Rising electricity rates and the PUC

The Public Utility Commission published a number of press releases yesterday addressing the expected rise in electricity rates.

– The Public Utility Commission finally gave PPL the go ahead to implement a voluntary rate stabilization plan. Customers would have the option of gradually increasing their electricity payments with the extra funds, plus 6% interest, being returned as credit on future electric bills.

-Mandatory consumer education plans from PECO and UGI were approved. These plans are suppose to educate consumers as they prepare to shop for their own electricity.

-The Commission also approved a plan from Allegheny Power to encourage investment in alternative energy. Customers can purchase Alternative Energy Credits which will be used to develop alternative energy. The company hopes these efforts will give consumers an incentive to invest in alternative energy and bring the company closer to meeting AEPS goals. The government mandate requires companies to generate 18.5% of their power from alternative energy resources by 2021.

-And the Commission is planning to release comparisons between present electricity rates (set in 1997) and the current market price of electricity. These comparisons and the research behind them are expected to facilitate the transition to a competitive market.

Despite environmental regulations and the weight of detailed government oversight, utilities are continuing to develop innovative ways to deal with rising energy costs. Imagine what they could do without burdensome bureaucracy.