PUC Moves into Next Phase of Its Retail Natural Gas Markets Investigation
Published on 8/21/2014
Filed under: Gas
HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today directed its Office of Competitive Market Oversight (OCMO) to move forward with the next phase of its investigation into the state’s retail natural gas market.
“This is an opportunity to assess whether effective competition exists in Pennsylvania’s retail natural gas market and also to make recommendations for improvements,” said PUC Commissioner Pamela A. Witmer. “Our end goal is to ensure that the Commonwealth is home to a properly functioning retail natural gas market and that we are making full use of our Marcellus Shale resources.”
The Commission voted 5-0 to issue for comment the Tentative Order that finds an investigation into the retail natural gas market is necessary and also outlines several issues for OCMO to examine in the course of this investigation into Pennsylvania’s retail gas market. Comments are requested to identify any additional issues not outlined in the Tentative Order. Comments are due 30 days after Notice of the Tentative Order is posted in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Issues include:
- Assignment of capacity and use of storage assets
- Non-discrimination in access points on natural gas distribution (NGDC) systems
- System balance, tolerances and penalties
- Creditworthiness requirements
- Seamless moves and instant connects for consumers
- Accelerated switching timeframes for consumers
- Low-income customer shopping
- Enhancements to www.PAGasSwitch.com
- Expanded consumer education about shopping
- Purchase of receivables programs
- Disclosure requirements
- Joint NGDC – natural gas supplier bill
- Account number access mechanisms
- Migration riders
- Electronic data protocols
Today’s action builds on comments received in response to a Sept. 12, 2013 joint motion by PUC Commissioners Witmer and James H. Cawley and a corresponding Order that initiated the investigation into the retail natural gas markets. The goal of the investigation is to improve the competitiveness of the retail natural gas market.
In the October 2005 Report to the General Assembly on Pennsylvania’s Retail Natural Gas Supply Market, the PUC determined that effective competition did not exist in Pennsylvania’s retail natural gas market. As a result, the Commission was required by law to convene a natural gas stakeholders working group to explore avenues, including legislative, in order to encourage increased competition in the Commonwealth.
The PUC has implemented a number of changes in an attempt to enhance retail gas competition as a result of that proceeding, including completed rulemakings regarding NGDC cost recovery and rates and natural gas supplier licensing.
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” PAPowerSwitch on Facebook for easy access to information on electric shopping.
Docket No. I-2013-2381742
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