The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today approved a joint settlement for substantially smaller natural gas distribution rate increases for customers served by UGI Utilities, Inc. – Gas Division (UGI), to be phased in with a two-step process between now and October 2023. UGI provides natural gas service to approximately 672,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers in over 45 counties across Pennsylvania.
The Commission voted 3-0 to approve the joint settlement, which provides for an increase in base rate revenues of $49.45 million per year, which is an approximately 40% reduction from UGI’s initial request of an $82.7 million. Additionally, the rate changes will be phased in gradually through a two steps process, in October 2022 and October 2023.
The settlement was supported by the PUC’s independent Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement, the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate, the Office of Small Business Advocate, the Coalition for Affordable Utility Services and Energy Efficiency in Pennsylvania (CAUSE-PA), the Commission on Economic Opportunity (“CEO”), NRG Energy, Inc and UGI.
The joint settlement approved today allows for a $38 million increase in UGI revenues, effective Oct. 29, 2022, to be followed by an additional $11.45 million increase, effective Oct. 1, 2023.
Under the terms of the settlement, the average bill for a residential customer using 73.1 cubic feet (“Ccf”) per month of natural gas will increase from a current bill of $92.49 per month to $96.93, effective October 29, 2022 – and rise to $98.21, effective October 1, 2023.
That two-step process will result in a total increase in the average bill of $5.71 (6.2%) between now and October 2023, compared to a $9.39 per month (9.5%) increase that was included in UGI’s initial request.
The settlement includes enhancements to UGI’s customer assistance and universal service programs, including:
- Additional annual funding, extended eligibility, and increased maximum project size for the Low Income Usage Reduction Program (LIURP).
- Expanded eligibility for UGI’s Operation Share grant program, along with additional funding for winter 2022-2023.
- A pilot program to identify and engage with potential low income customers.
- Continued simplified application process for LIHEAP recipients seeking to enroll in UGI’s Customer Assistance Program (CAP).
- Continued active outreach to customers who have not recertified for CAP.