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Press Release

PUC Reminds Consumers to Register by May 26 to Comment by Phone During ‘Smart Hearing’ on Proposed PPL Rate Increase

Published on 5/22/2015

Filed under: Electric

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today reminded interested consumers to register by Tuesday, May 26, if they wish to submit comments remotely during the PUC’s “Smart Hearings” on June 2 regarding a proposed distribution rate increase by PPL Electric Utilities Corporation (PPL). Two hearings will be held in Harrisburg at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.

The Smart Hearing is a PUC pilot project aimed to make it easier for utility customers to comment on proposed rate increase requests. Consumers throughout Pennsylvania will be able to see and hear testimony being offered during the hearing by watching a live stream on the PUC website.

“By broadcasting these new Smart Hearings online and allowing consumers across PPL’s wide service area to participate remotely, we hope to increase transparency and participation – helping to gather more valuable input for the Commission,” said PUC Chairman Gladys M. Brown. “All testimony provided during these hearings is used in our decision-making process as we determine the merits of the proposed rate increase.”

Pre-registered consumers can submit testimony remotely, by telephone, from their homes or other convenient locations. Consumers also can attend and testify at the Smart Hearings in person. Those attending in person do not need to pre-register. All testimony given during the hearing will be included in the live Internet stream.

To offer testimony by telephone during a Smart Hearing, consumers should contact the Office of Consumer Advocate (OCA) at 717-783-5048 or 1-800-684-6560 no later than Tuesday, May 26, in order to register and receive additional information. 

Smart Hearings

PUC Administrative Law Judge Susan D. Colwell will conduct a total of three hearings for public input regarding the PPL distribution rate increase request. The first two hearings will be live-streamed Smart Hearings, including both telephone and in-person testimony:

Tuesday, June 2, 2015 
1 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Commonwealth Keystone Building
400 North St.
Hearing Room 1
Harrisburg, PA 17120

Additionally, a third hearing will be held in Allentown, where PPL is headquartered, to gather in-person testimony:

Thursday, June 4, 2015
6 p.m.
Muhlenburg College
Seegers Union, Rooms 108-110
2400 Chew Street
Allentown PA 18104 

Note: In-person participation at any of the hearings requires no prior action.

Rate Increase Request:

On April 23, 2015, the Commission voted 5-0 to investigate the company’s request to increase annual electric distribution rates by $167.5 million (18.5 percent). Under the rate increase request, the monthly electric bill for an average residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month would increase from $147.31 to $157.50 (6.9 percent).

The request is suspended for up to seven months and was assigned to the Office of Administrative Law Judge for public hearings and a recommended decision or settlement. A final decision must be made by Jan. 1, 2016. More information on the ratemaking process is available on the Commission’s website.

Offering Comment at a Hearing

Members of the public are welcome to attend the hearings and provide comments. Their testimony will become part of the record on which the PUC will issue its final decision.

The PUC and OCA offer tips on how to participate, including:

  • Prepare what you are going to say beforehand.  Even though it is not required, you may want to write out your statement, which can be read.

  • Bring copies, if you are attending an in-person hearing.  If you have a written statement you would like to give to the judge as evidence, please bring two copies for the court reporter and several copies for the other participants.

  • Plan to be questioned.  Parties in the case may want to ask you a question to clarify something you said. 

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 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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Docket No.: R-2015-2469275




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