PUC Seeks Additional Comments on Chapter 56 Revisions; Proposed Changes to Utility Reporting, Medical Certificates, Friday Terminations and Security Deposits Among Highlights

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The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) is requesting additional comments on proposed revisions to Chapter 56 of the Public Utility Code (Chapter 56).

The Commission voted 5-0 to seek additional input on initial comments submitted as part of the PUC’s July 21, 2016 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, and to request comment on two new matters that would enable confirmation notices on supplier contracts to be sent to third parties, as well as further clarify termination rules for customers appealing informal decisions by the PUC.

Revisions to Chapter 56 relate to the standards and billing practices for residential utility service.  Act 155 of 2014, which reauthorized and amended Chapter 14 of the Public Utility Code (Chapter 14) and partially superseded Chapter 56, directed the Commission to revise Chapter 56 and promulgate regulations to administer and enforce Chapter 14 (Responsible Utility Customer Protection).

In making Chapter 56 consistent with the amended Chapter 14, the Commission has revised and updated several key areas. Relating to the definition of a “Medical Certificate,” the Commission is proposing new content standards for medical certificates, which under Act 155 must be in writing and in a form approved by the Commission.  Prior to Act 155, the Public Utility Code contained no definition for medical certificates.  Act 155 also added physician assistants to the list of health professionals who can authorize medical certificates, a change also sought in the proposed rulemaking.

Additionally, the Commission seeks further comment on several other proposed changes to Chapter 56, including but not limited to the privacy guidelines relevant to termination notices in Sections 56.93 and 56.333, medical certificate usage, and the cost and impact of the proposed regulatory changes. 

Act 155 was signed into law on Oct. 22, 2014, by Governor Tom Corbett. It amends Chapters 5, 14, 22 and 28 of the Public Utility Code.

Interested parties have 45 days from the publication of the Order in the Pennsylvania Bulletin to provide written comments to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, Attn: Secretary, P.O. Box 3265, Harrisburg, PA  17105-3265.  Comments may also be filed electronically through the Commission’s e-File system.

Orignial Press Release