HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today approved a plan submitted by National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation (National Fuel) enabling the company to more easily share customer account numbers with natural gas suppliers (NGSs) in public venues, like shopping malls and community events, when account numbers are not available from interested customers or from the Eligible Customer List (ECL). Customer account numbers are needed in order for a customer to be switched to a competitive NGS.
“In approving National Fuel’s plan, the Commission reaffirms its belief that an account number access mechanism is a customer-friendly tool enabling natural gas distribution companies and competitive suppliers to more easily interact and, ultimately, better serve the needs of shopping customers in the competitive marketplace,” said PUC Chairman Gladys M. Brown. “While Pennsylvania is providing suppliers with enhanced access to customer data maintained by gas distribution companies, consumers can rest assured that important steps are being taken to maintain necessary customer protections. The Commission is pleased that National Fuel Gas is joining other major distribution companies in moving forward with these mechanisms.”
The Commission voted 5-0 to approve the implementation of natural gas account number mechanisms for National Fuel. NGSs will only have access to these websites after obtaining appropriate customer identification, as well as consent from the customer in the form a signed Letter of Authorization. The look-up mechanism will only be used for customer-initiated enrollment transactions in public locations and not for enrollments that occur during door-to-door or telephone transactions.
On July 8, 2015, the Commission adopted a Final Order directing PUC-jurisdictional NGDCs to submit for the Commission’s review and approval compliance plans for the development of a username and pass-code protected secure website portal that will, upon customer request and consent, provide NGSs with access to residential and small business account numbers that are not available on the NGDCs ECLs. Previously, the PUC had approved the development and implementation of natural gas account number mechanisms for other major natural gas distribution companies in the Commonwealth.
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.: M-2015-2468991