Thursday, December 22, 2016

Proposed Rules To Speed Natural Gas Supplier Switching To Be Published By PUC

The Public Utility Commission Thursday issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking public comment on new regulations designed to reduce the time it takes customers to change natural gas suppliers (NGSs), and further align rules and procedures for the state’s NGSs with electric generation suppliers (EGSs).
The Commission voted 5-0 to adopt proposed changes to Chapter 59 of the Public Utility Code (Chapter 59) regarding standards for changing a customer’s natural gas supplier.  
These changes, initiated by the PUC’s Office of Competitive Market Oversight, are intended to accelerate gas switching while preserving consumer safeguards; further align rules for natural gas suppliers with electric suppliers to avoid customer confusion and frustration; and help encourage greater product diversity, including but not limited to the potential benefits of bundled electric and natural gas service for consumers.
The PUC seeks comments on proposed amendments and additions to Chapter 59, including, but not limited to, the following measures:
-- Requirements on natural gas distribution companies (NGDCs) to shrink switching time frames from the current one to two months to three business days, which is consistent with the electric industry standard;
-- Requirements on NGDCs to implement any operational, metering, billing or other changes required to facilitate accelerated switching within twelve months of the new regulations becoming final;
-- Cost recovery for NGDCs in implementing these new requirements;
-- A proposal that customers can contact their NGDC and request a return to NGDC service; and
-- Efforts to maintain, and in some cases strengthen, current consumer protections, including but not limited to preserving safeguards to prevent the unauthorized switching of a customer’s account, known as “slamming.”
Interested parties may submit comments up to 45 days from the date the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin by providing written comments to the Public Utility Commission, Attn: Secretary, P.O. Box 3265, Harrisburg, PA  17105-3265.  
Comments may also be filed electronically through the PUC’s e-File System.  (Docket No.: L-2016-2577413).
Click Here to go to the PUC Docket for this rulemaking.

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