By Tony Romeo
HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) has issued its recommendations on ways the Philadelphia Gas Works can speed up replacement of its aging natural gas delivery lines throughout the city of Philadelphia.
One of the PUC’s recommendations would be to increase PGW’s “distribution system improvement charge,” which is billed to customers, above the current five-percent cap.
PUC spokesman Nils Hagen-Frederikssen says belt-tightening alternatives were evaluated as well.
“There are non-rate-related options that have been laid out, including some things like ‘levelizing’ the charges -– more of an accounting issue than anything else -– improving cash management, streamlining the governance, or potentially consolidating facilities,” he tells KYW Newsradio.
The PUC also recommends that PGW again ask the City of Philadelphia to waive the annual $18-million payment it gets from the city-owned utility.
The PUC notes that 2013 public records show two-thirds of PGW’s lines are considered “at risk,” and that based on last year’s rate, it will take 66 years to replace them.