PUC Finalizes Paper Billing Fee Rulemaking
Published on 10/22/2015
HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today approved a Final Rulemaking Order prohibiting public utilities from charging customers a separate fee to receive a paper utility bill.
The Commissioners voted 5-0 to approve a joint motion by Chairman Gladys M. Brown and Vice Chairman John F. Coleman Jr.
The rulemaking follows a March 20, 2014, Order resolving a Commission investigation into the practice of paper invoice charges in the telecommunications industry. The Commission concluded that the expense of creating and providing a bill to each utility customer traditionally has been included in the operating expenses of the utility, and that imposing a separate charge to provide for the provision of monthly paper bills is not consistent with the Public Utility Code, Commission regulations, long-standing precedent and well-established practices of Pennsylvania public utilities. The Commission also concluded that failing to provide customers with the option of an itemized, monthly paper bill – free of charge – constitutes unreasonable and inadequate service, under the Public Utility Code. Finally, the Commission concluded that charging consumers for a paper bill adversely impacted universal service and the obligation to ensure that services are provided in a nondiscriminatory fashion given the disproportionate impact to low-income and elderly consumers.
On Dec. 4, 2014, the Commission issued a Proposed Rulemaking Order to amend existing regulations for all fixed public utility industries. The proposed rulemaking was published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin on March 14, 2015, with comments to be filed within 30 days.
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. L-2014-2411278
Deputy Press Secretary
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