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BUSINESS
May 9, 2015 | By Andrew Maykuth, Inquirer Staff Writer
Pennsylvania's Public Utility Commission is getting a new leader to reflect the change of political parties in the governor's mansion, though the commission's composition is unchanged. Democratic Gov. Wolf has named Gladys M. Brown as the PUC's chairwoman, replacing Robert F. Powelson, a Republican from Kennett Square, who had headed the five-member commission since 2011. The changeover occurred cordially at the end of Thursday's PUC meeting, at which Powelson invited Brown to gavel the session to a close.
NEWS
April 25, 2015 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
Drivers for Uber, the electronic ride-hailing service, will be permitted to use older vehicles, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission ruled Thursday. Uber drivers will be able to use vehicles that are up to 10 years old, with fewer than 350,000 miles. But they must wait until new PUC regulations are approved by the state Independent Regulatory Review Commission and published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, which could be June. Lyft, a competing service that also offers rides in private cars, won a similar ruling from the PUC in March.
BUSINESS
April 25, 2015 | By Andrew Maykuth, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission moved forward Thursday to set controversial rules and limits for "net-metering" customers who generate their own power from sources such as solar cells. The commission tentatively adopted regulations that would allow "customer-generators" to produce up to 200 percent of their annual power needs and receive retail electricity prices for any surplus they sell back to the grid. Solar-energy proponents were encouraged that the PUC's rules were more generous than earlier proposals, which would have limited power production to 110 percent of power needs.
NEWS
April 23, 2015 | By Andrew Maykuth, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission published a report Tuesday that suggests seven ways the city-owned Philadelphia Gas Works can speed replacement of its aging pipeline infrastructure. Most of the "opportunities" involve raising prices. The PUC's report recommends that PGW boost charges, cut costs, borrow money, and halt annual payments of $18 million to the city so the utility can direct more money to replacing its system's dangerous gas mains. PGW operates one of the oldest and leakiest gas-distribution systems in the nation.
BUSINESS
March 28, 2015 | By Andrew Maykuth, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission gave Darnell Fassett of Philadelphia an expensive lesson Thursday: When it comes to theft of gas service, there is no mercy rule. The PUC, in a unanimous decision, rejected a recommendation that Fassett be allowed to enter an installment plan to pay the $5,541 Philadelphia Gas Works says he owes. The city-owned utility says the amount is the estimated cost of the natural gas consumed in a house Fassett owns in North Philadelphia, which PGW shut off after discovering in 2013 that it was illegally connected.
NEWS
March 13, 2015 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
Drivers for Lyft, the electronic ride-hailing service, will be permitted to use older vehicles by late May, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission ruled Wednesday. Lyft, which has been seeking to increase its number of drivers in Pennsylvania, will be able to use vehicles that are up to 10 years old, with fewer than 350,000 miles. But it must wait until new PUC regulations are approved by state authorities and published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, which could be as late as May 26. The new vehicle rules will replace the current standard, which requires that taxis and other for-hire vehicles be no older than eight years.
BUSINESS
February 28, 2015 | By Jeff Gelles, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission moved Thursday to deregulate prices for Verizon's landline phone service in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and three other regions - a decision that could lead to sizable price jumps for customers, who pay about $22 a month for traditional local phone service. By a 3-2 vote that drew sharp dissents from the commission's two Democratic appointees, the PUC partly backed Verizon's October petition, which asked that its service be declared "competitive" in the five markets under a 2004 state law that sought to promote phone and Internet competition.
NEWS
February 14, 2015 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Thursday approved a two-year certification for Lyft to operate throughout the state, except in Philadelphia, where the PUC does not regulate taxis or ride-share operators. In Philadelphia, Lyft operates in defiance of a ban by the Philadelphia Parking Authority, which has ruled ride-share operators that connect riders and private drivers through a smart-phone app are illegal taxi services. Lyft's larger competition, Uber, received similar approval last month.
NEWS
January 31, 2015 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Thursday approved a two-year certification for Uber to operate throughout the state, except in Philadelphia, where the PUC does not regulate taxis or ride-share operators. In Philadelphia, UberX operates in defiance of a ban by the Philadelphia Parking Authority, which has ruled ride-share operators that connect riders and private drivers through a smart-phone app are illegal taxi services. The PUC in November had voted to grant Uber authority to operate statewide (except in Philadelphia)
NEWS
January 14, 2015 | By Andrew Maykuth, Inquirer Staff Writer
In the aftermath of the city's failed attempt to sell the Philadelphia Gas Works, state regulators announced plans Monday to step up pressure on the city to accelerate its 88-year gas-main replacement schedule. The Public Utility Commission's move to study PGW pipeline safety is aimed at speeding the rate at which the utility replaces brittle cast-iron mains. PGW operates one of the oldest and leakiest gas distribution systems in the nation. "We can't continue to have this utility run this way," PUC Chairman Robert F. Powelson said.
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