HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today approved a Final Implementation Order for Act 65 of 2017, addressing Commission oversight of water, wastewater and storm water services by entities created by Pennsylvania cities of the second class – specifically, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA).
The Final Order, approved by a 5-0 vote, details ratemaking, tariff approval, compliance plans, infrastructure improvements, consumer protections and other issues related to the implementation of Act 65.
Under the plan outlined in the Final Order, on March 30, 2018, PWSA shall file its Official Prior Tariff, detailing its rates and terms of service at that time. That Official Prior Tariff will remain in place as a temporary measure, and be enforced by the Commission, until the Commission reviews and approves full rate filings from the Authority.
PWSA’s new proposed tariffs for water and wastewater service must be filed no later than 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 Final Order also requires PWSA to file a compliance plan by Sept. 28, 2018, to ensure compliance for regulatory issues not addressed in the tariff filing. That plan will address the future implementation of a stormwater tariff; a plan to address lead levels in the water supply and the replacement of lead service lines; a metering plan identifying unmetered accounts and plans to meter all customers; plans to convert to the Uniform System of Accounts; a Self-Certification Form for Security Planning and Readiness; plans to fully comply with the billing, collection, complaint, and termination rules of Chapter 14 of the Public Utility Code and Chapter 56 of the Commission’s regulations; and access to PWSA customer service management information system by the PUC’s Bureau of Consumer Services.
Additionally, the Final Order addresses the handling of consumer complaints, effective April 1, 2018, including compliance with the Commission’s regulations regarding terminations, disputes, termination disputes, and informal and formal complaints. As part of that process, the Commission will 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’s Secretary’s Bureau. The Final Order also outlines procedures for handling appeals to the Exoneration Hearing Board that may be outstanding.
The Final Order addresses numerous comments received in response to the Commission’s Tentative Implementation Order, which was posted for public comment in January 2018. Comments were received from PWSA, the Blue Ribbon Panel of the City of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh UNITED, the Pennsylvania-American Water Company, the PUC’s independent Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement, the Pennsylvania Office of Small Business Advocate, and the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate, as well as from several individuals.
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