PUC approves amended Duquesne Light rate increase

Pennsylvania’s Public Utility Commission approved a new rate plan for Duquesne Light that increases electricity distribution rates by 11 percent.

The increase is lower than the one Duquesne Light initially requested, which sought to raise $76.3 million and would have accounted for a 17.6 percent rate increase. Instead, the company will raise an additional $48 million.

Under Pennsylvania law, utilities such as Duquesne Light cannot profit off the sale of a commodity, such as electricity. They makes money off the distribution and use rate increases to help fund infrastructure upgrades. The rate increase affects only Duquesne's distribution rate.

The company proposed the rate hike in August, citing a need to start investing in state-mandated smart-meter technology, update its grid and enhance consumer notifications.

The Pennsylvania Office of the Consumer Advocate and the Office of Small Business Advocate filed a complaint about the proposed rate hike in August, prompting a more thorough PUC investigation. 

The new rate plan would increase the average total monthly bill for customers using 600 kWh to $83.52, up from $78.42.

One issue of the proposed rate plan, regarding the purchase of electricity from consumer-owned renewable resource generating facilities, was severed from the rate plan and will undergo further review.  

Michael Sanserino: msanserino@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1969 and Twitter @msanserino.

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