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Pennsylvania PUC Says Retail Electric Suppliers Must Now Disclose "Real" Per-kWh Price, Reminds Consumers That Enhanced Disclosure Rules Are Now Effective

September 30, 2020

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Reporting by Paul Ring •

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The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) reminded electric customers that enhanced retail electric disclosure rules that are, "geared to provide additional consumer protections and ensure greater transparency with product offerings from electric generation suppliers (EGSs)," took effect on Sept. 30, 2020.

The September 30 effective date for the new regulations had been exclusively first reported by last month

The new regulations had been fully analyzed by upon their prior adoption. See our prior story here for a full discussion

Highlights of the new rules, and associated PUC order, include:

• The PUC holding that costs of "tangible" products "distinct and separate from generation service" must be disclosed separately by retail supplier

• All retail supplier offers must disclose a price per kWh (including flat bill, at set usage levels)

• For introductory rates, the supplier must also disclose price offered after the introductory period

• More details on new per kWh price disclosure requirements

• A prohibition on the imposition of early termination fees in the final 30 days of a contract

As previously reported, the new regulations amend customer information disclosure regulations at 52 Pa. Code 54.3, 54.5, 54.7 and 54.10 – and align the Commission's electric supplier regulations with its existing natural gas supplier regulations. All EGSs making product offerings and enrolling customers as of September 30th must comply with the new regulations – though the revised rules do not apply to contracts entered into prior to September 30th and currently in effect.

"Building on 2014 variable pricing reforms implemented by the Commission, key changes that EGSs will have to implement in presenting more exact pricing information to perspective [sic] customers include," as described by the PUC:

• Introductory pricing must be clearly identified – with both the introductory price and the price after the introductory period disclosed.

• With variable priced products, the supplier must provide the factors that the supplier will use to establish the price. Additionally, the supplier must state, in a larger font, that the price can change. If the customer will not know the price until the time of billing, this must be disclosed in a larger font. Under current regulations, suppliers are already required to make available to the customer a 24-month history of the product's price.

• For product offerings with monthly add-on fees - in addition to the per-kilowatt hour (kWh) price - the supplier must calculate and display the customer's 'real' per-kWh price at three usage levels (500, 1000 and 2000 kWh monthly usage levels).

• For product offerings with a flat monthly price (price does not change based on usage) the supplier must calculate and display what the per-kWh price is at the same three monthly usage levels.

• For Time-of-Use products, the supplier must clearly show the price for what time periods in a table format.

In addition, with contracts entered into on or after September 30th the Commission is prohibiting the imposition of early termination fees once a supplier provides a customer with the contract options notice – sent out at least 30 days prior to the contract's expiration date. Furthermore, the Commission is requiring suppliers to disclose how they will handle customer account information and whether a contract is assignable.

Docket No.: L-2017-2628991

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