Subchapter C. UNIVERSAL SERVICE AND ENERGY CONSERVATION REPORTING REQUIREMENTS


Sec.


54.71.    Statement of purpose and policy.
54.72.    Definitions.
54.73.    Universal service and energy conservation program goals.
54.74.    Universal service and energy conservation plans.
54.75.    Annual residential collection universal service and energy conservation program reporting requirements.
54.76.    Evaluation reporting requirements.
54.77.    Electric distribution companies with less than 60,000 residential accounts.
54.78.    Public information.

Authority

   The provisions of this Subchapter C issued under the Public Utility Code, 66 Pa.C.S. §  501; and the Electricity Generation Customer Choice and Competition Act, 66 Pa.C.S. §  2801—2812, unless otherwise noted.

Source

   The provisions of this Subchapter C adopted August 7, 1998, effective August 8, 1998, 28 Pa.B. 3793, unless otherwise noted.

§ 54.71. Statement of purpose and policy.

 Section 2804(9) of the code (relating to standards for restructing of electric industry) mandates that the Commission ensure universal service and energy conservation policies, activities and services for residential electric customers are appropriately funded and available in each EDC territory. This subchapter requires covered EDCs to establish uniform reporting requirements for universal service and energy conservation policies, programs and protections and to report this information to the Commission.

§ 54.72. Definitions.

 The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

   CAP—Customer Assistance Program—An alternative collection method that provides payment assistance to low-income, payment troubled utility customers. CAP participants agree to make regular monthly payments that may be for an amount that is less than the current bill in exchange for continued provision of electric utility services.

   CAP benefits—The average CAP bill, average CAP credits and average arrearage forgiveness.

   CARES—A program that provides a cost-effective service that helps selected, payment-troubled customers maximize their ability to pay utility bills. A CARES program provides a casework approach to help customers secure energy assistance funds and other needed services.

   CARES benefits—The number and kinds of referrals to CARES.

   Classification of accounts—Accounts are classified by the following categories: all residential accounts and confirmed low-income residential accounts.

   Code—The Public Utility Code, 66 Pa.C.S. § §  101—3316.

   Collection operating expenses—Expenses directly associated with collection of payments due for residential accounts.

   Confirmed low-income residential account—Accounts where the EDC has obtained information that would reasonably place the customer in a low-income designation.

   Direct dollars—Dollars which are applied to a CARES customer’s electric utility account, including all sources of energy assistance applied to utility bills such as LIHEAP, hardship fund grants and local agencies’ grants.

   EDC—Electric distribution company—The public utility providing facilities for the jurisdictional transmission and distribution of electricity to retail customers, except building or facility owners/operators that manage the internal distribution system serving the building or facility and that supply electric power and other related electric power services to occupants of the building or facility.

   Energy assistance benefits—The total number and dollar amount of LIHEAP grants.

   Hardship fund—A fund that provides cash assistance to utility customers to help them pay their utility bills.

   Hardship fund benefits—The total number and dollar amount of cash benefits or bill credits.

   Impact evaluation—An evaluation that focuses on the degree to which a program achieves the continuation of utility service to program participants at a reasonable cost level and otherwise meets program goals.

   LIURP—Low-income usage reduction program—An energy usage reduction program that assists low-income customers conserve energy and reduce residential energy bills.

   Low-income customer—A residential utility customer whose household income is at or below 150% of the Federal poverty guidelines.

   Outreach referral contacts—Addresses and telephone numbers that a customer would call or write to apply for the hardship fund. Contact information should be specific to each county in the EDC’s service territory, if applicable.

   Payment rate—Payment rate is the total number of full monthly payments received from CAP participants in a given period divided by the total number of monthly bills issued to CAP participants.

   Payment troubled—A household that has failed to maintain one or more payment arrangements in a 1-year period.

   Residential account in arrears—A residential account that is at least 30 days overdue. This classification includes all customer accounts which have payment arrangements.

   Successful payment arrangements—A payment arrangement in which the agreed upon number of payments have been made in full in the preceeding 12 months.

   Universal service and energy conservation—Policies, protections and services that help low-income customers to maintain electric service. The term includes customer assistance programs, termination of service protection and policies and services that help low-income customers to reduce or manage energy consumption in a cost-effective manner, such as the low-income usage reduction programs, application of renewable resources and consumer education.

Cross References

   This section cited in 52 Pa. Code Chapter 56 Appendix C (relating to definitions (§  56.231)).

§ 54.73. Universal service and energy conservation program goals.

 (a)  The Commission will determine if the EDC meets the goals of universal service and energy conservation programs.

 (b)  The general goals of universal service and energy conservation programs include the following:

   (1)  To protect consumers’ health and safety by helping low-income customers maintain electric service.

   (2)  To provide for affordable electric service by making available payment assistance to low-income customers.

   (3)  To assist low-income customers conserve energy and reduce residential utility bills.

   (4)  To establish universal service and energy conservation programs are operated in a cost-effective and efficient manner.

§ 54.74. Universal service and energy conservation plans.

 (a)  Plan submission.

   (1)  Each EDC shall submit to the Commission for approval an updated universal service and energy conservation plan every 3 years beginning February 28, 2000, on a staggered schedule.

   (2)  The plan should cover the next 3-calendar years.

   (3)  The plan should state how it differs from the previously approved plan.

   (4)  The plan should include revisions based on analysis of program experiences and evaluations.

   (5)  If the Commission rejects the plan, the EDC shall submit a revised plan under the order rejecting or directing modification of the plan as previously filed. If the order rejecting the plan does not state a timeline, the EDC shall file its revised plan within 45 days of the entry of the order.

   (6)  The Commission will act on the plans within 90 days of the EDC filing date.

 (b)  Plan contents. The components of universal service and energy conservation may include the following: CAP, LIURP, CARES, Hardship Funds and other programs, policies and protections. For each component of universal service and energy conservation, the plan shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

   (1)  Program description.

   (2)  Eligibility criteria.

   (3)  Projected needs assessment.

   (4)  Projected enrollment levels.

   (5)  Program budget.

   (6)  Plans to use community-based organizations.

   (7)  Organizational structure of staff responsible for universal service programs.

   (8)  Explanation of any differences between the EDC’s approved plan and the implementation of that plan. The EDC should include a plan to address those differences.

Cross References

   This section cited in 52 Pa. Code §  54.77 (relating to electric distribution companies with less than 60,000 residential accounts).

§ 54.75. Annual residential collection and universal service and energy conservation program reporting requirements.

 Each EDC shall report annually to the Commission on the degree to which universal service and energy conservation programs within its service territory are available and appropriately funded. Annual EDC reports shall contain information on programs and collections for the prior calendar year. Unless otherwise stated, the report shall be due April 1 each year, beginning April 1, 2001. Where noted, the data shall be reported by classification of accounts. Each EDC’s report shall contain the following information:

   (1)  Collection reporting shall be categorized as follows:

     (i)   The total number of payment arrangements and the total number of successful payment arrangements. To ensure that successful payment arrangements are not overstated, EDCs should report on the calendar year prior to the reporting year.

     (ii)   Annual collection operating expenses by classification of accounts. Collection operating expenses include administrative expenses associated with termination activity, negotiating payment arrangements, budget counseling, investigation and resolving informal and formal complaints associated with payment arrangements, securing and maintaining deposits, tracking delinquent accounts, collection agencies’ expenses, litigation expenses other than Commission related, dunning expenses and winter survey expenses.

     (iii)   The total dollar amount of the gross residential write-offs and total dollar amount of the net residential write-offs, by classification of accounts.

     (iv)   The total number of residential customers by month for the 12 months covered by the report, by classification of accounts.

     (v)   The total number of residential accounts in arrears by month for the 12 months covered by the report, by classification of accounts.

     (vi)   The total dollar amount of residential accounts in arrears by month for the 12 months covered by the report, by classification of accounts.

     (vii)   The total number of residential customers who are payment troubled by month for the 12 months covered by the report, by classification of accounts.

     (viii)   The total number of terminations completed by month for the 12 months covered by the report, by classification of accounts.

     (ix)   The total number of reconnections by month for the 12 months covered by the report, by classification of accounts.

     (x)   The total number of low-income households. EDCs may estimate this number using census data or other information the EDC finds appropriate.

   (2)  Program reporting shall be categorized as follows:

     (i)   For each universal service and energy conservation component, program data shall include information on the following:

       (A)   Program costs.

       (B)   Program recipient demographics, including the number of family members under age 18 and over age 62, family size, income and source of income.

       (C)   Participation levels by month for the 12 months covered by the report.

     (ii)   Additional program data for individual universal service and energy conservation components shall include the following information:

       (A)   LIURP. Reporting requirements as established at §  58.15 (relating to program evaluation).

         (I)   LIURP reporting data shall be due by April 30.

         (II)   Actual production and spending data for the recently completed program year and projections for the current year shall be due annually by the end of February.

       (B)   CAP.

         (I)   Energy assistance benefits.

         (II)   Average CAP bills.

         (III)   Payment rate.

         (IV)   CAP benefits.

         (V)   Total cash payments by CAP customers.

         (VI)   Number of full, on-time payments

         (VII)   Percentage of CAP bill paid by customer.

       (C)   CARES.

         (I)   Energy assistance benefits.

         (II)   Direct dollars applied to CARES accounts.

         (III)   CARES benefits.

       (D)   Hardship funds.

         (I)   Ratepayer contributions.

         (II)   Special contributions.

         (III)   Utility contributions.

         (IV)   Outreach contacts.

         (V)   Hardship fund benefits.

Cross References

   This section cited in 52 Pa. Code §  54.77 (relating to electric distribution companies with less than 60,000 residential accounts).

§ 54.76. Evaluation reporting requirements.

 (a)  Each EDC shall have an independent third-party conduct an impact evaluation of its universal service and energy conservation programs and provide a report of findings and recommendations to the Commission and EDC.

 (b)  The first impact evaluation will be due beginning October 31, 2002, on a staggered schedule. Subsequent evaluation reports shall be presented to the EDC and the Commission at no more than 6 year intervals.

 (c)  To ensure an independent evaluation, neither the EDC nor the Commission shall exercise control over content or recommendations contained in the independent evaluation report. The EDCs may provide the Commission with a companion report that expresses where they agree or disagree with independent evaluation report content or recommendations.

 (d)  An independent third-party evaluator shall conduct the impact evaluation.

Cross References

   This section cited in 52 Pa. Code §  54.77 (relating to electric distribution companies with less than 60,000 residential accounts); and 52 Pa. Code §  69.265 (relating to CAP design elements).

§ 54.77. Electric distribution companies with less than 60,000 residential accounts.

 Beginning March 1, 2000, each EDC with less than 60,000 accounts shall report to the Commission every 3 years the following information in lieu of § §  54.74—54.76 (relating to universal service and energy conservation plans; annual residential collection and universal service and energy conservation program reporting requirements; and evaluation reporting requirements):

   (1)  The universal service and energy conservation plan.

   (2)  Expenses associated with low-income customers.

   (3)  A description of the universal service and energy conservation services provided to low-income residential customers.

   (4)  The number of services or benefits provided to low-income residential customers.

   (5)  The dollar amount of services or benefits provided to low-income residential customers.

§ 54.78. Public information.

 The Commission will annually produce a summary report on the universal service performance of each EDC using the statistics collected as a result of these reporting requirements. The reports will be public information. The Commission will provide the reports to any interested party and post the reports on the Commission’s Internet Website.



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