Category Archives: Energy Law

A Comprehensive Revision of Pennsylvania Law on Partnerships and LLCs

On February 21, 2017, Act 2016-170 (commonly known as House Bill 1398) went into effect. The Act is a comprehensive revision of Pennsylvania law on partnerships and limited Pages from 2016 Act 170 - PA General Assemblyliability companies (LLCs). This Act amends Title 15 (Corporations and Unincorporated Associations) and Title 54 (Names) to replace the law governing limited liability partnerships, general partnerships, limited partnerships, and limited liability companies, as well as to make conforming changes regarding the names of business associations. The full text (115 pages) of 2016 Act 170 is available at http://www.legis.state. pa.us/cfdocs/legis/li/uconsCheck. cfm?yr=2016&sessInd=0&act=170 or short URL https://goo.gl/Fs4J07.

To read my full article see: https://www.pabar.org/pdf/Spring%202017.pdf

Desire more specific assistance regarding your business formation, agreements, intellectual property, trademarks, zoning, real estate law, cyber security, insurance, etc., contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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PaPUC Approves Three Applications for Permanent Operating Authority as Transportation Network Companies

puc_sealOn February 9, 2017, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) approved two applications for authority to operate as a Transportation Network Company (TNC) – increasing the total number of approved TNCs in Pennsylvania to three companies.

The Commission voted 5-0 to grant licenses to transport persons via TNC services to Lyft, Inc., which had previously been issued an experimental two-year authorization from the PUC.

The Commission also voted 5-0 to approve a license application submitted by Freed Man Autonomous Vehicles, LLC.

Previously, on Jan. 26, 2017, the Commission approved a TNC license application submitted by Rasier-PA, a wholly-owned affiliate of Uber Technologies, Inc.

The Commission oversees transportation services operating throughout Pennsylvania – including taxis, limousines and TNCs – with the exception of Philadelphia, where those activities are regulated by the Philadelphia Parking Authority. In December 2016 the Commission established an application process for new TNC licenses under Act 164 of 2016, which created the regulatory framework for TNCs to operate in Pennsylvania. Act 164 was signed into law by Governor Wolf in November 2016. Prior to that time, TNCs operated in most of Pennsylvania under experimental authority granted by the PUC.

In a joint statement issued at yesterday’s public meeting, PUC Chairman Gladys M. Brown and Commissioner Robert F. Powelson took note of the growing number of TNCs now licensed to operate across Pennsylvania as the result of Act 164, emphasizing that innovative services are good for consumers, good for the transportation industry and good for business in the Commonwealth.

All of the TNCs approved by the Commission are required to maintain consumer protections and comply with all driver integrity, vehicle safety and insurance requirements set forth in the Public Utility Code or the Commission’s orders and regulations, along with all requirements established by Act 164. Additionally, to the extent that any autonomous vehicles or vehicles with advanced driver assistance systems and technologies are used, such vehicles shall be and shall remain in continuous compliance with all current and future vehicle safety rules and regulations issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

To learn how Prince Law Offices, P.C. can assist you or your business with PUC matters, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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First Step to Starting Your Business

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Prince Law Offices, P.C. attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin will be presenting at “First Step to Starting Your Business” in cooperation with the Kutztown University of Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center.
First Step to Starting Your Business (Lancaster, PA)
Date:Fri, February 17, 10:30am – 12:30pm
Point of Contact: Kutztown SBDC (877) 472-7232
Fee: None
Location: 454 New Holland Ave Suite 300 Lancaster, PA 17602
This workshop covers a number of critical issues relevant to starting and operating a small business. Professional presenters include attorneys, insurance agents, accountants, financial specialists and zoning and codes staff. The workshop is designed for both entrepreneurs thinking about opening their first business and existing business owners looking for a “checkup”.
Desire more specific assistance regarding your business formation, agreements, intellectual property, trademarks, zoning, real estate law, cyber security, insurance, etc., contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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Join Us at GlobalCon Energy Expo

gloabalcon_logo_white_2017

The GLOBALCON Expo will emphasize four critical areas of leading edge technology and related services:

  • Energy Management, HVAC and Smart Building Systems
  • Renewables, Alternative Energy and Onsite Generation
  • Lighting Efficiency and Integrated Energy Solutions
  • Plant and Facilities Management

GLOBALCON 2017, presented by the Association of Energy Engineers, is designed specifically to facilitate those seeking to expand their knowledge of fast-moving developments in the energy field, explore promising new technologies, compare energy supply options, and learn about innovative and cost-conscious project implementation strategies.  Get a Free Expo exhibits only pass for a limited time here: GLOBALCON Expo

March 22-23, 2017

Pennsylvania Convention Center
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Desire more specific assistance regarding CHP, Solar; renewable energy projects, energy law, or real estate law, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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SUNSHOT $$$ PRIZE: SOLAR IN YOUR COMMUNITY CHALLENGE

solar-in-your-community-challenge-heroThe SunShot Prize: Solar in Your Community Challenge is a prize competition that aims to expand solar electricity access to all Americans, especially underserved segments such as low- and moderate-income (LMI) households, state, local, and tribal governments, and nonprofit organizations. In order to make solar more accessible and inclusive for every American, the Challenge works to spur the development of new and innovative financial and business models that serve non-rooftop solar users such as community solar.

Offering $5 million in cash prizes and technical assistance over 18 months, the Challenge supports teams across the country to develop projects or programs that expand solar access to underserved groups, while proving that these business models can be widely replicated and adopted by similar groups.

Participation in the Challenge is open to:

  • Teams working to develop a portfolio of solar projects in their communities or create new solar programs that extend solar access to LMI households and nonprofits; and
  • Technical assistance providers (consultants and coaches) that assist teams throughout the 18-month challenge by providing the coaching and resources teams need to create innovative new business models.

The Solar in Your Community Challenge is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative and administered by The State University of New York (SUNY) Polytechnic Institute. Visit the Challenge website to learn more, apply, and get involved.

STRUCTURE AND PRIZES

Teams selected to participate in the challenge may receive three distinct types of awards: seed awards, technical assistance vouchers, and final prizes.

Teams will compete to win $1 million in Final Prizes, including a $500,000 Grand Prize for success in demonstrating a replicable and scalable model for low income solar. In addition, selected teams will receive approximately 50 cash seed awards totaling $2 million, and benefit from technical assistance resources and mentoring worth an additional $2 million. Teams will be evaluated based on their innovation, impact, expertise, team composition, plan, and progress. As teams are selected, seed awards (up to $60,000 per team) will be disbursed in increments based on completed milestones over an 18-month performance period.

In addition to final prizes, technical assistance providers (consultants and coaches) will be compensated depending on the extent to which challenge teams choose to use their services throughout the 18-month performance period.

Learn more about the prizes on the Challenge’s website.

RULES

Competing teams need to design and deploy new and scalable business and financial models through the demonstration of solar projects and programs in their communities. These projects and programs must directly benefit:

  • LMI households, with at least 20% of the energy and benefits assigned to LMI households; or
  • Non-profit organizations; state, local, or tribal governments; or community service organizations, with at least 60% of the energy and benefits assigned to one of these types of entities.

Photovoltaic (PV) systems must be completed during the 18-month performance period and should aggregate between 25 and 5,000 kilowatts (peak DC capacity). A single entity cannot not be assigned more than 1,000 kilowatts from a single solar energy system.

While 20% LMI customers is the minimum, teams with over 50% LMI customers will receive a bonus cash prize. DOE will also show preference for teams that aim to reach 100% LMI households or have 100% of the energy benefit nonprofit/governmental organizations as outlined in the evaluation criteria for winning prizes.

Read the official rules and learn more on the Challenge’s website.

TIMELINE

Release of Official Rules: November 18, 2016
Informational Webinar: November 29, 2016, 2:00pm ET
Early Application Deadline: January 6, 2017
Application Deadline: March 17, 2017
Late-Start Application Deadline: August 1, 2017
Seed Funding and Vouchers Awarded: April 2017
Technical Assistance Marketplace Opens: April 2017
18-month Performance Period Begins: May 1, 2017
18-month Performance Period Ends: October 31, 2018
Accepting Applications for Final Prizes: November 2018
Announcements of Final Prizes Winners (Expected): January 2019

Desire more specific assistance regarding CHP, Solar; renewable energy projects, energy law, or real estate law, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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Need Internet? Lifeline Program Expanded to include Internet

puc_sealNearly 500,000 Pennsylvanians use Lifeline, which has now been expanded to include broadband internet service for low-income households, in addition to, or in combination with, landline or wireless voice telephone service.

“Lifeline is intended to help make communications more affordable and more accessible for low-income households, helping them stay connected to information about jobs, family, health care, schools and emergency services,” said PUC Chairman Gladys M. Brown. “It is essential that consumers understand the expanded options now available – including a variety of voice and internet services – and also make note of federal efforts to streamline the list of eligible assistance programs used to qualify for Lifeline.”

In an effort to increase awareness about the Lifeline program, the PUC developed a new informational brochure, “Stay Connected with the Lifeline Telephone Assistance Program.” Copies of the brochure can be obtained by calling the PUC at 1-800-692-7380 or downloading the information from the PUC website. Consumers also are encouraged to reach out to their local telephone, wireless or internet companies, to see if they qualify for Lifeline and other available programs for limited-income telephone customers.

Additionally, all five Commissioners have reached out to the CEOs of Pennsylvania telecommunications companies, requesting their assistance in educating consumers about federal changes to the Lifeline program and enhanced opportunities for low-income households to connect to voice and internet service. Responses from those companies have been published on the PUC website, including information about outreach and education plans; any focused efforts to reach current subscribers about program and eligibility changes; and details regarding any additional discounts or promotional programs.

Effective Dec. 1, 2016, consumers have several communications choices under the Lifeline program:

  • Landline or wireless internet service only;
  • A combination of landline or wireless telephone and internet service; or
  • Landline or wireless telephone only (Lifeline support for voice-only telephone service will be phased out by the end of 2021).

Federal rules limit Lifeline participation to one discount per household, so it is important for consumers to carefully evaluate their options when applying for service. Lifeline provides a monthly $9.25 per household discount on telephone or internet service, from either landline or wireless providers. The discount appears in the form of a reduction to consumers’ monthly bills.

Lifeline services are available to consumers who are enrolled in the following eligible assistance programs: Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Veteran’s Pension or Survivor’s Pension benefits, Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Additionally, Lifeline is available to households whose income is at or below 135 percent of the federal poverty guidelines (currently $32,805 for a family of four).

Additional information about Lifeline and other communications assistance programs, along with contact information for various telephone companies that participate in the Lifeline program, is available on the PUC website.

To learn how Prince Law Offices, P.C. can assist you or your business with PUC matters, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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You Can Save $$$ – PUC Announces Upgrades to Electric Shopping Website PAPowerSwitch

papowerswitchSwitching power is easier than ever.  You may be able to save money by switching your electric supplier.

In Pennsylvania, you can choose the company that generates your electricity – also known as your electric supplier. This means that you have the power to switch to a competing supplier who can offer the lowest price or provide a specific service you want, such as green/renewable energy.  See what options are available to you!  PAPowerSwitch.com

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) recently announced upgrades to PAPowerSwitch to make the site fully responsive no matter what kind or size of device they use, with updated cleaner and easier navigation; a more attention-grabbing way for visitors to learn more about individual offers on the shopping pages; consolidated pages; and enhanced security.  Over the last two years, nearly 1.9 million visitors have shopped for electric supply offers using PAPowerSwitch.

Chairman Brown pointed to the Commonwealth’s competitive electric market experiencing 14 consecutive months of sustained growth since early last fall.  As of the end of November, nearly 2.1 million Pennsylvania electricity customers (or 36.9 percent) currently receive their electric generation from a competitive supplier.  The November 2016 figure reflects a 3.5 percent increase in the total number of shoppers from September 2015, when the statewide monthly shopping number last dropped.

  • PAPowerSwitch.com, the PUC’s neutral source for power shopping information, is a trusted resource to which respondents turn for information about electric providers, and it will be an educational and helpful resource in the future when making electric provider decisions.

Of the consumers who visit PAPowerSwitch.com:

  • Ninety percent somewhat/strongly agree that the website provides helpful information.
  • Eighty-seven percent are very/extremely satisfied.
  • Seventy percent say that the website is very/extremely easy to navigate.

To learn how Prince Law Offices, P.C. can assist you or your business with PUC matters, lower rates or alternative energy projects, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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