Utility-backed measure drawing criticism heads toward vote

June 22, 2018 - 4:37 pm

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Gov. Tom Wolf plans to sign legislation that Pennsylvania's electric and gas utilities say will help them recoup costs more quickly, but consumer advocates warn that it erodes protection for people and businesses against higher rates.

Wolf's office said Friday that he'll sign the bill after the state Senate voted 41-8 to pass it. Wolf's office says he supports efforts to advance innovation, grid reliability, energy efficiency and renewable energy, and that his administration will work with the Public Utility Commission to ensure consumers are protected.

The measure represents significant change to the state's regulated rate-setting model. Utilities contend that letting them adjust distribution charges between time-consuming rate cases won't mean higher long-term costs for consumers.

But opponents say the shift will provide less ability to challenge rate increases.

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