PA consumers to see more info on natural gas bills

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Pennsylvania adapts a new format for the joint natural gas supplier-utility bill, which seeks to provide consumers with more information about natural gas suppliers on their utility bills.

Law 360
Contact: Dan Packel

The commission voted 5-0 to approve the changes proposed by its Office of Competitive Market Oversight. As a result, bills will include the logo of the natural gas supplier, more details on consumers’ accounts with the supplier and more space for the suppliers to include messages to consumers.

Although the recommendations focus on retail natural gas bills provided to the consumer by distribution companies, the change comes as the continued development of the Marcellus Shale increases the amount of electricity derived from natural gas.

“Ensuring that we have market designs that allow consumers to make informed choices will become even more important as more of Pennsylvania’s electric generation shifts toward natural gas in light of the [U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s] Clean Power Plan under Section 11(d) of the Clean Air Act,” PUC Commissioner Pamela Witmer said in a statement. ““In Pennsylvania, our generation mix remains diversified, but natural gas is closing the gap.”

The new details — which include a shipping information box that provides a customer’s account number, rate schedule and a reminder to check contract expiration dates — are intended to boost awareness among consumers who are participating in the competitive retail natural gas market.

Not all of the changes are binding. Natural gas suppliers will not be required to put their logos on customer bills if they do not wish to do so. Nor will they need to provide text in the new messaging space on every bill.

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