Press Releases

Public Comment Period Opens for PUC Comprehensive Review of Universal Service and Energy Conservation Programs




May 19, 2017

HARRISBURG – As part of a broad evaluation of Public Utility Commission (PUC) policies related to Universal Service and Energy Conservation Programs, the PUC is now accepting written comments from interested parties outlining their priorities, concerns, and suggested changes to regulations and policies for these key utility programs. 

The period for written comments is one of the first steps in a detailed review process, which was initiated in April 2017 by a joint motion introduced by Commissioner David W. Sweet and Vice Chairman Andrew G. Place. Approved unanimously by the Commission, the review will explore the framework and structure of existing universal service programs and gather stakeholder feedback addressing concerns and suggestions for amending or improving these programs.

The current portfolio of PUC-required universal service programs includes payment programs intended to help reduce the size of monthly bills and make service more affordable for low-income households, generically referred to as Customer Assistance Programs or CAPs; weatherization and usage reduction programs to assist low-income families in lowering their consumption and energy costs, known as Low-Income Usage Reduction Programs or LIURPs; referral programs to connect consumers with other assistance services, often called Customer Assistance Referral and Evaluation Programs or CARES; and utility hardship funds. 

Written comments addressing Universal Service and Energy Conservation Programs at Docket Number M-2017-2596907 are due on or before August 8, 2017. Comments may be efiled or they can be submitted to the following address by first class, certified, or priority mail, or overnight delivery to:

Secretary
Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission
Commonwealth Keystone Building, 2nd Floor
400 North Street
Harrisburg, PA  17120

Parties should reference Docket Number M-2017-2596907 in any comments being submitted.

Per the Commission’s Order, the Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Services (BCS) will coordinate a stakeholder meeting, to be held within 60 days of the due date of the written comments, to allow interested parties to provide feedback on the filed comments and on any other priorities, concerns, or suggested changes pertaining to the Universal Service and Energy Conservation Programs. 

The comments and feedback received by the Commission will eventually be compiled into a report, to be prepared by the BCS, in consultation with the Commission’s Law Bureau. That report will also provide a summary of all options proposed by stakeholders.

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.

For recent news releases and video of select Commission proceedings or more information about the PUC, visit our website at www.puc.pa.gov. Follow the PUC on Twitter – @PA_PUC for all things utility.  “Like” Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Facebook for easy access to information on utility issues.

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When filing comments, please identify the docket number to which you are filing:

Dockets:        

M-2017-2596907 - Review of Universal Service and Energy Conservations Programs.
M-2017-2587711 - Energy Affordability for Low Income Customers.
L-2016-2557886 - Initiative to Review and Revise the Existing Low-Income Usage Reduction Program (LIURP) Regulations at 52 Pa. Code §§ 58.1 – 58.18



Contact:Nils Hagen-Frederiksen
Press Secretary
717-783-6152
nhagen-fre@pa.gov


Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission
Press Office
P.O. Box 3265, Harrisburg, PA 17105-3265
(717) 787-5722 FAX (717) 787-4193

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