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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: February 8, 2013 04:42 PM
From: Representative Ed Gainey
To: All House members
Subject: Amending Act 11 of 2012 (Former HB 1294 of 2011-12)
It is my intention in the very near future to introduce legislation that repeals a section of Act 11 of 2012 (HB 1294 of 2011-12 session).

Act 11 of 2012 amends Title 66 (Public Utilities) by establishing a new subchapter B to Ch. 13 that provides for distribution system improvement changes (“DSIC”) for water, wastewater, natural gas and electric utilities.

This act essentially provides for distribution system improvement charges for upgrades and maintenance of pipelines, meters, poles and towers, and most importantly, it allows for utility companies to RECOVER these costs by passing the cost on to the CONSUMERS/RATEPAYERS. This will appear (DSIC) as a surcharge on customers’ bills.

While there is a 5% cap on a DSIC for the amount that can be billed to customers, the PUC (Public Utilities Commission) may grant a waiver of the 5% cap “if it is determined to be in the public interest” (the cap for water companies is 7.5%).

I feel that the above mentioned portion of this statute is too burdensome for ratepayers and utility customers who are already burdened with ever increasing utility rate increases. While I understand and appreciate that distribution systems will need updated , I do not believe it to be solely the responsibility of the ratepayer to pay for improvements.

Therefore I intend to repeal a portion of Act 11 of 2012 as written, enacted and codified, specifically Title 66, Section 2, Chapter 13, SUBCHAPTER B, § 1358. Customer protections, subsection (a)(1).

This section will be amended to read:

(a) Limitation.--As follows:

  1. Except as provided under paragraph (2), the distribution system improvement charge may not exceed 5% of the amount billed to customers under the applicable rates of the wastewater utility or distribution rates of the electric distribution company, natural gas distribution company or city natural gas distribution operation. The commission may upon petition grant a waiver of the 5% limit under this paragraph for a utility in order to ensure and maintain adequate, efficient, safe, reliable and reasonable service.

Should you have any questions on this legislation, please don’t hesitate to contact Stephanie in my office at shardman@pahouse.net . Thank you.

Introduced as HB835