HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today finalized regulation changes that will provide customers who shop for their natural gas supply with greater, uniform detail on their disclosure statements – and more timely information on “contract renewal” and “change in terms” notices.
The Commission voted 5-0 to approve regulations that require natural gas suppliers (NGSs) to display key contractual terms and conditions more clearly for customers on both fixed- and variable-rate products, provide historical pricing data on their products and prominently mark customer notices prior to contract expiration or changes in terms.
The changes are designed to provide additional information and greater protections for residential and small business customers choosing a competitive supplier for their natural gas service. Customers who wish to compare options and pricing for natural gas service can visit the PUC’s newly redesigned shopping website, www.PAGasSwitch.com.
The new regulations include:
More contractual information on conditions of price variability, including whether there are limits on variability;
A clear statement of the price per unit for the first billing cycle of natural gas supply;
Customer access to historical pricing information;
Separate mailings for either fixed-duration contracts that are expiring, or any changes to terms of service;
A separate NGS contract summary along with the full disclosure statement to ensure NGSs highlight key terms and conditions in a uniform, consistent manner;
New requirements for contract “Initial Notices” and customer “Options Notice” prior to the expiration of a contract or change in terms;
A renewed emphasis on highlighting changes in pricing or any terms and conditions – including a fixed rate becoming a month-to-month rate that includes a 30-day notice of any price change; and
Prominent marking on front of the “Options Notice” envelope clearly stating that it contains important information regarding the expiration or changes in terms of a customer’s natural gas supply contract.
The regulations must be reviewed by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission, Attorney General’s Office, Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee and House Consumer Affairs Committee before going into effect.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.
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Docket No. L- 2015-2465942