Monday, November 24, 2014

PUC: Electric, Natural Gas Utilities To Help Consumers Prepare Now This Winter

As the Public Utility Commission marks the 12th year of its “Prepare Now” initiative, today it issued responses from several electric and natural gas companies that replied to the Commission’s October 24 letter urging utilities to reach out and educate consumers this winter.
The companies’ responses are available on the PUC website.
The October 24 letter, which was signed by all five PUC Commissioners, was sent to electric and natural gas utilities under the PUC’s jurisdiction asking the utilities to join the PUC in reaching out and educating consumers, especially those on limited and fixed incomes.
The letter contained specific suggestions as to how the utilities can help because the utilities have more flexibility to make allowances for payment-troubled customers than the PUC does under the law. The utilities are asked to inform the PUC of any of the suggested actions they implement.
The Prepare Now campaign provides consumers with simple tips to lower their energy bills, including shopping for electricity and natural gas, as well as tips to conserve energy around the house. It also offers information about low-income programs that help consumers restore and maintain service.
The letter encourages consumers on limited or fixed incomes to call their utility about programs to help heat their homes or pay their energy bills such as Customer Assistance Programs (CAPs) and Low Income Usage Reduction Programs (LIURP).
It also appeals to the companies to increase efforts to educate consumers with limited or fixed incomes about special programs such as CAPS, LIURP and budget billing, which assist consumers in paying their energy bills and controlling their energy usage, and at the same time, reminds them of the provisions under Chapter 56 of the Public Utility Code that impose an obligation of good faith, honesty and fair dealing in its performance and enforcement.
The PUC’s message is simple: Prepare Now for winter energy costs. Learn more about conservation. Check your electric and natural gas bills and supplier contracts. Use to shop for service. Look into programs that help low-income customers maintain service.
For more information, visit the PUC’s Prepare Now webpage or call the PUC at 1-800-692-7380 or follow #PrepareNow on Twitter.

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