Initial PUC Decision Would Dismiss Complaint Against Retail Supplier For Lack of Authority To Issue Refunds
July 28, 2015 Email This Story Copyright 2010-15 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Karen Abbott • firstname.lastname@example.org
An initial decision from a Pennsylvania ALJ concerning a complaint filed against Liberty Power Holdings, LLC would dismiss the complaint because the PUC does not have authority to issue refunds to larger business customers.
The complainant, Praamukh Swami Maharaj, LLC, had sought a refund of charges from Liberty Power Holdings, LLC applied after the expiration of a fixed price contract when the customer, a business, was placed on a rollover rate.
Liberty Power Holdings, LLC sent the two required notices to the customer concerning contract expiration, and did not receive a response from the complainant. Neither notice was returned as undeliverable.
The ALJ noted that under PUC precedent, the Commission cannot generally refund charges for electric generation supply service, as its lacks authority over supplier rates.
However, the ALJ noted that the Commission has carved out two exceptions to this no-refund rule.
First, the Commission has noted that, pursuant to 52 Pa.Code § 57.177(b), it can direct an EGS to refund charges when a customer has been switched to an EGS without the customer’s consent. This exception is not applicable to the subject proceeding, as there is no dispute that the complainant entered into a contract with Liberty Power Holdings, LLC, the ALJ said.
Second, the Commission has stated that it has the authority, pursuant to 66 Pa.C.S. § 501, to order a credit or refund where the EGS overbills a customer by failing to bill a customer in accordance with its disclosure statement, in violation of 52 Pa.Code §§ 54.4(a) and 54.5(a) and 66 Pa.C.S. § 2809(b).
The ALJ noted that Sections 54.4-54.9 apply only to residential and small business customers, as the term is defined in § 54.2. Specifically, a small business is defined as a customer whose maximum registered peak load was less than 25 kW within the last 12 months.
The ALJ found that the complainant’s maximum registered peak load was in excess of 25 kilowatt hours during the 12 month period prior to the rate increase
"Based upon the evidence presented in this matter, Complainant is not a residential or small business customer, and therefore, 52 Pa.Code § 54.4(a) and 54.5(a) do not apply to this proceeding," the ALJ said.
"Accordingly, the Commission lacks the authority to refund charges for the electric generation supply service provided in this case," the ALJ said, and the initial decision would deny the complaint