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.
March 21, 2007
WE ALL KNOW what the road to hell is paved with. City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell would like to add a few more bricks to that road with a proposal that would put a question on the ballot to ask voters whether the Public Utility Commission should deny PGW's recent rate-hike request. Blackwell's motives may be well-intentioned -she says she's concerned about people who cannot afford to pay more for their gas bills - but they show a fundamental lack of understanding of PGW, and a fundamental lack of concern about those who may not be the poorerst among us but who still struggle to make ends meet.
December 23, 2006 |
Asking gas customers in Philadelphia to pony up another $100 million a year is going to be a challenge, Pennsylvania's top utility regulator said yesterday. Wendell F. Holland, chairman of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), said the health of the Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) and the burden of its high rates on consumers "is the number-one energy issue in Philadelphia. " He added, "Given the number of PGW customers entering the winter heating season without service and the fiscal needs of this company, this rate increase request will prove to be a challenging case for this commission to consider.
November 9, 2006 |
Calling the Philadelphia Gas Works a financial mess too big for the company to solve alone, State Rep. Dwight Evans (D., Phila.) yesterday said state regulators need the legal power to force a merger of the ailing business with a healthier one. Evans said at a news conference he would introduce legislation in January that would give the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) the authority to order an acquisition of PGW. Such action would be unprecedented. Regulators already have explicit power to force mergers of water companies in Pennsylvania, but not larger energy companies.