§ 2807. Duties of electric distribution companies.
(a) General rule.--Each electric distribution company shall maintain the integrity of the distribution system at least in conformity with the National Electric Safety Code and such other standards practiced by the industry in a manner sufficient to provide safe and reliable service to all customers connected to the system consistent with this title and the commission's regulations. In performing such duties, the electric distribution company shall implement procedures to require all electric generation suppliers to deliver energy to the electric distribution company at locations and in amounts which are adequate to meet the energy supplier's obligations to its customers. Subject to commission approval, the electric distribution company may require that the customer install, at the customer's expense, enhanced metering capability sufficient to match the energy delivered by the electric generation suppliers with consumption by the customer.
(b) Procedures for review by the commission.--There shall be a rebuttable presumption that the electric distribution company has the ability to receive energy at all points on its system sufficient to meet the needs of all electric generation suppliers' customers on its system. The electric distribution company shall not have an obligation to install nonstandard facilities, either as to type or location, for the purpose of receiving energy from the energy supplier unless the energy supplier or its customer pays the full cost of these facilities. Nothing in this chapter shall prevent the electric distribution company from upgrading its system to meet changing customer requirements consistent with the requirements of section 1501 (relating to character of service and facilities), and the commission may establish incentive programs to encourage such system upgrades. Disputes concerning facilities shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the commission and may be initiated by the filing of a complaint under section 701 (relating to complaints) by the electric generation supplier or the customer.
(c) Customer billing.--Subject to the right of an end-use customer to choose to receive separate bills from its electric generation supplier, the electric distribution company may be responsible for billing customers for all electric services, consistent with the regulations of the commission, regardless of the identity of the provider of those services.
(1) Customer bills shall contain unbundled charges sufficient to enable the customer to determine the basis for those charges.
(2) If services are provided by an entity other than the electric distribution company, the entity that provides those services shall furnish to the electric distribution company billing data sufficient to enable the electric distribution company to bill customers.
(3) The electric distribution company shall not be required to forward payment to entities providing services to customers, and on whose behalf the electric distribution company is billing those customers, before the electric distribution company has received payment for those services from customers.
(d) Consumer protections and customer service.--The electric distribution company shall continue to provide customer service functions consistent with the regulations of the commission, including meter reading, complaint resolution and collections. Customer services shall, at a minimum, be maintained at the same level of quality under retail competition.
(1) The commission shall establish regulations to ensure that an electric distribution company does not change a customer's electricity supplier without direct oral confirmation from the customer of record or written evidence of the customer's consent to a change of supplier.
(2) The commission shall establish regulations to require each electric distribution company, electricity supplier, marketer, aggregator and broker to provide adequate and accurate customer information to enable customers to make informed choices regarding the purchase of all electricity services offered by that provider. Information shall be provided to consumers in an understandable format that enables consumers to compare prices and services on a uniform basis.
(3) Prior to the implementation of any restructuring plan under section 2806 (relating to implementation, pilot programs and performance-based rates), each electric distribution company, in conjunction with the commission, shall implement a consumer education program informing customers of the changes in the electric utility industry. The program shall provide consumers with information necessary to help them make appropriate choices as to their electric service. The education program shall be subject to approval by the commission.
(e) Obligation to serve.--A default service provider's obligation to provide electric generation supply service following the expiration of a generation rate cap specified under section 2804(4) (relating to standards for restructuring of electric industry) or a restructuring plan under section 2806(f) is revised as follows:
(1) While an electric distribution company collects either a competitive transition charge or an intangible transition charge or until 100% of its customers have choice, whichever is longer, the electric distribution company shall continue to have the full obligation to serve, including the connection of customers, the delivery of electric energy and the production or acquisition of electric energy for customers.
(2) (Deleted by amendment).
(3) (Deleted by amendment).
(3.1) Following the expiration of an electric distribution company's obligation to provide electric generation supply service to retail customers at capped rates, if a customer contracts for electric generation supply service and the chosen electric generation supplier does not provide the service or if a customer does not choose an alternative electric generation supplier, the default service provider shall provide electric generation supply service to that customer pursuant to a commission-approved competitive procurement plan. The electric power acquired shall be procured through competitive procurement processes and shall include one or more of the following:
(ii) Requests for proposal.
(iii) Bilateral agreements entered into at the sole discretion of the default service provider which shall be at prices which are:
(A) no greater than the cost of obtaining generation under comparable terms in the wholesale market, as determined by the commission at the time of execution of the contract; or
(B) consistent with a commission-approved competition procurement process. Any agreement between affiliated parties shall be subject to review and approval of the commission under Chapter 21 (relating to relations with affiliated interests). In no case shall the cost of obtaining generation from any affiliated interest be greater than the cost of obtaining generation under comparable terms in the wholesale market at the time of execution of the contract.
(3.2) The electric power procured pursuant to paragraph (3.1) shall include a prudent mix of the following:
(i) Spot market purchases.
(ii) Short-term contracts.
(iii) Long-term purchase contracts, entered into as a result of an auction, request for proposal or bilateral contract that is free of undue influence, duress or favoritism, of more than four and not more than 20 years. The default service provider shall have sole discretion to determine the source and fuel type. Long-term purchase contracts under this subparagraph may not constitute more than 25% of the default service provider's projected default service load unless the commission, after a hearing, determines for good cause that a greater portion of load is necessary to achieve least cost procurement. This subparagraph shall not apply to contracts executed under paragraph (5).
(3.3) The commission may determine that a contract is required to be extended for a longer term of up to 20 years, if the extension is necessary to ensure adequate and reliable service at least cost to customers over time.
(3.4) The prudent mix of contracts entered into pursuant to paragraphs (3.2) and (3.3) shall be designed to ensure:
(i) Adequate and reliable service.
(ii) The least cost to customers over time.
(iii) Compliance with the requirements of paragraph (3.1).
(3.5) Except as set forth in paragraph (5)(ii), the provisions of this section shall apply to any type of energy purchased by a default service provider to provide electric generation supply service, including energy or alternative energy portfolio standards credits required to be purchased under the act of November 30, 2004 (P.L.1672, No.213), known as the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act. The commission shall apply paragraph (3.4) to comparable types of energy sources.
(3.6) The default service provider shall file a plan for competitive procurement with the commission and obtain commission approval of the plan considering the standards in paragraphs (3.1), (3.2), (3.3) and (3.4) before the competitive process is implemented. The commission shall hold hearings as necessary on the proposed plan. If the commission fails to issue a final order on the plan within nine months of the date that the plan is filed, the plan shall be deemed to be approved and the default service provider may implement the plan as filed. Costs incurred through an approved competitive procurement plan shall be deemed to be the least cost over time as required under paragraph (3.4)(ii).
(3.7) At the time the commission evaluates the plan and prior to approval, in determining if the default electric service provider's plan obtains generation supply at the least cost, the commission shall consider the default service provider's obligation to provide adequate and reliable service to customers and that the default service provider has obtained a prudent mix of contracts to obtain least cost on a long-term, short-term and spot market basis and shall make specific findings which shall include the following:
(i) The default service provider's plan includes prudent steps necessary to negotiate favorable generation supply contracts.
(ii) The default service provider's plan includes prudent steps necessary to obtain least cost generation supply contracts on a long-term, short-term and spot market basis.
(iii) Neither the default service provider nor its affiliated interest has withheld from the market any generation supply in a manner that violates Federal law.
(3.8) Notwithstanding sections 508 (relating to power of the commission to vary, reform and revise contracts) and 2102 (relating to approval of contracts with affiliated interests), the commission may modify contracts or disallow costs only when the party seeking recovery of the costs of a procurement plan is, after hearing, found to be at fault for the following:
(i) not complying with the commission-approved procurement plan; or
(ii) the commission of fraud, collusion or market manipulation with regard to these contracts.
(3.9) The default service provider shall have the right to recover on a full and current basis, pursuant to a reconcilable automatic adjustment clause under section 1307 (relating to sliding scale of rates; adjustments), all reasonable costs incurred under this section and a commission-approved competitive procurement plan.
(4) If a customer that chooses an alternative supplier and subsequently desires to return to the local distribution company for generation service, the local distribution company shall treat that customer exactly as it would any new applicant for energy service.
(5) (i) Notwithstanding paragraph (3.1), the electric distribution company or commission-approved alternative supplier may, in its sole discretion, offer large customers with a peak demand of 15 megawatts or greater at one meter at a location in its service territory any negotiated rate for service at all of the customers' locations within the service territory for any duration agreed upon by the electric distribution company or commission-approved alternative supplier and the large customer. The commission shall permit, but shall not require, an electric distribution company or commission-approved alternative supplier to provide service to large customers under this paragraph. Contract rates entered into under this paragraph shall be subject to review by the commission in order to ensure that all costs related to the rates are borne by the parties to the contract and that no costs related to the rates are borne by other customers or customer classes. If no costs related to the rates are borne by other customers or customer classes, the commission shall approve the contract within 90 days of its filing, or it shall be deemed approved by operation of law upon expiration of the 90 days. Information submitted under this paragraph shall be subject to the commission's procedures for the filing of confidential and proprietary information.
(ii) For purposes of providing service under this paragraph to customers with a peak demand of 20 megawatts or greater at one meter at a location within that distribution company's service territory, an electric distribution company that has completed its restructuring transition period as of the effective date of this paragraph may, in its sole discretion, acquire an interest in a generation facility or construct a generation facility specifically to meet the energy requirements of the customers, including the electric requirements of the customers' other billing locations within its service territory. The electric distribution company must commence construction of the generation facility or contract to acquire the generation interest within three years after the effective date of this paragraph, except that the electric distribution company may add to the generation facilities it commenced construction or contracted to acquire after this three-year period to serve additional load of customers for whom it commenced construction or contracted to acquire generation within three years. Nothing in this paragraph requires or authorizes the commission to require an electric distribution company to commence construction or acquire an interest in a generation facility. The electric distribution company's interest in the generation facility it built or contracted to acquire shall be no larger than necessary to meet peak demand of customers served under this subparagraph. During times when the customer's demand is less than the electric distribution company's generation interest, the electric distribution company may sell excess power on the wholesale market. At no time shall the costs associated with the generating facility interests be included in rate base or otherwise reflected in rates. The generation facility interests shall not be commission-regulated assets.
(6) A default service plan approved by the commission prior to the effective date of this section shall remain in effect through its approved term. At its sole discretion, the default service provider may propose amendments to its approved plan that are consistent with this section, and the commission shall issue a decision whether to approve or disapprove the proposed amendments within nine months of the date that the amendments are filed. If the commission fails to issue a final order within nine months, the amendments shall be deemed to be approved and the default service provider may implement the amendments as filed.
(7) The default service provider shall offer residential and small business customers a generation supply service rate that shall change no more frequently than on a quarterly basis. All default service rates shall be reviewed by the commission to ensure that the costs of providing service to each customer class are not subsidized by any other class.
(f) Smart meter technology and time of use rates.--
(1) Within nine months after the effective date of this paragraph, electric distribution companies shall file a smart meter technology procurement and installation plan with the commission for approval. The plan shall describe the smart meter technologies the electric distribution company proposes to install in accordance with paragraph (2).
(2) Electric distribution companies shall furnish smart meter technology as follows:
(i) Upon request from a customer that agrees to pay the cost of the smart meter at the time of the request.
(ii) In new building construction.
(iii) In accordance with a depreciation schedule not to exceed 15 years.
(3) Electric distribution companies shall, with customer consent, make available direct meter access and electronic access to customer meter data to third parties, including electric generation suppliers and providers of conservation and load management services.
(4) In no event shall lost or decreased revenues by an electric distribution company due to reduced electricity consumption or shifting energy demand be considered any of the following:
(i) A cost of smart meter technology recoverable under a reconcilable automatic adjustment clause under section 1307(b), except that decreased revenues and reduced energy consumption may be reflected in the revenue and sales data used to calculate rates in a distribution rate base rate proceeding filed under section 1308 (relating to voluntary changes in rates).
(ii) A recoverable cost.
(5) By January 1, 2010, or at the end of the applicable generation rate cap period, whichever is later, a default service provider shall submit to the commission one or more proposed time-of-use rates and real-time price plans. The commission shall approve or modify the time-of-use rates and real-time price plan within six months of submittal. The default service provider shall offer the time-of-use rates and real-time price plan to all customers that have been provided with smart meter technology under paragraph (2)(iii). Residential or commercial customers may elect to participate in time-of-use rates or real-time pricing. The default service provider shall submit an annual report to the price programs and the efficacy of the programs in affecting energy demand and consumption and the effect on wholesale market prices.
(6) The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to an electric distribution company with 100,000 or fewer customers.
(7) An electric distribution company may recover reasonable and prudent costs of providing smart meter technology under paragraph (2)(ii) and (iii), as determined by the commission. This paragraph includes annual depreciation and capital costs over the life of the smart meter technology and the cost of any system upgrades that the electric distribution company may require to enable the use of the smart meter technology which are incurred after the effective date of this paragraph, less operating and capital cost savings realized by the electric distribution company from the installation and use of the smart meter technology. Smart meter technology shall be deemed to be a new service offered for the first time under section 2804(4)(vi). An electric distribution company may recover smart meter technology costs:
(i) through base rates, including a deferral for future base rate recovery of current basis with carrying charge as determined by the commission; or
(ii) on a full and current basis through a reconcilable automatic adjustment clause under section 1307.
(g) Definition.--As used in this section, the term "smart meter technology" means technology, including metering technology and network communications technology capable of bidirectional communication, that records electricity usage on at least an hourly basis, including related electric distribution system upgrades to enable the technology. The technology shall provide customers with direct access to and use of price and consumption information. The technology shall also:
(1) Directly provide customers with information on their hourly consumption.
(2) Enable time-of-use rates and real-time price programs.
(3) Effectively support the automatic control of the customer's electricity consumption by one or more of the following as selected by the customer:
(i) the customer;
(ii) the customer's utility; or
(iii) a third party engaged by the customer or the customer's utility.
(July 17, 2007, P.L.120, No.36, eff. imd.; Oct. 15, 2008, P.L.1592, No.129, eff. 30 days)
2008 Amendment. Act 129 amended subsec. (e) and added subsecs. (f) and (g).
Cross References. Section 2807 is referred to in section 1330.