The Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission has approved final guidelines for electric utility pilot programs for Pennsylvania's transition to a competitive retail electric generating market. The pilots will allow a limited number of residential, commercial and industrial customers to choose their electric suppliers.
The "Electricity Generation Customer Choice and Competition Act," signed into law by Gov. Tom Ridge Dec. 3, 1996, requires participation in the pilots by customers representing 5 percent of a utility's peak load for each customer class. Initial estimates
indicate nearly 233,000 residential customers, 28,000 commercial customers, and 1,400 industrial customers may participate.
Each utility must have proposed a method of selecting participants by March. Once PUC approval is given, a utility will operate the program until the three-year phase-in to full competition in 1999.
The PUC also set forth its requirements for restructuring plans, which utilities must file between April 1 and Sept. 30. The plans must unbundle rates, and list the stranded costs a utility will seek to recover through the competitive transition charge. The PUC also set guidelines for filing of qualified rate order applications, whereby utilities will seek PUC authorization to refinance with bonds certain restructuring transition expenses.