nascent deregulated electrical markets, gave the suppliers until June 10 to account for their billing practices.
May 8, 2011 |
Robert F. Powelson, the chairman of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, is not impressed that 18 percent of Peco Energy Co.'s electric customers have switched suppliers since Jan. 1. "That's great," Powelson said in an interview. "What's the problem? Eighty-two percent are paying the default rate. They're paying a premium. Shop. Save money. " Powelson, appointed to the commission in 2008 and promoted by Gov. Corbett to chairman this year, is leading a charge to review the state's deregulated electricity markets.
October 29, 2010 |
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has run afoul over a free chicken dinner from Peco Energy Co. The PUC this week agreed to pick up the $3,000 tab for a catered lunch that Peco ordered Oct. 14 to recognize 105 commission staffers who helped reduce a backlog of customer complaints. The commission's Bureau of Consumer Services initially accepted Peco's lunch offer to mark the end of a six-month campaign to eliminate a backlog of 13,547 informal complaints. About 20 percent of the complaints were aimed at Peco, the state's largest utility.
October 22, 2010
Pennsylvania's Public Utility Commission has approved Aqua America Inc.'s plan to issue as much as $143.4 million of long-term, first mortgage bonds to secure tax-exempt bonds that will be issued by the state on the utility's behalf, Aqua said today. The Bryn Mawr-based utility will use proceeds from the state's Economic Development Financing Authority bonds to help finance Aqua's $1 billion multiyear capital improvement plan. The state will issue the bonds in $5,000 denominations.
April 16, 2010 |
Texas pipeline companies have the power of eminent domain, which allows them to site pipelines even over the objection of property owners. Can they do that in Pennsylvania? The short answer: Yes. According to the Public Utility Commission, six pipeline companies are registered in Pennsylvania as utilities, giving them the right to take easements by eminent domain - at a fair-market rate. In January, a Texas company applied to the PUC to build a pipeline in Susquehanna County to serve Marcellus Shale gas wells, which has triggered a full-scale review of the state's policy.
January 15, 2010 |
A proposed $43.2 million water-rate increase sought by Aqua Pennsylvania Inc. will get a full review by the state Public Utility Commission. The PUC voted yesterday to investigate the request, which would add 11.4 percent, or $66, to the annual $579 bill of a typical suburban residence using 50,400 gallons. The commission is expected to take about seven months to consider the increase. Aqua Pennsylvania has 406,000 customers in 27 counties, with a heavy concentration around Philadelphia.
March 18, 2009
WE APPLAUD the Daily News for its strong support of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and this year's extension of the program (editorial, March 3). While the potential for closing the program with money unspent left you scratching your heads, your call for further advocacy from the Public Utility Commission left us scratching ours. For years, the PUC has been a vocal LIHEAP supporter. Even though we have no oversight of its funding or disbursements, the PUC has consistently called for expansion of the program's funding, eligibility requirements and individual grant amounts.
February 6, 2009 |
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission released 93 recommendations yesterday for saving the perennially cash-strapped Philadelphia Gas Works as much as $7.5 million a year, in addition to a onetime savings of $2 million. All the savings could come from supply purchasing and customer service. The city-owned utility said it would fully or partially follow all but two recommendations, which it said were beyond the control of management. One was the elimination of layers of oversight of the utility, which reports to the Philadelphia Gas Commission and Philadelphia Facilities Management Corp.
January 13, 2009 |
DEREGULATION of Pennsylvania's electric rates is scheduled for 2010. This will remove rate caps that have been in place for 10 years. Experts predict that this will increase electric rates to consumers up to 65 percent, with some consumer advocates arguing that the increase will be closer to 100 percent. Some legislators say this could be the biggest tax increase in state history. Years ago, the electric companies promised that deregulation would create increased competition and savings for consumers.
December 26, 2008
THE WARMTH of Christmas will last a while longer, but those of us lucky enough to feel it could also use a reminder of the thousands more who have a hard time finding warmth at any time of the year. Those include -but aren't limited to - the worrisome number of homeless who are perishing on our streets. Over the last year, 85 homeless people have died, more that twice the number just five years ago. And as the merciless economy seeks out more victims, the city is going to be strained to make sure that number doesn't rise.