On November 25, 2013, Governor Tom Corbett signed Act 89 (the “Act”) into law. The Act, predominantly funded by an increase in motor fuel taxes, will provide needed upgrades to Pennsylvania’s transportation infrastructure.
HMS Legal Blog
The PUC’s deadline of December 12, 2013, to receive comments from interested parties on the current state of competitiveness of the natural gas market in Pennsylvania is drawing near.
The Public Utility Commission (“PUC”) recently issued a Tentative Order in the matter of: The Use of Fixed Price Labels for Products With a Pass-Through Clause, Docket No. M-2013-2362961 (Tentative Order entered May 23, 2013), in which it requested interested parties to comment on what it views as an emerging problem: certain Electric Generation Suppliers (“EGS”) offering products labeled as “fixed price” when the products clearly are “variable price” products. Comments were filed June 24 and a PUC decision is expected soon.
In what will likely prove to be a controversial decision, the Staff of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission denied the request of First Energy Solutions (FES0 to be the assignee of two default service supply contracts, currently held by BP, for two tranches of supply each with Metropolitan Edison Company and West Penn Power Company. FEs has appealed Staff's action to the Commission itself.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has adopted rule changes that will result in shorter appellate briefs based on a “word count” approach of the type used in the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure. The current volume limits are 70 pages for principal briefs and 25 pages for reply briefs. Under the new rules, the volume limits are a “word count” of 14,000 words for principal briefs (approximately 56 pages assuming 250 words per page) and 7,000 words for reply briefs (approximately 28 pages assuming 250 words per page). A brief based on word count must be accompanied by certification of counsel that the brief complies with the limit. The rule permits continued use of a page count to determine volume, but at the reduced page count levels of 30 pages for principal briefs and 15 pages for reply briefs.
In an effort that is likely to fall short of the expectations of more than a few participants, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (“Commission”) officially shared its vision of the next steps for encouraging more competitive electricity markets in the Commonwealth.
In a long anticipated Tentative Order, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (“PUC”) finally revealed its vision for the “end state” of the retail electricity market in Pennsylvania. The problem; many observers believe that the “cure” will kill the patient.
Jersey and New York gasoline distributors continue to struggle to supply gas stations with diesel and gasoline product while federal and state legislatures both suspend and invoke regulations in order to assist and police gasoline distributors.
Pursuant to the Proclamation of Disaster Emergency issued by Governor Corbett on October 26, 2012, the Secretary of Transportation, Barry J. Schoch, has signed a waiver extending the hours drivers may drive in a single shift from 11 to 14 hours. This waiver applies to drivers carrying motor fuels, heating oil, or propane.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (“PUC”) caused quite a stir with its August 16, 2012 Order that partially approved the jointly filed default service plans of the four First Energy electric utility affiliates serving in Pennsylvania.
 Joint Petition of Metropolitan Edison Company, Pennsylvania Electric Company, Pennsylvania Power Company and West Penn Power Company for Approval of their Default Service Programs, Docket Nos. P-2011-2273650 et al. (Order entered August 16, 2012)(“First Energy Order”) .
Providing a win to competitive suppliers, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (“PUC”) at its July 19 public meeting unanimously denied PPL’s request for a migration rider for default service customers.
PA PUC Requested by Statutory Advocates and Two NGDCs to Examine The Practice of Natural Gas Flexible Pricing or Negotiated Discount Rates
Historically the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) has permitted natural gas distribution companies (NGDCs) to use flexible pricing or “flex” contract rates to attract or retain large customers who have other energy alternatives. The reasoning has been that “half a loaf is better than none,” and that such revenues, which cover and exceed marginal cost, contribute positively to overall cost of service. The result is a benefit to the large customer, the utility, and all customers generally. Moreover, in terms of retaining a customer, the argument in favor of the status quo is that other ratepayers benefit as they do not bear the revenue burden of stranded investment or a smaller revenue pot over which to apply costs. The NGDCs have generally been able to recover from other ratepayers the difference between the “flex” rate and what would have otherwise been charged under an ordinary general tariff rate.
Solar developers are finding that Pennsylvania funding sources for solar development are drying up with no plans of replenishing the pool. The dearth of available solar grants could not come at a worse time. On May 17, 2012, the U.S. Commerce Department announced stiff tariffs on Chinese-made solar panels raising costs on most future solar projects.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (“PUC”) has clarified Gas & Hazardous Liquids Pipelines Act for Class 1 Entities.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission will now decide whether migration riders will be permitted for electricity customers, at the same time it is moving forward with its Retail Markets Investigation and its notable efforts to make the electricity markets more competitive.
The PUC yesterday took a big first step toward creating an electricity market where most customers are served by competitive suppliers, and not by utilities, and unanimously voted to adopt recommendations for the next round of default service plans that will be filed by Pennsylvania’s electric utilities.
Two electric distribution companies, First Energy and PECO Energy Company, have filed their default service plans for service that will begin in 2013 – before the PUC has issued final guidance on what those plans should include.