Thursday, March 2, 2017

PUC To Continue Investigation Of Alternative Rate Design To Encourage Energy Efficiency

The Public Utility Commission Thursday took steps to encourage additional comment from key stakeholders to further explore potential benefits or shortcomings of alternative rate methodologies, along with issues or concerns that may be unique to particular utility sectors.
The Tentative Order was approved 5-0 by the Commissioners.
This most recent action comes following the review of extensive testimony and comments that were received in response to an en banc hearing in Harrisburg on alternative utility ratemaking which was hosted by the PUC in March 2016.
That hearing drew a diverse group of parties to discuss whether alternative rate methodologies could help utilities appropriately balance declining demand with energy efficiency and conservation programs.
The 2016 hearing generated a mix of comments from various stakeholders, including utilities, consumer and business advocates, citizens’ groups, environmental organizations, trade and industrial associations, and other concerned parties.
Nearly all the parties noted that this is a complicated issue, with no “one size fits all” solution, especially given the diverse size and structure of Pennsylvania’s utilities.
The PUC Order includes a series of questions related to specific industry sectors, including electric, natural gas, water and wastewater utilities. Additionally, the Commission is seeking comment on how to best proceed, including whether a policy statement, regulations or legislation would be recommended or required.
As noted by the Commission, utilities in Pennsylvania have employed some alternative rate methodologies. This ongoing discussion is intended to further explore the reasonableness, efficacy and potential benefits of other alternatives.
Comments regarding alternative ratemaking should be submitted within 45 days, and any reply comments should be submitted within 75 days. All comments must reference PUC Docket Number M-2015-2518883.
Comments may be filed electronically through the Commission’s e-File System, or sent to the following address: Public Utility Commission, Attn: Secretary, P.O. Box 3265, Harrisburg, PA 17105-3265.
A copy of the Order is available online.

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