Pa. PUC Denies Retail Suppliers' Rehearing Request On Order Allowing Electric Utilities To Use On-Bill Billing For Their "Own" Non-Utility Services
PUC Says Service Performed By Third Party Under Utility Contract Remains A Utility Provided Service; Does Not Amount To Discrimination To Deny Retail Suppliers' Billing Access For Such Service
April 14, 2022 Email This Story Copyright 2010-21 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Pennsylvania PUC denied reconsideration of its recent order that had found that the use of "on-bill billing" by the FirstEnergy Pennsylvania electric utilities (the EDCs) for their own non-commodity goods and services, while not offering the same on-bill billing service for the non-commodity goods and services offered by retail suppliers, is not unreasonably discriminatory in violation of the Public Utility Code, 66 Pa. C.S. §§ 101, et seq.
Retail suppliers had requested rehearing because the PUC's prior order addressed the situation of utilities providing non-utility services themselves. Suppliers alleged that, after filing an initial complaint, they learned that the EDCs provide on-bill billing for a non-affiliated third party, HomeServe USA, and the PUC's prior finding did not address this issue
However, the PUC denied reconsideration, finding that the services performed by HomeServe are still utility-provided services.
"[W]e are not persuaded that the facts alleged by the EGSs warrant
reconsideration or reopening of the record," the PUC said
"As explained by the EDCs, the relationship
with HomeServe is not one which demonstrates that the EDCs provide 'on-bill billing' to
non-affiliated third parties. Rather, the EDCs contracted with HomeServe to serve as the
program administrator for certain of the EDCs’ own non-commodity products and
services," the PUC said
The PUC further said, "As explained by the EDCs, the EDCs contracted with HomeServe to
provide certain of the EDCs’ own non-commodity products and services, such as
electrical line and water heater protection plans, which the EDCs noted was thoroughly
explained in the EDCs’ DSP V proceeding. We find that the EDCs do not, as
alleged by the EGSs, allow HomeServe to bill for its own non-commodity products and
services on the EDCs’ bills."
"We conclude that, as asserted by the EDCs, the material facts in the present
case: 'remain unchanged -- the Companies 'do not permit any EGS,
affiliate, or other third party to include charges for their non commodity products and services on the Companies’ bills,''" the PUC said
"Given that the facts remain unchanged, the
conclusion reached in the Commission’s August 2021 Order," the PUC said that the circumstances of
the EDCs’ billing practice is distinguishable from the facts as found in a proceeding involving Columbia Gas (with the electric and gas statutes also differing on this issue). The PUC thus found that the EDCs' actions comport with the Section 1502 prohibition on discrimination in service.
"Based on the foregoing discussion, we shall deny the EGSs’ Petition for
Reconsideration and/or For Reopening of the Record, and, consistent with the discussion
in our Opinion and Order entered August 26, 2021, deny and dismiss the Complaints," the PUC said