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Retail Markets Investigation to Bear Fruit

The first product of the PUC’s Retail Markets Investigation is expected in the form of a Tentative Order to be voted on at the PUC’s October 13, 2011 Public Meeting, and will address the Electric Distribution Company (“EDC”) Default Service Plans for June 1, 2013 and beyond.

The Retail Markets Investigation, which was launched earlier this year with the intention of making “improvements to ensure that a properly functioning and workable competitive retail electricity market exists in the state,” has been hard at work for several months and this Tentative Order will be the first tangible product of the effort.

The process was initiated by an Order dated April 29, 2011.  Investigation of Pennsylvania Retail Electricity Market, I-2011-2237952 (Order entered April 29, 2011).  The PUC then held an en banc hearing and has, since late August 2011, been in engaged in a technical conference process where various issues regarding the enhancement of the competitiveness of the electricity markets and the future state of the electricity markets in Pennsylvania, such as eliminating the merchant function role for EDCs, have been under discussion by a wide ranging group that includes market participants and customer representatives.  PUC Staff has been presiding over lengthy weekly telephone conference calls that produced lively debate on various subtopics ranging from the design of opt-in default service auctions and the EDCs’ exit from the merchant function to the design of customer information post cards that will be sent out by the PUC in the very near future.

The Tentative Order, to be voted on at the PUC’s October 13, 2011 Public Meeting, concerns the transition/bridge plans that will be needed to follow the utilities’ current default service plans that expire on May 30, 2013.  The PUC Staff is expected to recommend that the PUC adopt shorter term (probably one year) plans that will also include the adoption of a number of competitive enhancements that are likely to come out of the technical conference process.

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