UPDATE: PUC schedules public hearings for FirstEnergy’s 34% price hike

23 May 2024- The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) announced a statewide series of hearings in late June and early July to gather public input on the rate increases proposed by FirstEnergy Pennsylvania Electric Company (FirstEnergy).

The utility is seeking an annual increase in revenues of $503,848,000 (34%) for electric distribution services provided to customers in the Med-Ed, Penelec, Penn Power and West Penn Power Rate Districts, which serve about 2.1 million customers in 56 counties across the Commonwealth.

PUC Public Input Hearings

In-person hearings have been scheduled for the following dates and locations:

Tuesday, June 25 – Monroe County
Hearing #1 will begin at 1 p.m.
Hearing #2 will begin at 6 p.m.
VFW Post #2540 and Canteen
546 Fawn Road
East Stroudsburg, PA 18301

Wednesday, June 26 – Berks County
Hearing #1 will begin at 1 p.m.
Hearing #2 will begin at 6 p.m.
Reading Public Museum (Ground Floor Auditorium)
500 Museum Road
Reading, PA 19611

Wednesday, June 27 – Centre County
Hearing #1 will begin at 1 p.m.
Hearing #2 will begin at 6 p.m.
Graduate Palo Alto (Coaly Ballroom A/B)
125 S Atherton Street
State College, PA 16801

Tuesday, July 9 – Erie County
Hearing #1 will begin at 1 p.m.
Hearing #2 will begin at 6 p.m.
Erie County Public Library (H.O. Hirt Auditorium – Museum Entrance)
160 East Front Street
Erie, PA 16507

Wednesday, July 10 – Butler County
Hearing #1 will begin at 1 p.m.
Hearing #2 will begin at 6 p.m.
Butler County Community College (Founders Hall – Parking Lot #6)
107 College Drive
Butler, PA 16002

Thursday, July 11 – Westmoreland County
Hearing #1 will begin at 1 p.m.
Hearing #2 will begin at 6 p.m.
Greensburg Garden and Civic Center (Laurel Room & Iris Room)
951 Old Salem Road
Greensburg, PA 15601

Wednesday, July 12 – Washington County
Hearing #1 will begin at 1 p.m.
Hearing #2 will begin at 6 p.m.
Double Tree by Hilton (Junior Ballroom)
340 Racetrack Road
Washington, PA 15301 
       

Additionally, telephonic public input hearings have been scheduled for the following date and times:

Tuesday, July 16
Hearing #1 will begin at 1 p.m.
Hearing #2 will begin at 6 p.m.

Wednesday, July 17
Hearing #1 will begin at 1 p.m.
Hearing #2 will begin at 6 p.m.

Administrative Law Judge Gail M. Chiodo and/or Administrative Law Judge Katrina L. Dunderdale will preside over the various in-person and telephonic public input hearings.

Pre-Registering for the Telephonic Input Hearings            

If you wish to testify at one of the telephonic public input hearings, you are encouraged to pre-register by 4 p.m. on Friday, July 12, 2024.  If you do not pre-register and provide the necessary information, you may not have an opportunity to testify. 

To pre-register by email, contact Judge Dunderdale’s Legal Assistant, Mary Swarner, at mswarner@pa.gov, and provide the following:

  • Your first and last name.
  • The date and time of the hearing at which you wish to testify.
  • The phone number you will be using to call into the public input hearing.
  • If you require an interpreter to participate in the hearing, the language of the interpreter.

To pre-register by phone, please contact Judge Dunderdale’s office at 412-565-3550 and leave a message providing the following:

  • Your first and last name.
  • The date and time of the hearing at which you wish to testify.
  • The phone number you will be using to call into the public input hearing.
  • A phone number where you can be reached prior to the hearing if it is necessary to contact you.
  • Your email address if you have one.
  • If you require an interpreter to participate in the hearing, the language of the interpreter.

If you do not wish to testify but want to listen to the public input hearing(s), please contact Judge Dunderdale’s office by email at mswarner@pa.gov or phone at 412-565-3550 and provide your name and the hearing(s) you want to listen to ensure adequate caller capacity on the conference bridge to accommodate all callers.

Hearing Exhibits

If you have any hearing exhibits you wish to refer to during the telephonic hearings, please email them to Judge Dunderdale’s Legal Assistant, Mary Swarner, at mswarner@pa.gov.  The legal assistant will forward the exhibits to the Judge and all parties. Exhibits must be received by Tuesday, July 9, 2024.

Requests for Interpreters

If you require an interpreter, please contact the PUC’s Office of Administrative Law Judge (OALJ) at 412-565-3550 or via email at mswarner@pa.gov as soon as possible. If you contact OALJ too close to the hearing date, there may not be enough time to arrange for an interpreter. If you request an interpreter, every reasonable effort will be made to have one present.

Offering Testimony at a Public Input Hearing

The PUC offers tips on how to participate in a public input hearing, including:

  • Prepare what you are going to say beforehand. Even though it is not required, you may want to write out your statement, which can be read.
  • Any formal testimony that is offered during the hearing will become part of the record on which the PUC will issue its final decision.
  • Understand that parties in the case may want to ask you a question to clarify something you said.

FirstEnergy Rate Increase Requests

The rate increase proposal filed by FirstEnergy requests the following rate changes for their four rate districts:

  • In the Met-Ed Rate District, a proposed revenue increase of $146,332,000 (31%) would increase the average monthly bill for a residential customer using 1,000 kWh per month from $187.70 to $205.00 (9.2%).
  • In the Penelec Rate District, a proposed revenue increase of $132,963,000 (28%) would increase the average monthly bill for a residential customer using 1,000 kWh per month from $200.96 to $220.75 (9.8%).
  • In the Penn Power Rate District, a proposed revenue increase of $54,764,000 (43%) would increase the average monthly bill for a residential customer using 1,000 kWh per month from $180.59 to $201.88 (11.8%).
  • In the West Penn Rate District, a proposed revenue increase of $169,789,000 (40%) would increase the average monthly bill for a residential customer using 1,000 kWh per month from $156.36 to $172.98 (10.6%).

A final PUC decision on the FirstEnergy rate increase request is due by Jan. 1, 2025.