Pennsylvania set for big expansion of utility assistance for low-income consumers — at a cost of $102 million

Andrew Maykuth | Thursday, September 19, 2019, The Philadelphia Inquirer

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, split along party lines, voted Thursday to dramatically expand low-income utility assistance programs, making them more forgiving and more affordable for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians.

The PUC’s action could significantly lower energy costs for the poorest families — a household with a $10,000 annual income could see a $1,000 decrease in electric and gas bills. But the new policy will shift the estimated $102 million cost of the expanded low-income subsidies to other customers, including, for the first time, commercial and industrial customers. Utility consumers in Philadelphia, the poorest large city in the country, will likely bear a significant part of the cost burden.

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State PUC urges Philly to get rid of ‘duplicative’ gas commission

Andrew Maykuth | Monday, September 24, 2018, The Philadelphia Inquirer

State regulators again are calling on Philadelphia elected officials to get rid of the “duplicative” Philadelphia Gas Commission, which they say costs city gas customers nearly $1 million a year.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, in an update of its 2015 management audit of the Philadelphia Gas Works, said the city had failed to address a longstanding suggestion to streamline the “duplicative and unclear governance structure” over the city-owned gas utility.

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Pennsylvania’s lawmakers look to streamline replacement of lead utility service lines

Liz Navratil and Adam Smeltz | Monday, August 14, 2017, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Amid the budget impasse enveloping Harrisburg this summer, legislators slipped into state spending bills language that would empower the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority to help homeowners replace their lead service lines.

The provision, tucked into a document called the fiscal code, would allow PWSA and similar agencies across the state to replace or repair privately owned segments of select utility lines — but only if the work would “benefit the public health, public water supply system or public sewer system.” Municipal authorities would have to consider the “availability of public funds, equipment, personnel and facilities” before starting.

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Tonight on “The Public Forum” on KQV Radio 1410

The Public Forum is a bi monthly KQV Radio Talk Show where Cohen & Grigsby Lobbyists and various guests discuss hot issues impacting Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Washington, DC and the business community.

Our host for tonight’s show is Nello Giorgetti with guest, Gladys Brown, Chair of the Pennsylvania Utility Commission.

We hope you will listen tonight at 7:00 PM at 1410 AM, KQV.

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If you have questions please contact Michelle Vezzani at MVezzani@cohenlaw.com or the public affairs professional with whom you work.

New Legislation Introduced – August 2014

Transportation

  • Rep. Mustio (R-Allegheny County) sponsored a bill that would require transportation network companies, such as Uber and Lyft, to be licensed by the Public Utility Commission (PUC) and to meet certain insurance and safety requirements.  (House Bill 2453).  Rep. DeLuca (D-Allegheny County) sponsored a similar bill.  (House Bill 2446).
  • Rep. Killion (R-Delaware County) sponsored a bill that would place certain limitations on transportation network companies, such as Uber and Lyft, including, but not limited to, a requirement to obtain commercial liability insurance as primary coverage, obtain a certificate of public convenience, and file criminal background checks on the drivers of these companies.  (House Bill 2445).

Immigration

  • Rep. Metcalfe (R-Butler County) sponsored a bill that would require all employers in the state, including governmental employers, to enroll in the Employment Eligibility Verification Program (E-Verify); it would also allow municipal governments to adopt ordinances denying business licenses to employers of unauthorized aliens.  (House Bill 2430).

Municipal (Vacant & Blighted Property)

  • Rep. Day (R-Berks County) will be introducing legislation that would establish the Vacant Property Registration and Assessment Act, which is intended to address problems associated with vacant and blighted property by shifting the responsibility of helping to solve those problems on owners of properties that are vacant and/or blighted.

Taxation

  • Rep. Thomas (D-Philadelphia County) will be introducing legislation calling upon the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to conduct a study on transitioning from a flat personal income tax to a graduated personal income tax system.

Economic Development

  • Rep. Benninghoff (R-Centre County) sponsored a bill that would reduce the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) debt ceiling (the outstanding obligations for redevelopment assistance projects) by $50 million increments until the debt ceiling reaches $2.95 billion (on July 1, 2027).  (House Bill 2420).

Rep. Turzai (R-Allegheny County) sponsored a bill that would establish annual spending limits on all project types that come under the Capital Facilities Debt Enabling Act, including redevelopment assistance projects.  (House Bill 2419).

 

If you have questions about the budget or any introduced legislation, please contact Michelle Vezzani at MVezzani@cohenlaw.com or the public affairs professional with whom you work.