Before the House Consumer Affairs Committee
Hearing on Chapter 14 of Title 66 and on House Bill 939
Donna M.J. Clark Vice
President and General Counsel
April 24, 2013
Good morning Chairman Godshall, Chairman Daley, Committee Members and guests. I am Donna Clark, Vice President and General Counsel of the Energy Association of Pennsylvania (“EAP” or “Association”), a trade association comprised of electric and natural gas utilities operating in Pennsylvania.
First, I’d like to thank the Committee for the opportunity to participate in today’s public hearing on Chapter 14 of Title 66 and HB 939 on behalf of the EAP’s electric and natural gas utility members.1 House Bill 939 seeks to amend the Responsible Utility Customer Protection Act, which is commonly referred to as “Chapter 14” because it added that chapter to the Public Utility Code. EAP and its members do not object to including wastewater utilities in Chapter 14. With regard to substantive provisions of the Act, we submit that the law has worked as intended and it would be in the public interest to reauthorize the Act “as is”.
Chapter 14 has achieved its stated policy goal to “provide protections against rate increases for timely paying customers resulting from other customers’ delinquencies” (See 66 Pa. C. S. § 1402) by establishing an equitable framework within which to update and improve long-standing regulatory policies for issues related to residential utility collections. The rules in existence at the time this statute was enacted had been in place since June, 1978 and had become ineffective in governing residential utility standards and billing practices. The rules in place in 2004 were not successfully managing residential utility bill payment issues. Increasing amounts of unpaid bills and delinquencies threatened timely-paying customers with higher rates.
Please direct any questions or requests for more information to Debra Kitner by email or phone at (717) 901-0607.