Public Policy Research Education and Advocacy



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                Contact: David Hughes

November 29, 2000                                                                                            412/421-6072







          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

February 2002.             


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.