The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) has issued final regulations to guide the restructuring of intrastate transportation services offered by natural gas local distribution companies (LDCs) in the state. The PUC issued the new rules as a "tentative order" to allow additional comments from interested parties because of ongoing changes in the gas industry, and because over two years had passed since it issued proposed rules. The PUC also noted, however, that the fundamental principles underlying its existing regulations remain unaffected by the recent transition to a more competitive national gas market. These principles include ensuring that transportation service remains available to a wide range of customers and that transportation customers bear their appropriate share of costs and obligations.
The new regulations require all LDCs to unbundle service to offer separately tariffed transportation and balancing services. The PUC revised its current margin-based pricing rule for transportation services by requiring new tariffs based on a "uniform cost of service." The PUC declined to implement a ratemaking presumption that discounting retail sales unlawfully discriminates against gas merchants competing for the sales customer's business. The PUC explained that public utility law does not generally recognize the right of noncustomers to complain about the indirect effect of utility rates on their business.