IRRC Approves PUC Regulations To Speed Switching Electric Suppliers
The Public Utility Commission Thursday applauded the state’s Independent Regulatory Review Commission for its approval of PUC regulations that provide consumers with the flexibility they need to move quickly away from electric generation rate increases and have all of the information they need to make an informed decision.
“We want to commend the leadership of the IRRC commissioners in supporting us unanimously with these two rulemakings,” said PUC Chairman Robert F. Powelson in a video news release. “We heard loud and clear from thousands of impacted consumers about wanting greater disclosure. I think today’s actions also were really laying the groundwork, especially with accelerated switching, to make the shopping experience a very positive one for consumers.”
The IRRC voted 5-0 to approve both of the regulations. The regulations will become effective following publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, which is anticipated to be in June. The accelerated switching is to be implemented within six months, while improved disclosures are to be in place within 30 days. The regulations are still awaiting final review by the state Attorney General.
The Commission emphasized that approval of the regulations is one step toward ensuring consumers are protected in robust competitive electric market. The Commission remains committed to work with the legislature should it pursue additional consumer protections.
The accelerated switching regulations dramatically reduce the time it takes customers to change electricity suppliers. The regulations require electric distribution companies (EDCs) to accelerate switching time frames through off-cycle meter readings that will allow consumers to switch suppliers within three business days of the EDC being notified of a request for a switch. EDCs are required to implement the changes within six months of the new regulations becoming final.
“Consumers are still reeling from the impact of this winter’s wholesale electricity market price increases,” Chairman Powelson said. “On June 1, many customers who chose to stay with their electric utility for generation service may experience electric price increases that range between 20 percent and 50 percent. Today’s action will allow them to more quickly react to these price changes in the future, providing greater protections to consumers.”
The supplier disclosure statement regulations provide electric shopping customers with greater, uniform detail in electric supplier disclosure statements and more timely information on “contract renewal” and “change in terms” notices. Electric generation suppliers (EGSs) are required to display key contractual terms and conditions more prominently, especially for customers on variable-priced products; provide historical pricing data on their products; and mark prominently customer notices prior to contract expiration or changes in terms.
The changes are designed to provide additional information and greater protections for residential and small business customers choosing a competitive supplier for their electric generation.
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