PUC Ratifies Recent Emergency Orders Taken to Prevent Utility Service Interruptions

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission

HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) yesterday, March 26, ratified three Emergency Orders authorized last week by PUC Chairman Gladys Brown Dutrieuille to prevent interruptions to PUC-regulated utility services and enhance ongoing public health and safety measures taken during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Yesterday’s 5-0 vote by the Commission ratified the following Emergency Orders:

  • Emergency Order authorized on March 13, 2020 prohibiting service terminations by electric, natural gas, water, wastewater, telecommunications and steam utilities.
  • Emergency Order authorized on March 16, 2020 suspending all door-to-door, in-person and public event sales activities by agents of competitive electric and natural gas suppliers in the Commonwealth’s retail energy markets.
  • Emergency Order authorized on March 20, 2020 permitting the modification of regulatory and statutory deadlines and procedural rules affecting filing and service requirements with the PUC as well as time periods established for the Commission to take final action on matters before it.
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Chairman Dutrieuille issued a statement in support of the Commission’s ratification of the three Emergency Orders.  The PUC’s procedural regulations require any Emergency Order be placed on the agenda of the Commission’s next public meeting for a ratification vote.

Under the unique circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the PUC’s public meeting was conducted telephonically to help minimize non-essential personal social contact.  Conducting public meetings telephonically, as well as other routine Commission business, is consistent with the Governor’s Proclamation of Disaster Emergency and the requirements of the Public Utility Code.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.

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