PUC Actions Related to COVID-19

 

PUC offices are closed, but still performing critical functions remotely. Keep checking back, this page will be kept up to date as resources and information change. 
 

Emergency Orders

Emergency Order Press Release on Suspension of Regulatory and Statutory Deadlines -  PUC Permitting Modifications to Administrative Deadlines, Procedural Rules for the Commission’s Filing and Service Requirements, dated March 20, 2020. Docket No. M-2020-3019262. Emergency Order

Emergency Order Press Release on Supplier Marketing -  Press Release: PUC Suspends Door-to-Door, In-Person Marketing Activities for Energy Suppliers During Governor’s Proclamation of Disaster Emergency, dated March 16, 2020. Docket No. M-2020-3019254. Emergency Order

Emergency Order Press Release on Terminations - PUC Prohibits Utility Terminations, Consistent with Governor’s Proclamation of Disaster Emergency, dated March 13, 2020. Docket No. M-2020-3019244. Emergency Order

 

Press Releases

PUC Urges Electric Safety AwarenessPUC urges extra caution with spring projects & increased awareness of home electric safety during current pandemic. Dated April 2, 2020.

PUC Urges Homeowners to Delay Digging Projects - PUC recognizes Safe Digging Month & urges homeowners to delay digging projects during COVID-19 emergency declaration. Dated March 27, 2020.

PUC Shares Tips for Financially-Stressed Households - PUC urges financially stressed consumers to work with utilities to explore options and thanks utilities for safeguarding essential services. Dated March 27, 2020.

PUC Provides Tips on Telemarketing Sales - PUC provides tips on telemarketing sales and urges heightened vigilance for potential scams during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dated March 25, 2020. 

 

Public Meeting

The PUC will hold its next public meeting on Thursday, March 26, 2020, at 10:00 a.m., BUT will be conducted telephonically. Members of the public, the media and other will be able to access the telephone conference call to listen to the meeting.   

Interested parties can listen to the meeting by calling 1-888-917-8050, and then entering passcode 9570961#.

Public Meeting Agenda for March 26, 2020 - Public Meeting Audio

Press Release announcing Telephonic Public Meeting - Dated March 19, 2020.

 

Damage Prevention Committee (DPC) Meeting

The DPC Meeting on April 14, 2020, has been postponed.

 

Consumer Hotline 800-692-7380

  • The Consumer Hotline is Open with limited staff to handle emergency calls. There may be a longer wait time.
  • If you are currently shut off, contact your utility to have your service restored. If the utility is unresponsive, contact our call center.

 

Internet & Telephone Service

FCC’s Keep Americans Connected Pledge – Like the Commission in its Emergency Order, the FCC wants to ensure Americans do not lose their broadband or telephone connectivity as of result of the COVID-19 pandemic. So far moe than 400 companies and associations have signed the pledge to Keep Americans Connected.

Some carriers are doing more than the FCC pledge to Keep America Connected. Questions about your broadband service should be directed to your service provider.

Your Rights to Broadband/Internet Service – Link to more information and the Broadband Bill of Rights

 

Administrative Law Judge Hearings

  • All hearings, even telephonic hearings, have been cancelled through April 10, 2020.
     

2019 Assessment Reports

  • Due to the closure of nonessential businesses, and health concerns over Covid-19, the Commission is waiving the notarization requirement for the 2019 Assessment Reports at this time. For any questions, please contact 717-787-8612.
  • If you have the ability to scan and send the completed form to pucassessments@pa.gov, the report can be processed remotely.
  • If sending by mail, please note we will not be able to process or confirm receipt of the report until we return to the office.

 

Electric Generation Supplier (EGS) Financial Security Filing Guidance Memo

Notice - The Pennsylvania Code at 52 PA Code § 54.40(a) states that an electric generation supplier (EGS) license will not be issued or remain in force until the licensee furnishes a bond or other security approved by the Commission.  The attached memo provides guidance to EGSs regarding the filing of their annual financial securities during the Commission’s COVID-19 office closure. Dated March 25, 2020.

 

eFiling

The Commission is no longer open for business at its offices in Harrisburg and the public cannot be admitted to the Commission’s offices of the Commonwealth Keystone Building. Therefore, we can no longer accept hand delivered filings. We encourage all to use eFiling and eService as much as possible. If you don’t have an eFiling account, it is easy to create one.

We also urge the public to file only what is necessary or urgent.  The Commission did adopt an Emergency Order on March 13, 2020 preventing all shut offs of utility services.

Filings that CANNOT be eFiled

There are certain filings that cannot be eFiled, such as filings containing confidential or proprietary material, and formal complaints from complainants who are appealing a BCS decision and must file an appeal notice and formal complaint form by mail according to 52 Pa. Code Section 56.172. 

There are two options for documents that cannot be eFiled:

  1. Submit by mail – overnight delivery, certified and priority as well as first class; or
  2. Email directly to Secretary Chiavetta at rchiavetta@pa.gov.

Secretary Chiavetta has waived the restriction on emailed filings.  Fillings that contain confidential and proprietary material and other fillings not able to be eFiled, will be permitted to be filed by email.

Please do not fax filings to the Commission as staff has been directed to work from home and we do not have access to the Commission’s fax machines.

Confidential Security Information (CSI)

If you are submitting Confidential Security Information (CSI), it CANNOT be emailed.  Overnight delivery is still the most acceptable method to file CSI, but since mail services have been disrupted, we will make arrangements for hand delivery to the Commission under extraordinary circumstances. Email Secretary Chiavetta if you must file CSI.

For more information, visit the eFiling page.

 

Cybersecurity

The Commission's Office of Cybersecurity Compliance and Oversight (PUC-OCCO) has been monitoring the evolving Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and its impact on cybersecurity. The PUC-OCCO has been taking part in the Department of Homeland Security, Critical Infrastructure Security Agency (DHS-CISA) government and industry coordination calls. These calls issue guidance and information for critical infrastructure partners to prepare for, respond to, and mitigate any effects that a cybersecurity event would have on the utilities regulated by the PUC. During the weekly conference calls, DHS-CISA addresses the following cybersecurity issues:

  • Disinformation Campaigns – Foreign actors are using social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to spread fear about the federal government and to have people visit websites that spread malware.  DHS-CISA has recommended that organizations send an email to their employees to let them know not to trust information from social media services and unofficial news websites.  They also recommend going to the following website if they receive information that they believe is suspicious: https://www.fema.gov/coronavirus-rumor-control.
  • Phishing/Malware Attacks –  With more workers teleworking, DHS-CISA has reported an increase in phishing and malware threats.  DHS-CISA recommends sending an email out to your employees alerting them to the increase in these threats.  They also recommend reinforcing your cyber-hygiene training programs.  DHS-CISA has information on their website that can help you with securing your critical infrastructure. You can find more information at:  https://www.cisa.gov/coronavirus.
  • System Patching – In addition to Phishing/Malware, DHS-CISA has seen an increase in vulnerability scanning and penetration attempts across all sectors.  They are recommending that organizations continue their patching processes and procedures.  They also have the latest threat and vulnerability information at: https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas.
  • Cybersecurity Incident Response Plans – DHS-CISA has recommended that organizations review their cybersecurity incident response plans to make sure they are up-to-date and that your contact information is current.  They are also recommending you identify your service providers and suppliers in your plan and that you reach out to them during the COVID 19 crisis to ensure they can continue to support your organization during the pandemic.
  • Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers – DHS-CISA has put together a document that gives guidance to the private sector on defining essential critical infrastructure workers. Promoting the ability of such workers to continue to work during periods of community restriction, access management, social distancing, or closure orders/directives is crucial to community resilience and continuity of essential functions.  You can download this document at: https://www.cisa.gov/publication/guidance-essential-critical-infrastructure-workforce.

Please note, this is intended to provide guidance to help identify essential employees and not intended to be a credential document.  Only state and local authorities can grant access to restricted/hot zone areas.

  • Stay at Home Orders / Hot Zone Access – As you know, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has restricted access to areas that have COVID 19 outbreaks. In the event of a cybersecurity incident, please contact the PUC Emergency Lead Agency Representative (AREP) at 717-941-0003.  Follow up information may be sent to the Lead AREP email at:  ra-pucpema@pa.gov.
  • Citizen and Customer Cybersecurity Information – Cyber threats are not limited to the regulated utilities.  Cyber criminals are using the pandemic to take advantage of the crisis to steal customer Personal Identifiable Information (PII), credit card, and bank account information.  They are also using well-crafted emails to get them to malicious websites and download malicious email.  Customers who would like to get information on these threats and how to mitigate them should go to the DHS-CISA website.  The website is located at: https://www.cisa.gov/