Category Archives: Real Estate

Attorney Franklin Presents at Pennsylvania Bar Association Conference

 

PBA ConferencePrince Law Offices, P.C. Attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin was pleased to present two sessions at the Annual Pennsylvania Bar Association Solo and Small Practice Conference at Bedford Springs this week. Attorney Franklin spoke regarding Title 15 (new Pennsylvania business entity law Act 170) and Virtual Practice technology issues.

Mr. Franklin assists entrepreneurs to form new business entities, to improve existing businesses, and with mergers and acquisitions.  If you desire assistance regarding your business formation, agreements, intellectual property, trademarks, copyright, zoning, real estate law, cyber security, insurance, etc., contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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PA Gas Drilling Impact Fees Total Distribution Tops $1 Billion

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today (June 15, 2017) posted detailed information about this year’s distribution of Impact Fees on natural gas producers, totaling $173,258,900, on the PUC’s interactive Act 13 website.puc_seal

Over the past six years, the PUC has collected and distributed more than $1.2 billion in Impact Fees to communities across Pennsylvania.

County and municipal governments directly affected by drilling will receive a total of $93,128,340 for the 2016 disbursement year. Additionally, $62,085,600 will be placed into the Marcellus Legacy Fund, which provides financial support for environmental, highway, water and sewer projects, rehabilitation of greenways and other projects throughout the state. Also, $18 million will be distributed to state agencies specified by the Act.

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

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PUC Announces Appointments to Consumer Advisory Council

puc_sealThe Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today announced a series of appointments to its Consumer Advisory Council (CAC), which provides input to the PUC on issues important to utility customers. Members of the CAC will serve two-year terms, from July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2019.  Included are several representatives from our area.  Congratulations all!

New CAC members include:

 

  • Sonny Popowsky, former Pennsylvania Consumer Advocate (serving from 1990 to 2012), brings an extensive state and national background in consumer and utility issues. Popowsky, of Philadelphia, was appointed to the CAC by Gov. Tom Wolf.
  • Christopher M. Winters Sr., of Wernersville, Berks County, has experience in legislative affairs, constituent services, research and public relations. Winters was appointed by Rep. Thomas R. Caltagirone, Minority Chairman of the House Consumer Affairs Committee.

Additionally, the Commission ratified the reappointment of the following CAC members:

  • Troy T. Geanopulos, founder of several energy efficiency companies over the past 20 years, is currently the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Efficiency Network (TEN), a tech-enabled provider of building efficiency services headquartered in Pittsburgh. Geanopulos was reappointed by Lt. Gov. Mike Stack.
  • Ralph G. Douglass, of Bensalem, Bucks County, was reappointed by Sen. Robert M. Tomlinson (R-Bucks), the Majority Chairman of the Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee. Douglass is semi-retired from service as President of PECA Inc., an electronics design and manufacturing firm. Douglass current serves as chairman of the CAC.
  • Javier R. Toro, of Fountain Hill, Lehigh County, was appointed by Sen. Lisa M. Boscola (D-Lehigh), the Minority Chair of the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee. He is a Customer Care Supervisor for the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley, and also is responsible for weatherization.
  • George J. Silvestri Jr., of Souderton, Montgomery County, was reappointed by Rep. Robert W. Godshall (R-Montgomery), the Majority Chairman of the House Consumer Affairs Committee. Silvestri is an author and a retired engineer in the Power Generation Division of the Westinghouse Electric Corp.

The PUC also reappointed the following at-large members of the CAC:

  • Lillian Carpenter, a retired educator from Pittsburgh, a former member of the Pittsburgh Board of Education, and a member of the Board of Directors for the Pittsburgh Homeless Children’s Education Fund.
  • Patrick M. Cicero, Director of the Pennsylvania Utility Law Project (PULP), a statewide legal aid office, based on Harrisburg, that serves low-income households in utility and energy matters. He is a resident of Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County.
  • Timothy B. Hennessey is a licensed insurance agent with Advantage Insurance in Pottstown, Montgomery County, and owner of Phoenix Festival Productions, an event-planning company in North Coventry Township, Chester County.  Hennessey currently serves as vice chairman of the CAC.
  • Chad Quinn, of Lawrence County, is Chief Executive Officer of Pittsburgh-based Dollar Energy Fund, which works to improve the quality of life for households experiencing hardships by providing utility assistance and other services that lead to self-sufficiency.
  • Dr. Tina M. Serafini, a professor, curriculum designer/consultant and trainer for T.M. Serafini & Associates LLC, and a resident of Clearfield.
  • Joseph E. Toner III, Chairman of the Uwclan Township Board of Supervisors and President of the Chester County Association of Township Officials.

The Consumer Advisory Council advises the PUC Commissioners on matters related to the protection of consumer interests under the jurisdiction of the PUC. Council meetings are held bimonthly and are open to the public. Members serve without compensation.

Prince Law Offices, P.C. thanks each member for your service.  To learn how Prince Law Offices, P.C. can assist you or your business with energy, real estate, or PUC matters including representation in rate cases, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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New Wind Power Project for Pennsylvania

June 12, 2017, the Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. took an important step towards its commitment to 100 percent renewable energy for the firm’s global electricity needs. It has signed a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, which will add new renewable energy capacity to the electricity grid.

The agreement will enable the investment and development of a new 68 megawatt wind project in Pennsylvania and is anticipated to facilitate up to 150 construction jobs and result in the reduction of more than 200,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per annum once operational.

“We are committed to being a leader in the development of renewable energy,” said Lloyd C. Blankfein, chairman and chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs. “By enabling this new wind project to come online, the agreement will help grow the renewable grid and contribute to the momentum behind a lower carbon economy.”

“We are pleased to advance our partnership with Goldman Sachs and help it achieve its renewable energy goals,” said Armando Pimentel, president and chief executive officer of NextEra Energy Resources, the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and the sun. “This partnership demonstrates how forward-looking companies like Goldman are re-thinking their energy use, and leading the way with their investment in low-cost, clean energy that is both good for the country and good for their customers.”

Goldman Sachs is a member of the RE100 initiative as part of its commitment to increasing awareness and in support of global best practices for renewable energy procurement.  RE100 includes 96 leading corporates committed to 100 percent renewable energy. Goldman Sachs is also a member of the Business Renewables Center, which seeks to accelerate corporate purchasing of renewable energy.

To learn how Prince Law Offices, P.C. can assist you or your business with renewable energy projects, PJM interconnection, real estate, business, FERC, or PUC matters, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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Is it Time to Appeal Your Property Assessment?

Your home or business property tax bill may have arrived recently and like many of us, you wonder if you are paying more than your fair share.  How do you tell?  What can you do?

What is an assessment?

In Pennsylvania, real estate assessment is the value the county assigns to your property.  The assessment is used to determine how much you pay in real estate (school, municipal, and county) property taxes.

How much is my assessment?

Your property tax bill normally identifies the amount of your assessment.  You can also obtain the amount of your property tax assessment from your county tax office or its website.

Is my assessment fair?

The assessment, which is different than the appraised value of your property and in most cases does not equal 100 percent of the fair market value of your property, is established by the county once every few years and remains fixed as property values move up and down. So if your assessment is too high, either because it was originally assessed too high or because of a decrease in your property’s value, you are paying too much in taxes each year that the assessment remains the same.

Identify the current common level ratio for the county in which your property is located, normally from the county assessment office’s website.  Pennsylvania sets the common level ratio for each county annually.  It is the percentage of the market value at which properties should be assessed.

Multiply your estimated fair market value by the common level ratio to determine what you believe the assessment should be for your property.

Compare that to the county assessment.

Should I file an appeal?

You have the right to file an assessment appeal annually.  However, your taxes could increase if it is determined that your assessment was low.  If you believe your assessment is no fair, it is helpful to conduct additional research to identify a few comparable properties with lower assessments before filing an appeal.  We can assist you with identifying appraisers, real estate agents, and comparable properties to help you make an informed decision on whether to appeal this year.

Filing an Appeal

We are happy to assist clients to file an assessment appeal, prepare for and participate in the hearing, and appeal the assessment board decision, if necessary.  The annual deadline for filing of an assessment appeal varies by county but generally are in July or August.

Contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin and the team at Prince Law Offices, P.C. for more information and to discuss your real estate assessment with one of our attorneys.

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Price Changes for Electric Generation; Save Money by Comparing Plans on PAPowerSwitch.com

puc_sealThe Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) on May 31, 2017 alerted consumers that on June 1 most electric utilities adjusted electric generation prices charged to non-shopping, or default service, customers.

“The upcoming price changes, combined with the increase use of electricity that we typically see during the long, hot days of summer, makes this a very good time for consumers to evaluate their energy options,” said PUC Chairman Gladys M. Brown. “We encourage consumers to carefully review their electric bills, understand the rates they will be paying and explore the PUC’s official electric shopping website, PAPowerSwitch.com, for details on competitive offers, along with tips for energy conservation and savings.”

In most areas of Pennsylvania, consumers can choose who supplies their electricity, based on lowest price or other factors, such as renewable energy.

Customers not choosing a competitive electric generation supplier (EGS) continue to receive default service from the utility, with the cost per kilowatt hour (kWh) billed as a pass-through cost to the customer based on wholesale market prices.  By law, the utility cannot make a profit on electric generation, and the PUC does not control the price of the generation portion of the electric bill.

PAPowerSwitch.com, the PUC’s website for electric choice, provides consumers with valuable information on the shopping process.

As of June 1, electric distribution companies with more notable changes in their PTCs include:

  • PPL Electric, with an estimated increase from 7.439 cents to 8.493 cents per kWh, a 14.2 percent increase;
  • Penn Power, with an estimated increase from 5.884 cents to 6.674 cents per kWh, a 13.4 percent increase;
  • West Penn Power, with an estimated increase from 5.975 cents to 6.602 cents per kWh, a 10.5 percent increase;
  • Wellsboro Electric, with an estimated increase from 6.931cents to 8.192 cents per kWh, an 18.2 percent increase;
  • Met-Ed, with an estimated decrease from 6.964 cents to 6.018 cents per kWh, a 13.6 percent decrease; and
  • Citizens’ Electric, with an estimated decrease from 8.16 cents to 6.64 cents per kWh, an 18.6 percent decrease.

Other electric utilities, including Duquesne Light, PECO and Penelec, will see only a slight change in their respective PTCs, though the Commission still encourages customers to explore their options in those service areas.

Chairman Brown noted that when generation prices change, consumers often see an increase in supplier offers being promoted via door-to-door sales in neighborhoods, over the phone, through the mail or online.  She encouraged consumers to thoroughly review their options and understand all terms and conditions before entering into any supplier contract.

 

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

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Safety First – Call Before You Dig

 

PA One Call“The arrival of warmer spring weather often marks an increase in construction and home renovation across the state, making this a prime time to highlight the importance of safe digging practices,” noted Commissioner John F. Coleman Jr. during the Commission’s Public Meeting today. “Every year, there are approximately 6,000 hits on our underground infrastructure across the state, and each one of these poses a risk to contractors, utility workers and bystanders, along with the possibility of service In conjunction with National Safe Digging Month, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today reminded homeowners, businesses and contractors of the importance of dialing 8-1-1 before digging to help ensure the safety of their excavation projects.interruptions, environmental damage and costly repairs to damaged lines.”

State law requires contractors and residents to contact the PA One Call system at least three business days prior to excavation – triggering alerts to all utilities within an intended digging area and prompting them to mark where their facilities are located. Pennsylvanians can dial 8-1-1 puc_sealto connect with the One Call system, while non-Pennsylvania residents can dial 1-800-242-1776.

“We urge everyone involved in excavation projects – whether it’s a small backyard improvement project or a large construction site – to ensure that utilities are marked before any digging begins,” Commission Coleman added. “A single call to 8-1-1 can go a long way toward preventing a potential tragedy or avoiding costly delays or repairs to underground utility lines.”

Governor Wolf and leaders from numerous counties across Pennsylvania have proclaimed April to be Pennsylvania One Call System Safe Digging Month, underscoring the invaluable nature of this service.

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

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