OCA Seeks Reconsideration Of PUC Imposition Of Price Cap On Certain Customers, Due To Cap's Relation To Future Prices To Compare Being Delegated To OCMO
September 18, 2018 Email This Story Copyright 2010-17 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate petitioned the Pennsylvania PUC to reconsider its recent decision in the FirstEnergy EDCs' default service proceeding which adopted a price cap on retail supplier service to Pennsylvania Customer Assistance Program (PCAP, or CAP) customers at the FirstEnergy electric distribution companies, as OCA opposed including within the scope of OCMO's review the issue of how the capped EGS price relates to future Prices to Compare
Specifically, in the order the PUC adopted a, "CAP shopping program where CAP customers may only enter into a contract with an EGS for a rate that is at or below the utility’s PTC and does not contain an early termination or cancellation fee."
Elsewhere in the order, the PUC said that, "we shall adopt the ALJ’s recommendation in so far as EGSs may not charge CAP customers a rate greater than the PTC, nor charge early termination or cancellation fees."
However, the PUC found that the mechanics and details of this program were not fully developed and delegated implementation issues to the PUC's Office of Competitive Market Oversight (OCMO) for further discussion regarding mechanics and implementation of the price cap
In its reconsideration request, the OCA said that, in footnote 19 of its order, the Commission stated, "The issue of whether the EGS rates must be below the PTC at the time of contracting, or below that and all future PTCs, is within the scope of this referral to OCMO."
"The OCA requests the Commission reconsider the scope of its referral of FirstEnergy's new CAP shopping program to OCMO as set forth in footnote 19," the OCA said
"Including the issue of whether EGS' rates must be below the PTC at the time of contracting or below the PTC at the time of contracting and all future PTCs in the scope of the Commission's referral to OCMO is inconsistent with the ALJ's recommendation, which the Commission adopted, and overlooks the extensive record evidence of harm to shopping CAP customers resulting from EGS' rates above the PTC," the PUC said
OCA said in its petition that the data in the case, cited by the ALJ, demonstrates that, "over a prolonged period of time," a significant majority of PCAP customers who switch to a competitive electric supplier are charged rates that exceed the price to compare
"This harm was the result of CAP customers paying more than the PTC on a regular basis, not only paying more than the PTC upon initially entering into an EGS contract," OCA said
"Accordingly, to remedy this harm, the ALJ recommended restricting CAP customers from entering into a contract with an EGS for a price which exceeds the PTC, not merely a price which exceeds the PTC at the time of contracting," OCA said
OCA requested that, "the Commission reconsider its September 4, 2018 Order and find that the issue of whether the EGS rate must be below the PTC at the time of contracting or below that and all future PTCs is not within the scope of its referral of the CAP shopping program to OCMO. It should be settled that the EGS rate must be at or below the PTC at all times."