Tag Archives: “Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission”

Pennsylvania’s Powelson to Join FERC from PaPUC

FERC

President Donald J. Trump announced May 8, 2017 his intent to nominate the following individuals to key positions in his Administration:

Neil Chatterjee of Kentucky to be a Member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for the term expiring June 30, 2021. Mr. Chatterjee is energy policy advisor to United States Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Over the years he has played an integral role in the passage of major energy, highway, and farm legislation. Prior to serving Leader McConnell, he worked as a Principal in Government Relations for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and as an aide to House Republican Conference Chairwoman Deborah Pryce of Ohio. He began his career in Washington, DC, with the House Committee on Ways and Means. A Lexington, Kentucky native, he is a graduate of St. Lawrence University and the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

powelsonRobert F. Powelson of Pennsylvania to be a Member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for the term expiring June 30, 2020. Commissioner Powelson has served as a Commissioner on the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) since 2008. Commissioner Powelson was first nominated to the PUC on June 19, 2008, by Governor Edward G. Rendell and appointed Chairman by Governor Tom Corbett in 2011. Currently, Commissioner Powelson serves as the President of National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) based in Washington, DC. Commissioner Powelson serves on the Electric Power Research Institute Advisory Board (EPRI) as well as the Drexel University Board of Trustees. From 1994 to 2008, Powelson served as the President and CEO of the Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry based in Malvern, PA. In 2005, he was selected by the Eisenhower Presidential Fellow to be a United States fellow in Singapore and Australia. Commissioner Powelson holds a Bachelor of Administration from St. Joseph’s University and a Master of Governmental Administration with a concentration in public finance from the University of Pennsylvania.

Prince Law Offices, P.C. congratulates Commissioner Powelson.  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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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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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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Got Gas? PA Collects Over $1 Billion for Gas Wells

Over the past five years, since the passage of Act 13 of 2012 and the inception of puc_sealPennsylvania’s unconventional gas well impact fee program, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) has collected and distributed more than $1 billion to counties, municipalities and other organizations.

 

Extensive public information about Pennsylvania’s impact fee program is available on the PUC’s interactive Act 13 website. Visitors can review specifics on funds collected and distributed for each year since 2011.  The site allows individuals to search and download statistics such as distributions to individual municipalities or counties; allocation and usage of those funds, based on reports submitted by various municipalities; eligible wells per county/municipality; and payments by producers.

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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PAPUC Commissioner Powelson Elected as President of National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners

Congratulations to Pennsylvania’s own Commissioner Powelson!  The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) Commissioner Robert F. Powelson has been elected as the next president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). He will serve a one-year term.powelson

“Since my first meeting in 2008, I have found NARUC to be an organization with a diversity of leaders and staff who work to bring a variety of perspectives to the table,” said Commissioner Powelson. “Its mission to serve the public is something that has been steadfastly supported by those who have come before me, and I am honored and committed to continuing this work.”

Founded in 1889, NARUC is a non-profit organization dedicated to representing the state public service commissions who regulate the utilities that provide essential services such as energy, telecommunications, power, water, and transportation. NARUC’s members include utility regulators from all 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

Commissioner Powelson was nominated by PUC Chairman Gladys M. Brown, who noted his extensive background and strong record of service in Pennsylvania. “It is with great pleasure that I nominate someone who is knowledgeable about issues that impact all of our states; someone who is forward thinking, especially in our ever changing environment; and someone who is passionate about public utilities, as demonstrated in every conversation he has on the many issues that we face as Commissioners,” said Chairman Brown.

Looking ahead to the coming year, Commissioner Powelson will focus on three critical issues driving the future of utility regulation: Infrastructure, innovation and investment. “I think we would all agree that no modern nation has ever achieved economic prosperity or a high quality of life without adequate investment in infrastructure,” Powelson said. “It is clear that encouraging sound financial investment in our nation’s utility infrastructure is an important issue and one that NARUC should be engaged in.”

Additionally, he noted that NARUC – and utility regulators across the country – can play a major role in embracing and fostering innovation. “From increased data analytics and cloud based software to new forms of energy storage – just to name of few – NARUC is the perfect place to examine these trends and figure out which ones have longevity and should be pursued,” Powelson noted. “Over the next year, NARUC will focus on bringing thought-leaders in technology to NARUC and showcasing some of the newest technologies in the utility realm.”

Finally, Commissioner Powelson stressed the need to invest in people, especially efforts to ensure that the next generation of utility workers is prepared for future challenges, along with a focused effort to encourage utilities to hire veterans. “Investing in people – investing in the brain trust that will carry us forward into the next generation – is an essential investment that cannot be overlooked,” Powelson said. “I would also like to launch a NARUC Task Force on Veterans’ Affairs to examine best practices for hiring veterans in utility work and for partnering with community colleges to produce qualified candidates. I believe this is a partnership that has the potential to benefit everyone.”

Commissioner Powelson was first nominated to the PUC in 2008, and he served as Chairman from 2011 to 2015. He is also a member of the NARUC Board of Directors and has served as NARUC first vice president, chair of the NARUC Committee on Water and a member of the Committee on Critical Infrastructure, the Subcommittee on Nuclear Issues-Waste Disposal and the Subcommittee on Education and Research.

Additionally, Commissioner Powelson is a past president of the Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utilities Commissioners (MACRUC), a voting member of the National Regulatory Research Institute (NRRI) and serves on the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) Advisory Council. He also served as a member of the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission and was President of the Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry from 1994 to 2008.

 

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