Public Utility Commission lifts enrollment limits on UGI until 2017

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) unanimously moved this week to allow four regional utility businesses to abolish enrollment limits, effectively removing the ceilings until 2017, following a request submitted by the companies.

Voting 5-0, the commission approved a petition from UGI Utilities-Gas Division (UGI Gas), UGI Penn Natural Gas (UGI PNG), UGI Central Penn Gas (UGI CPG) and UGI Utilities-Electric Division (UGI Electric) — collectively referred to as UGI.

The decision allows UGI to eliminate enrollment limits on Customer Assistance Programs (CAPs) in their Universal Service and Energy Conservation Plan (USECP). Currently, no other jurisdictional electric or natural gas utilities use CAP enrollment limits.

All regulated natural gas and electric utilities are required to offer programs to help low-income customers maintain utility service, including Customer Assistance Programs. While the commission’s CAP policy does not specifically address enrollment ceilings, the PUC has consistently approved USECPs and CAPs without enrollment limits upon Pennsylvania utilities' request for the past nine years.

Customers enrolled in a CAP make monthly payments to the utility based on household size and gross income.

To further ensure that low-income customers are served properly, jurisdictional utilities are allowed recovery of most universal service and energy conservation costs incurred, including CAP implementation expenses. These costs are recovered from other residential customers.

UGI entities provide natural gas distribution service to over 600,000 customers in 46 eastern and central Pennsylvania counties. UGI Electric provides electric distribution service to approximately 62,000 customers in two northeastern Pennsylvania counties.

The UGI group was directed to follow customary procedures in cost recovery.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities, ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates, protects the public interest, educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices, furthers economic development, and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.

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Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission

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