PULP is currently engaged in numerous consumer-focused activities, including those listed below. If you would like further information about any of these matters, we welcome you to contact us.
- Promoting Energy Efficiency and Conservation Efforts in Affordable Multi-Family Housing
PULP organized, coordinated, and facilitated in the development of a statewide Pennsylvania coalition for the expansion of energy efficiency and conservation efforts in affordable multi-family housing. The Coalition consisted of representatives of utility companies; the Public Utility Commission (PUC), Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA), Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), the Office of Consumer Advocate (OCA), legal aid groups, community based organizations, community development corporations, housing advocates, energy efficiency consultants and weatherization and conservation providers. The joint efforts of the organization has resulted in greater attention and resources being provided to energy efficiency and conservation efforts in affordable multi-family housing by the utilities, by the PUC and by DCED .
PULP represented the Coalition for Affordable Utility Service and Energy Efficiency in Pennsylvania (CAUSE-PA), an unincorporated association of low-income individuals within Pennsylvania, at meetings and in the filing of Comments at the PUC regarding the importance of multi-family housing energy efficiency and conservation; most significantly regarding the second phase of Act 129 of 2008.
Protecting Low-Income Customers in The Public Utility Commission Investigation of Pennsylvania’s Retail Electricity Market (Retail Markets Investigation).
The PUC launched a full scale statewide investigation in 2011 regarding the functioning of the competitive retail electricity market in Pennsylvania. This investigation is still on-going and has the potential to affect existing legislation, regulation and practice regarding the functioning of electric distribution companies and the services and programs provided to low-income customers in the competitive environment. PULP actively participated in stakeholder meetings, technical conferences, submitted formal Comments on its own, in and in conjunction with PCADV, AARP and CLS. As a result of PULP advocacy, the Commission issued an order indicating that EDC transitional default service programs may not create harm to CAP customers and created a Universal Service Working Group to address issues affecting low-income customers in the competitive electric market.
- Ensuring that the Allocation of LIHEAP Grants to CAP Customer Accounts Benefit the Recipients.
Background: For a number of years, PULP has been actively involved in assuring that LIHEAP grants are properly applied to CAP customers’ accounts. These activities continued this past fiscal year. The Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee Report The Administration of Pennsylvania’s LIHEAP Grant and Crisis Program, issued in June 2012, highlighted PULP actions advising DPW and HHS that some public utilities employed a heating grant accounting process for their PUC-approved Customer Assistance Programs (CAPs) that, in violation of federal law, did not correctly credit the accounts of LIHEAP heating grant recipients who assigned their benefits to it.
Protecting the Economic Interests of Low-Income Utility Customers in Electric Company Default Service Plans.
PULP has actively participated in Electric Distribution Company Default Service Plan (DSP) litigation before the PUC on behalf of CAUSE-PA concerning plans filed by PECO, PPL, Duquesne, and each of the First Energy Companies ( Penn Power, Met Ed, Penelec and West Penn.) The CAUSE-PA position is to protect economically vulnerable CAP and other low income customers from the potential market volatility and price increases inherent in the current competitive market.
Participation Amicus Curaie in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania
PULP filed, jointly with AARP, a Brief Amici Curiae, in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania in a case appealed by the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer concerning Pike County Light & Power’s default service plan. PULP and AARP were concerned that when whole energy prices rise that these customers will be stuck paying higher and more volatile prices. PULP and AARP supported the position of the Consumer Advocate who argued for a balanced portfolio to hedge against this potential volatility. This case is currently pending before the Commonwealth Court.
Expanding the Level of LIURP Services Provided to Low-Income Households.
PULP has actively advocated, in proceedings before the PUC, for a greater level of resources to be dedicated to Low Income Usage Reduction Programs (LIURP). As a result of this advocacy, Columbia, PPL , People Natural Gas, Duquesne and PECO have each increased the level of resources available.
Enhancing the Benefits of Natural Gas and Electric Distribution Company Low-Income Universal Service Programs.
PULP continues to monitor and advocate for more effective Universal Service Programs to benefit low-Income utility consumers. In furtherance of this objective, PULP participates at regularly scheduled meetings with the Bureau of Consumer Services, the PECO Universal Services Advisory Committee, the PUC Consumer Advisory Council and at utility stakeholder meetings.
- Promoting a More Effective Lifeline Assistance Program at the Federal Communications Commission.
PULP, in collaboration with the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) filed comments on behalf of low-income consumers at the Federal Communications Commission for the purpose of enhancing and making the telecommunications assistance program, Lifeline, more relevant to low-income consumers’ needs in the electronic and information age.
Providing Information, Training and Support to Legal Aid, Non-Profit Community Groups; and Low-Income Consumers across Pennsylvania.
PULP continues to conduct statewide and regional; trainings which address changes and effective advocacy procedures regarding LIHEAP, weatherization and utility low income programs. PULP provides direct case assistance and consultation to legal aid staff, community groups and eligible clients regarding LIHEAP, weatherization and utility low income programs.