PUC Approves Settlement with Substantially Lower Rate Increase for Duquesne Light; Utility to Refund $24 Million in Federal Tax Savings
Published on 12/20/2018
Filed under: Electric
HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today approved a partial settlement involving Duquesne Light and various other parties which substantially reduces the rate increase requested earlier this year by the utility and requires the utility to return federal tax savings to customers.
The Commission voted 5-0 today to approve a net revenue increase of $40.5 million for Duquesne Light, compared to an $81.6 million increase in the utility’s initial filing with the PUC – a reduction of approximately 50-percent in the rate increase that was sought.
Under the settlement approved today, the average monthly electric bill for a residential customer using 600 kilowatt-hours per month would increase from $98.15 to $102.51 (4.44%), effective December 29, 2018.
Additionally, the settlement requires Duquesne Light to refund $24 million in savings that resulted from the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Residential customers will receive a one-time bill credit during the January 2019 billing cycle, based on their distribution charges, while refunds for larger commercial and industrial customers will be spread over a two-month period. According to the settlement, the average residential customer bill credit will be $25.61.
Included in the settlement is an electric vehicle (EV) pilot program to encourage deployment of additional charging stations, EV registration incentives, consumer education and development of fast charging stations to be used by Duquesne Light and the Port Authority of Allegheny County for electric bus evaluation. The “Chargeup” EV pilot project was highlighted by PUC Chairman Gladys M. Brown as an important step to stimulating more efficient and cleaner travel options and something that aligns with the Commission’s recent policy statement regarding development of EV charging infrastructure.
Today’s action by the Commission also addressed items not covered by the settlement, leaving rates unchanged for “back-up” electrical service provided to facilities using Combined Heat and Power (CHP) and rejecting new proposed meter requirements related to net-metering services.
Duquesne Light provides electric distribution service to nearly 597,000 residential and business customers in Allegheny and Beaver counties.
The joint petition for partial settlement in this rate case was filed by Duquesne Light Company, the PUC’s independent Bureau of Investigation & Enforcement, the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate, the Office of Small Business Advocate, the Coalition for Affordable Utility Service and Energy Efficiency in Pennsylvania (CAUSE-PA), Duquesne Industrial Intervenors, the Community Action Association of Pennsylvania (CAAP), Wal-Mart Stores East LP, Sam’s East Inc., ChargePoint Inc., the Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance (KEEA), Allegheny County Airport Authority, Duquesne University, Linde Energy Services Inc., United States Steel Corporation, the University of Pittsburgh, NRG Energy Center Pittsburgh LLC, the Clean Air Council and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
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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