Thursday, November 19, 2015

PUC Approves Lower Electric Rate Increase For PPL

The Public Utility Commission Thursday approved a settlement that reduces a distribution rate increase request filed by PPL Electric Utilities Corporation (PPL) on March 31, 2015.
The Commission voted 5-0 to approve the settlement, which reduces PPL’s rate increase request by 26 percent and resolves all other issues related to the company’s request. PPL provides service to more than 1.4 million Pennsylvania consumers in 29 counties – a region spanning approximately 10,000 square miles.
PPL’s initial request called for a $167.5 million increase in annual distribution rate revenues.  The action by the Commission approved a revenue increase of $124 million.  
Additionally, the settlement includes the elimination of a proposed daily customer charge, withdrawal of a PPL proposal to increase its Distribution System Improvement Charge from five percent to 7.5 percent, increases in PPL’s Customer Assistance Program and Low Income Usage Reduction Program and enhanced efforts to educate more consumers about these services.
Under the settlement, a typical bill for a residential customer using 1,000 kWh per month will increase by $7.53 per month, or 5.11 percent.  This is as opposed to the company’s original proposal, which would have increased the typical customer’s bill by $10.19 per month, or 6.9 percent.
A joint petition to approve the settlement was supported by numerous parties, including PPL, the Commission’s Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement, the Office of Consumer Advocate, the Office of Small Business Advocate, the Commission for Economic Opportunity, the Coalition for Affordable Utility Services and Energy Efficiency in Pennsylvania, the Clean Air Council, Sustainable Energy Fund, The Alliance for Solar Choice, Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance Energy Education Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Defense Fund.
The PPL request was the subject of extensive Commission efforts to enhance public input in rate cases, including a pilot “Smart Hearing” project intended to make it easier for utility customers to comment on proposed rate increase requests.
These hearings were live-streamed on the PUC website and allowed consumers across the state to submit their testimony remotely or in-person. These hearings nearly doubled the number of witnesses compared to hearing for a similar PPL rate increase request in 2012.

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