Power customers in Pennsylvania soon will be able to find out more about their natural gas providers by looking at their monthly utility bills.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) voted 5-0 on August 20 to approve changes proposed by its own Office of Competitive Market Oversight (OCMO), which will provide for a more supplier-oriented, consolidated natural gas bill within one year.
Under the new mandate, gas invoices now must feature the following:
- The logo of the customer’s gas supplier;
- Expansion of bill messaging space allotted to the supplier; and
- A Shopping Information Box that will offer a customer’s account or supplier ID number, a customer’s rate schedule, and a reminder to customers to remember their contract expiration date.
The commission stated that its goal is to increase customer awareness about the competitive retail natural gas market. “Ensuring that we have market designs that allow consumers to make informed choices will become even more important as more of Pennsylvania’s electric generation shifts toward natural gas in light of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan,” said Commissioner Pamela A. Witmer, adding, “In Pennsylvania, our generation mix remains diversified, but natural gas is closing the gap . . . . Accordingly, I wholeheartedly support today’s action and I look forward to continued efforts to enhance and encourage active participation in Pennsylvania’s retail natural gas market.”
The changes were proposed by the OCMO as a result of the PUC’s Retail Markets Investigation in December 2014, which was intended to improve the state’s retail natural gas market, and follow similar changes implemented last year for electric generation suppliers.