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No electricity break for Duquesne Light industrial customers

| Thursday, June 19, 2014, 11:00 p.m.

Duquesne Light industrial customers who use big volumes of electricity won't pay lower rates even though one charge on their bills is going away, a state Public Utility Commission spokeswoman said.

The PUC on Thursday eliminated a distribution loss charge that large power users pay to the utility to cover the cost of electricity that is lost over the course of delivery.

A tariff will replace the charge on June 30, PUC spokeswoman Robin Tilley said, which will offset savings so customers won't notice any significant rate change.

Duquesne Light spokesman Brian Knavish said the tariff will affect five larger industrial customers and allow the utility to provide them with more accurate figures about their energy use.

“It's not financially motivated,” he said. “It's more accuracy motivated.”

In other action, the PUC:

• Approved new regulations for moving companies statewide, eliminating a requirement to establish public need to start such as a service, geographic restrictions and prerequisites for rate changes.

“They kind of had to prove there was a need for their service when applying for it,” Tilley said. “We think the market will police that. If people don't need it, it won't be in business.”

•Approved Pennsylvania American Water Co. plans to expand its service into Paint Township in Clarion County.

•Opened for public comment a settlement with ResCom Energy, based in Bridgeport, Conn., over various alleged infractions, including violating no-call requests.

“There are a variety of allegations of ‘slamming,' switching a customer to a different supplier without telling them,” Tilley said.

•Voted to investigate a rate hike requested by Herman Oil and Gas Co., which serves 419 customers in Butler County. The hike would mean a residential customer using 3,000 cubic feet of gas each year would pay almost $50 per month more.

Tilley said the PUC will analyze the proposed increase and see if it was necessary. “It's pretty typical when we see something that high to investigate whether or not it's a valid increase,” she said.

•Approved parent company Fairpoint Communications's requests of a $13,311 rate increase for Marianna & Scenery Hill Telephone Co. and a $23,976 rate increase for Bentleyville Telephone Co. The PUC noted it received no objections to either of the Washington County telephone companies' requests.

Corinne Kennedy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7823 or ckennedy@tribweb.com.

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