PUC proposes regulation changes in wake of electricity rate spikes

By - Last modified: April 4, 2014 at 9:43 AM

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The state Public Utility Commission wants to change regulations to make sure electricity shoppers have better, uniform detail in electric supplier disclosure statements and more timely information on contract-renewal and change-in-terms notices.

In a separate action, the commission also finalized regulation changes that would dramatically reduce the time it takes customers to change electricity suppliers.

The changes come after complaints about skyrocketing power bills from those who shopped around for electricity suppliers and chose variable rate plans.

In the first regulation change, electric suppliers would be required to show key contractual terms and conditions more prominently, especially for customers on variable-priced products; provide historical pricing data on their products; and "mark conspicuously" customer notices prior to contract expiration or changes in terms, according to a news release.

In the second change, electric distribution companies would shorten the amount of time it takes to change suppliers by enforcing off-cycle meter readings, according to a news release. A process that could take up to 45 days would be done within three business days once the company has been notified.

Distribution companies would have six months to implement the changes and the costs will be addressed when the supplier next requests a rate change from the PUC, the news release said.

Both sets of regulation changes must be approved by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission, state Attorney General's Office, the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee and the House Consumer Affairs Committee before going into effect.

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