The Regulatory Mix, TMI’s daily blog of regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court, issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of a TMI Regulatory Bulletin.
The FCC issued a Press Release with instructions for carriers to obtain access to confidential information provided with the 2014 annual access charge tariff filings. The necessary protective order and declaration are attached to the FCC’s Public Notice.
The Institute for Information Policy (IIP) of Pennsylvania State University and the FCC are co-sponsoring a by-invitation workshop on the Future of Broadband Regulation, to be held at FCC headquarters on May 29-30, 2014. IIP organized the workshop and selected (via a public Call for Papers) the academic and government experts who will present research “work-in-progress” to their fellow participants for discussion and critique. The workshop program and abstracts of the papers to be presented are available at http://iip.comm.psu.edu/.
Commission Staff will host a workshop on May 29, 2014, to discuss and develop a framework for carrying out the Commission’s IUSF directives. In March 2013 the Commission issued an Order updating, on an interim basis, the Illinois Universal Service Fund. In its Order, the Commission directed that not later than two years from the date of the Order, “one or more eligible recipients of IUSF, or an organization representing them such as the IITA, shall petition the Commission for approval of a longer-term IUSF to replace the Interim Fund. “ Any long-term fund must be based upon a different methodology, absent a showing that no such alternative methodology is reasonably feasible.
ENERGY & TELECOM
A new law makes several changes to the process that telephone, telecommunications, and electric distribution companies (utilities) must follow before conducting vegetation management (pruning or removing any trees or shrubs around their poles and wires). Among other things, it:
- requires a utility to obtain written affirmative consent from a private property owner before conducting vegetation management on the owner’s property;
- expands the information a utility must include in its notice to property owners about proposed vegetation management to include (a) instructions on how to object and (b) notice that a property owner may suggest modifications to the utility’s proposal;
- places the burden of proof on a utility if an abutting property owner objects to its proposed vegetation management and the case is appealed to PURA; and
- requires PURA to study, and eventually allow, parties to mediate their disputes over proposed vegetation management before PURA hears appeals over the disputes.
[Public Act No. 14-151]
In a Press Release issued yesterday, the PUC applauds the state’s Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) for its approval of PUC regulations that provide consumers with the flexibility they need to move quickly away from electric generation rate increases and have all of the information they need to make an informed decision. TMI Regulatory Bulletin Service subscribers see Pennsylvania Bulletin dated April 10, 2014. The regulations will become effective following publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, which is anticipated to be in June. The accelerated switching is to be implemented within six months, while improved disclosures are to be in place within 30 days.
The accelerated switching regulations reduce the time it takes customers to change electricity suppliers. They require electric distribution companies (EDCs) to accelerate switching time frames through off-cycle meter readings that will allow consumers to switch suppliers within three business days of the EDC being notified of a request for a switch.
The supplier disclosure statement regulations provide electric shopping customers with greater, uniform detail in electric supplier disclosure statements and more timely information on “contract renewal” and “change in terms” notices. Electric generation suppliers (EGSs) are required to display key contractual terms and conditions more prominently, especially for customers on variable-priced products; provide historical pricing data on their products; and mark prominently customer notices prior to contract expiration or changes in terms. The changes are designed to provide additional information and greater protections for residential and small business customers choosing a competitive supplier for their electric generation.
The Regulatory Mix will not be published on Memorial Day