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BUSINESS
September 24, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
Uber, the ride-sharing company that matches riders with drivers by smartphone app, will now provide connections to wheelchair-accessible vehicles in Philadelphia, it said Monday. Uber has contracted with licensed paratransit drivers who have accessible vehicles, and customers can begin using the service immediately, Uber spokesman Taylor Bennett said Monday. The announcement came one day before a legislative committee is to meet in Harrisburg to consider legislation that would permit Uber and other ride-share services to operate in Philadelphia and around the state.
NEWS
September 4, 2014 | By Michaelle Bond, Inquirer Staff Writer
In response to Sunoco Pipeline L.P.'s plans for a pumping station, a Chester County town passed a series of amendments to its zoning code Tuesday that will make it harder for pipeline companies to win approval for their projects. Under the amendments West Goshen Township supervisors approved at a special public hearing, the township will restrict pipeline companies to industrial areas, require them to prove their projects are necessary as public utilities, and force them to meet a series of requirements regarding safety and emergency planning.
BUSINESS
August 23, 2014 | By Andrew Maykuth, Inquirer Staff Writer
Despite an adverse advisory opinion that its Mariner East pipeline does not qualify as a public utility, Sunoco Logistics Partners is plowing ahead with plans to develop the Marcellus Shale project. The Philadelphia company, in a filing this week, urged the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to reject a recommendation from two PUC administrative law judges that its Marcellus pipeline is not a public utility. The company, which is repurposing a petroleum pipeline to transport Marcellus Shale ethane and propane to Marcus Hook, said the judges' recommendation in July was "clearly erroneous" and misinterprets previous court and PUC rulings.
BUSINESS
July 26, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
"Ride-share" services Uber and Lyft won temporary authority from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Thursday to operate in Pittsburgh and surrounding Allegheny County. In another development, taxi cabs in Philadelphia will be required to install security cameras this year, following approval Thursday by the state Independent Regulatory Review Commission. The security cameras will monitor both the driver and passengers, and are designed to improve safety for both, said the Philadelphia Parking Authority, which regulates taxis in Philadelphia.
NEWS
July 24, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
"Ride-share" car services such as UberX and Lyft are transforming the taxi business in Philadelphia, and they don't even operate here. Yet. The San Francisco-based ride-share companies connect people looking for a ride with private car owners looking for extra money. Their phone apps allow riders to summon a car, pay for the service, and get a receipt, all electronically. Following a foray into Pittsburgh, where they were welcomed by the mayor and the county executive but banned by state regulators, Philadelphia is a likely target this year, industry insiders say. Philadelphia is the only major Northeastern city where Lyft and UberX have not brought their "disruptive" business model of launching first and seeking permission later.
BUSINESS
June 27, 2014 | By Jeff Gelles, Inquirer Columnist
When the ride-sharing evangelists of Uber and Lyft square off Thursday in Pittsburgh against staff from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, will it be the latest act in that timeworn drama, New Technology vs. the Old Regulatory State ? Or are officials raising timely alarms about real risks? So far, I'm not convinced either way. Both services have operated for months in Pittsburgh in defiance of state regulators. Since this drama's next act could play out here, it's a good time to see how it's unfolding.
BUSINESS
June 12, 2014 | By Andrew Maykuth, Inquirer Staff Writer
An array of critics has challenged Sunoco Pipeline L.P.'s attempt to win crucial public utility status for its embattled Mariner East pipeline by recasting the local benefits of the project. Several advocacy groups filed objections with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission before Monday's deadline, calling on the PUC to reject Sunoco's application to declare its cross-state pipeline a public utility, which would allow it to bypass local zoning controls. Sunoco is repurposing an 83-year-old refined-products pipeline to transport Marcellus Shale natural-gas liquids to Marcus Hook, where most of the material - ethane and propane - would be exported.
BUSINESS
May 21, 2014 | By Andrew Maykuth, Inquirer Staff Writer
Too many customers received mixed messages, contradictory messages - or no message at all - from their electric utilities during the massive February ice storm, according to state regulators. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Monday documented shortcomings in the way Peco Energy Co. and other electric utilities communicated with customers during the storm, which knocked out 960,000 customers, including 724,000 Peco customers. While generally commending the utilities' response, the PUC made 11 recommendations - mostly regarding outreach with customers and local governments.
BUSINESS
May 1, 2014 | By Andrew Maykuth, Inquirer Staff Writer
Sunoco Pipeline L.P. said Tuesday that it was switching strategies in its effort to move Marcellus Shale products to Marcus Hook and avoid local zoning hurdles. The company said it was withdrawing an application for a controversial pumping station in Chester County on its cross-state pipeline called Mariner East. Instead, Sunoco is concentrating on getting the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to rule that it is a public utility corporation and therefore exempt from cumbersome local zoning.
BUSINESS
April 25, 2014 | By Andrew Maykuth, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Wednesday delayed ordering an investigation of FirstEnergy Solutions' polar vortex surcharge on its fixed-rate customers. The PUC removed a question from its agenda to initiate an investigation of the supplier's one-time charge of $5 to $15 on its fixed-rate customers. FirstEnergy called it a "pass-through" charge to offset some of the extra charges imposed on it in January by regional grid operator PJM Interconnection Inc. The company is one of the region's largest competitive energy suppliers.
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