HARRISBURG (CBS) – The chairman of the Public Utility Commission continues to push for a gas utilities surcharge, similar to one that water companies have, to finance the replacement of aging gas line infrastructure.

During state budget hearings, Robert Powelson, Chairman of the Public Utility Commission, was asked about deadly gas explosions this winter in Allentown and in Philadelphia’s PGW system.
Powelson said the bigger picture is how to address the aging infrastructure of natural gas distribution companies.

“I think we all agree that traditional rate-making tools that we have been provided as a commission are not really solving this problem,” Powelson said. “I use PGW as an example. In order for them to get the 1500 miles of cast iron, bare steel out of the ground, they’re going to take between 85 and 95 years.”

Powelson is asking lawmakers to consider for gas utilities a distribution service improvement charge similar to the one enacted for water companies fifteen years ago that ranges from a few cents to around $3 a month for customers.

Reported by Tony Romeo, KYW Newsradio

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