The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) has approved tariff revisions proposed by Pennsylvania Power & Light Co. (PP&L), an electric utility, to limit the availability of its interruptible services. The PUC also directed PP&L to file new interruptible rates at its next rate case, based on the cost of providing such service and on the value to the utility of maintaining its interruptible load. The proposal stemmed from major state curtailments of electric service during severe winter conditions in 1994.
The PUC rejected claims by industrial users that the limitations were discriminatory and would damage the state economy as well as system reliability. According to PP&L, continued unrestricted availability of interruptible service would be "tantamount to having an outstanding offer, of indefinite duration, to acquire additional unneeded capacity at an excessive price." The PUC pointed out that existing interruptible rates were designed to provide a price discount in excess of the actual difference in cost between firm and interruptible power as an incentive for economic development, and that the systemwide benefit of such a program was unclear under existing market conditions.