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Plan To Limit Variable Electric Rate Hikes in Pa. Clears Hurdle

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(Pa. state representative Robert Godshall, testifying before the  Independent Regulatory Review Commission.  Photo by Tony Romeo)

(Pa. state representative Robert Godshall, testifying before the Independent Regulatory Review Commission. Photo by Tony Romeo)

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — A plan by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to address huge spikes in electricity costs experienced by some customers with variable-rate plans this past winter got final regulatory approval today from a state agency.

The Independent Regulatory Review Commission gave its approval to the PUC’s plan to require electric suppliers to provide more disclosure to customers about variable-rate plans and to allow customers to switch suppliers faster.

Pa. state representative Robert Godshall (R-Montgomery County), who chairs the House Consumer Affairs Committee, testified against the changes, saying they won’t do enough to protect consumers from spikes in variable rates.

“The only way to stop it is with a cap,” he said.

A spokesman for the state House majority leader says Godshall’s bill to cap residential variable electric rate hikes to 30 percent per billing cycle could get a vote next month.

The regulations approved Thursday will allow customers to switch suppliers in less than a week, as opposed to the month or more it can take now.

But that new regulation will still take several months for the PUC to implement.

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