Public Policy Research Education and Advocacy
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: David Hughes
November 29, 2000 412/421-6072
CITIZEN POWER SECURES $6.3 MILLION FOR ENERGY CONSERVATION
SETTLEMENT A GOOD “FIRST STEP” FOR COMPETITION
PITTSBURGH, November 29/PRNewswire—As part of the negotiations that led to the
settlement reached today in Harrisburg, Citizen Power, a regional utility watchdog organization,
sought increased funding of Duquesne Light Company’s Low Income Usage Reduction rogram
(LIURP). The agreement extends current LIURP funding of $1.75 million an additional two
years through 2004. Beginning in 2002, Duquesne will add another $950 thousand to the annual
LIURP budget. Thus, the total new spending for LIURP for 2002-2004 agreed to in this
settlement will be $6.35 million.
“We’re proud to have introduced the idea of, and successfully negotiated, extending and
increasing the funding for the LIURP,” said David Hughes, executive director of Citizen Power.
“The best way to help low income customers save on their electricity bill is to help them reduce
their usage,” said Hughes. “There are over one hundred thousand low income customers in the
Duquesne territory and the increased funding will enable hundreds more to take advantage of the
LIURP savings,” Hughes said.
The settlement resolves several issues relative to the final phase of Duquesne’s transition
to full competition in the retail electricity business. Duquesne’s transition period will end when the company finishes collecting its “stranded costs” or “transition” charge, expected to occur in
Citizen Power participated in the settlement process to insure that the promised benefits
of competition are realized by residential-particularly low income-ratepayers. The settlement
extends Duquesne’s responsibility to be the “provider of last resort” through 2004, preserves the
21% residential rate reduction that commences with the elimination of the “transition” charge,
caps transmission and distribution rates through 2003, and requires Duquesne to turn over
control of its transmission system to an independent operator by December 15, 2001.
Citizen Power has fought at the state and federal level to open up the transmission grid to
competitors. Therefore, we welcome Duquesne’s commitment to join a Regional Transmission
Organization (RTO) and Duquesne’s acceptance of Citizen Power’s proposal that Duquesne not
join the Alliance, an RTO that Citizen Power opposes, without prior commission approval.
“Getting Duquesne into a fully functional RTO is a crucial first step to helping more suppliers gain access to this market,” said Citizen Power senior economist, Dr. Roger Odisio.