September 8, 2012 |
State regulators on Friday stepped up their inquiry into the safety of Peco Energy Co.'s smart-meter installation program, which the utility suspended last month after some devices caught fire. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission scheduled an informational meeting for Thursday at its Harrisburg offices and has summoned representatives from Peco and its three meter vendors. Peco, in a formal written response Friday to questions from the PUC, updated the number of meters that have overheated from 15 to 26. Some resulted in fires that damaged the area where the meter is mounted to the wall, and three caused fires that spread beyond the meter, said Cathy Engel Menendez, Peco's spokeswoman.
September 3, 2012 |
A proposed new safety rule requiring Pennsylvania utilities to move some residential gas meters from basements to exterior walls has triggered anxiety among preservationists, who fear a proliferation of unsightly devices on urban streets. Scores of commentators representing historical societies, neighborhood associations, and preservation commissions have submitted objections to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. The Independent Regulatory Review Commission, the state's advisory panel on new regulations, on Aug. 15 found so many faults with the PUC's proposal that it suggested the agency withdraw the plan.
August 16, 2012 |
The Marcellus Shale Coalition, the natural gas industry trade group, is expanding its presence in Southeastern Pennsylvania by hiring Shari Williams, a former communications specialist at the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and the wife of State Sen. Anthony H. Williams (D., Philadelphia). Williams, who worked with the PUC for 17 years, led consumer education events on energy and utility issues in Eastern Pennsylvania. She will take on a new role with the shale coalition as outreach manager in the Philadelphia area, where the industry is stepping up efforts to address public apprehension with fracking, which takes place mostly in western and northern part of the state.
June 23, 2012 |
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Thursday approved the transfer of pipelines connected with the ConocoPhillips refinery in Trainer, removing an obstacle to the refinery's sale to Delta Air Lines Inc. The PUC approved the late-hour request on a fast track after the companies involved in the sale realized that some pipelines came under the jurisdiction of the utility commission, and that regulatory approval was required. The application was filed on May 25. Commission chairman Robert F. Powelson extolled the PUC's contribution to efforts to assist in the Delaware County refinery's sale, which is being supported with $30 million in grants from the Corbett administration.
June 8, 2012 |
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Thursday approved a 4.1 percent rate increase for Aqua Pennsylvania, less than half of the water utility's original request. The monthly bill for a typical residential customer using 4,745 gallons per month would increase $1.99 from $52.86 to $54.85. The commission approved a settlement for a $16.7 million annual increase that had been reached among Aqua, the Commission's Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement, the state's Office of Consumer Advocate and the Aqua Large Users Group.
June 2, 2012 |
Mass acceptance of electric cars and natural-gas-powered trucks is still a few years away, but the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Thursday pondered the potential for alternative-fuel vehicles to overwhelm critical infrastructure like the electric grid and gas utilities. "Should we be worried?" commission chairman Robert F. Powelson wondered at the end of a six-hour PUC forum at Drexel University. "Who pays for it? That's a question as you make upgrades to the distribution system.
May 25, 2012 |
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Thursday unanimously approved a motion to assess a $75,000 civil penalty against Peco Energy Co. for failing to follow procedures related to a 2009 gas leak and explosion at a house in Upper Merion Township, Montgomery County. The proposed penalty, which is open for public comment for 20 days, is more than double the $35,000 civil settlement that Peco and the PUC's staff had agreed to. Commissioner Wayne E. Gardner proposed the stiffer penalty because he said Peco had failed to remediate a corrosion issue though it was aware of leaks in the area.
April 5, 2012 |
The Delaware River Port Authority will replace its top lawyer next month with a former aide to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. Richard Brown, 68, of Philadelphia, will retire as general counsel, and Danielle McNichol, who joined the DRPA on Wednesday as deputy general counsel, is to take his place. McNichol, 43, of Glen Mills, is former counsel to the chairman of the PUC and was an associate vice president of human resources for the Temple University Health System and counsel to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.
April 5, 2012 |
Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission investigators on Thursday filed a formal complaint seeking to revoke the license of Glacial Energy of Pennsylvania, Inc. for allegedly omitting information in its 2009 application to be an electric generation supplier. The complaint is the PUC's first attempt to put a supplier in Pennsylvania's robust competitive electricity market out of business. The PUC's Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement alleged that Glacial Energy did not report that its chief executive, Gary Mole, had an ownership interest in Franklin Power Co., an electricity supplier whose license was revoked in Texas in 2006.
March 28, 2012 |
Philadelphia's most prominent advocacy law firm for the poor is urging the state to extend a moratorium on utility shutoffs for thousands of low-income households because the state Department of Public Welfare has a large backlog of applications for a federal home energy assistance program. In a March 23 letter to Robert F. Powelson, chairman of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, lawyers from Community Legal Services of Philadelphia asked the commission to tell utilities to hold off on terminating utility service to people with pending applications for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)