HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today issued a Secretarial Letter announcing the formation of a statewide Universal Service Workgroup in order to further discuss and provide ongoing recommendations relating to the future framework and structure of Universal Service and Energy Conservation Programs (USECPs).
On April 6, 2017, the Commission approved a joint motion by Commissioner David W. Sweet and Vice Chairman Andrew G. Place which initiated a broad evaluation of USCEPs, to include a series of reports, stakeholder meetings and comment periods intended to evaluate programs and identify potential enhancements. The PUC’s Bureau of Consumer Services in consultation with the Commission’s Law Bureau have compiled and summarized the comments and feedback received from stakeholders. This report is publicly available on the Commission’s website at Docket No. M-2017-2596907.
The Universal Service Workgroup’s first meeting will be Monday, May 7, 2018, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Keystone Building, Executive Chambers, in Harrisburg. Interested parties can join the workgroup, or be placed on the workgroup mailing list, by emailing email@example.com.
Initial topics the workgroup is expected to address include, but are not limited to, the following:
Standardizing the forms used to certify a household has no income when applying for Customer Assistance Programs (i.e., zero income forms);
Revising the USECP review and universal service evaluation schedules; and
Developing a common application form for all Pennsylvania utility universal service programs.
The current portfolio of universal service programs includes payment programs intended to address monthly energy bills and arrearages to try to make service more affordable; weatherization and usage reduction programs to assist low-income families in lowering their consumption and energy costs; referral programs to connect consumers with other assistance programs they may be eligible for; and hardship funds.
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-2017-2596907