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.
December 13, 2008 |
A deadly fire blamed on an untended candle has drawn attention to a case last month before the Public Utility Commission that centered on whether a central Pennsylvania power company wrongly cut off electricity to a Dauphin County family. Advocates for Pennsylvania's poor say the case highlights a larger concern, especially in the face of winter and a deep recession: that sharp increases in cutoffs this year by Pennsylvania utilities could lead not only to widespread hardship but also to more tragedies.
August 23, 2008 |
Peco Energy filed a proposal with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission that would triple its annual aid to low-income natural-gas customers in Philadelphia's Pennsylvania suburbs. The increase in aid to $13.7 million, from $4.3 million, is part of a petition to settle Peco's March request for its first rate increase for distributing natural gas in 20 years. If the settlement is approved by the PUC, it would take effect Jan. 1 and add $10.83, or 7.6 percent, to the average monthly residential bill of $141.
June 3, 2008 |
State utility regulators complained yesterday to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that its new approach to meeting long-term electricity demand was too expensive. The system will cost Pennsylvania users $5 billion too much during the next three years, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission said. The PUC was joined in the complaint by the utility commissions in New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland, and by consumer advocates. The new program, called the "Reliability Pricing Model," changed the way electricity auctions are conducted by PJM Interconnection L.L.C.
May 22, 2008 |
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission today put off Peco's requested 11.2 percent increase in natural gas rates until Dec. 30. The Philadelphia utility had sought an effective date for the rate increase of May 30, but the commission voted today to review the request to determine whether the increase was necessary. A PUC administrative law judge will make a recommendation to the commission. Peco filed the rate proposal on March 31. The change would boost the monthly bill for a typical customer, using eight million cubic feet of natural gas a month, by $12.79, to $130.
September 18, 2007
LAST WEEK, the Public Utility Commission denied PGW's request for a $100 million rate hike - argued by PGW as necessary to make infrastructure improvements and to grapple with its $1.2 billion debt, which puts the city-owned utility on the brink of a junk-bond rating. The PUC instead granted it a $25 million increase intended for PGW to pay back the $45 million it owes the city. PUC Chairman Wendell Holland says that one of the best options for PGW is selling it. Given the realities of PGW and the lack of help from its regulatory boss, that's a little like aiding a starving person not with food, but with the advice that he really ought to eat a little more.
September 14, 2007 |
Utility regulators in Pennsylvania yesterday voted only to give the Philadelphia Gas Works a quarter of what it wanted in higher base rates - with the top commissioner adding the unusual footnote that everyone would be better off if the city sold the debt-saddled company. The average annual residential bill for PGW customers now will increase by about $57 - or 3 percent. The rate increase becomes effective Oct. 1. PGW, which is owned by the City of Philadelphia, had sought to increase its base rates by $100 million a year.
September 12, 2007
THE COUNTRY'S current foreclosure crisis is driven in part by high-priced loans people took out against their homes. These loans, often used to make home repairs, enticed people with low "teaser rates," which quickly exploded into much higher rates that borrowers were unable to pay, and which stripped them of any equity they had in their houses. That crisis is similar to one faced by PGW, which for years has had to borrow money to make improvements to its system. And the city-owned utility has been meeting its staggering debt obligations - now at $1.2 billion - by taking on more debt.