July 1, 2001
L.A. Loves a Loophole
There's no getting around it...
Censored PUC Report Raises Ire
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has refused to issue its 1996 report card of the state's electric, telephone, natural gas and water utilities. The reports usually are issued on an annual basis to little fanfare, but with the advent of varying degrees of competition, the commissioners have disagreed over the amount of performance information that should be released.
According to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the controversy began when PUC Commissioner Robert Bloom wanted sections of the report removed that could cause discomfort to some utilities.
For example, a draft copy of the 1996 report found that PECO Energy Co. in 1995 ranked last of the state's eight utilities in resolving customer complaints. Then two other commissioners, Lisa Crutchfield and Chairman John Quain sought revisions. Some of the changes apparently are aimed at ensuring the reports do not contain information that could create a competitive advantage.
But commissioners David Rolka and John Hanger have fought any revisions to the report, which was compiled by the Pennsylvania State University using 1995 data. State consumer advocacy groups are dismayed by what they believe is the government attempting to distort or hide the facts.
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