HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) reminded Pittsburgh area residents of two upcoming “listening” events, providing Commissioners and other key officials an opportunity to hear directly from residents regarding the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority (PWSA).
The events are scheduled for the following times and locations:
Thursday, Feb. 22 – 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
University of Pittsburgh
University Club, Ballroom A
123 University Place
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Friday, Feb. 23 – 10 a.m. to Noon
Point Park University
Lawrence Hall – Room #200
212 Wood St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
The events are intended to help PUC leadership and other agencies better understand the concerns of PWSA customers. These are not formal hearings, but instead, they are part of the Commission’s ongoing effort to reach out directly to the citizens directly impacted by the transition of PWSA to PUC regulatory oversight.
To allow ample time for individuals to comment, the number of speakers at each event will be limited. Those wishing to speak are asked to RSVP by contacting the PUC’s Office of Communications at RA-CMU5722@pa.gov, or by calling 717-787-5722 to provide their names and contact information. PUC staff will confirm the scheduling of speakers. Should all available times for both events be exhausted, the PUC will work with other agencies to schedule additional opportunities.
“We want to hear more from Pittsburgh area residents, including what they may like about PWSA, and what they would like to change – what they feel works, and what they feel could work better,” said PUC Chairman Gladys M. Brown. “This underscores the PUC’s commitment to listening to all viewpoints regarding these complicated and interrelated issues.”
Chairman Brown will be joined at the listening events by Vice Chairman Andrew Place – who is not only a PUC Commissioner, but also a Pittsburgh resident and PWSA customer – along with Commissioner John Coleman, who has been a leader in the PUC’s efforts to enhance utility safety.
Other participants include Pennsylvania Consumer Advocate Tanya McCloskey, along with representatives from the Office of Small Business Advocate, the PUC’s Bureau of Consumer Services, PWSA and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
PUC & PWSA
Act 65 of 2017 provides for PUC oversight of water, wastewater and storm water services by entities created by Pennsylvania cities of the second class – specifically, PWSA.
On Jan. 18, 2018, the Commission approved and posted for public comment a Tentative Implementation Order, which proposed methods for ratemaking, tariff approval, compliance plans, infrastructure improvements, consumer protection and other implementation issues.
Under the plan outlined in the Tentative Order, existing PWSA rates and terms of service will remain in place as a temporary measure, until the Commission reviews and approves a rate filing from the Authority. Proposed tariffs for water and wastewater service must be filed no later than Monday, July 2, 2018, and those tariffs would be subject to the PUC’s normal ratemaking process to determine just and reasonable rates, including a Commission investigation, public input and the ability for parties to voice their concerns.
The Tentative Order also details proposed changes in the handling of consumer complaints. Beginning on Monday, April 2, 2018, the Commission proposes to begin accepting complaints from PWSA customers – either as informal complaints submitted to the PUC’s Bureau of Consumer Services (1-800-692-7380 and online) or as formal complaints filed with the Commission. This will mark the end of the PWSA’s current Exoneration Hearing Board as an adjudicative body, with the Commission reviewing customer complaints in accordance with the due process rights detailed in the Public Utility Code and the Commission’s regulations.
The Tentative Order also requires PWSA to file a compliance plan by Friday, September 28, 2018, to ensure compliance for regulatory issues not addressed in the tariff filing – including a Long-Term Infrastructure Improvement Plan – detailing how PWSA intends to replace or upgrade targeted facilities, and how that will improve reliability, adequacy and safety.
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.
Visit the PUC’s website at www.puc.pa.gov for recent news releases and video of select proceedings. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube. Search for the “Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission” or “PA PUC” on your favorite social media channel for updates on utility issues and other helpful consumer information.
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