On behalf of Pennsylvania Utility Law Project client, CAUSE-PA, PULP won a contested decision at the Public Utility Commission (PUC) in which the Commission recognized for the first time that protections were needed for low-income customers enrolled in PPL Electric Utilities’ customer assistance program (CAP), which provides reduced utility bills. PULP staff successfully advocated for protections that ensure that bills remain affordable for economically vulnerable customers and that the low-income programs remain viable.
PULP recognized that these protections were necessary because low-income CAP customers were being subjected to millions of dollars per year in unnecessary costs by unregulated electric generation suppliers. The PUC approved a proposal that would both provide necessary protections and allow low-income customers to save additional money. CAUSE-PA, as well as the State’s Office of Consumer Advocate, and the PUC’s own Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement advocated for the proposal.
While the matter is currently being reconsidered as a result of a request by the Retail Energy Supply Association, PULP staff are optimistic that the protections will remain. PULP’s Director, Patrick Cicero remarked,
“I am hopeful that the PUC will uphold its decision that PPL’s CAP customers need additional protection from unscrupulous contracts that charge excessive rates. Low-income households already experience energy poverty at staggering rates, and this crisis of unaffordability is unnecessarily exacerbated if economically fragile households are served by competitive energy suppliers at rates higher than those charged by the utility company. The protections approved by the PUC in its recent decision are appropriate steps in the right direction.”
PULP is currently working on this issue on behalf of CAUSE-PA with each of the major electric companies throughout the state. Read more about the protections in this article on the Morning Call.