FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                  Contact:  Jeanne K. Clark

May 21, 1998                                                                                                              412/421-6072


Citizen Power Saves Area Electric Customers $1.5 Billion

Of So-called Stranded Costs in PUC Decision Today


            Pittsburgh, May 21 – Citizen Power today expressed guarded pleasure with the decision of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) to formally ratify its preliminary vote of April 30 on the restructuring cases of Duquesne Light (DQE) and Allegheny Power (AYE), cutting so-called stranded costs for both companies.


“Today’s decision, while not perfect, will help local electric customers struggling under the weight of out-of-control electric bills, “ said David Hughes, Executive Director of Citizen Power.  “Thanks to our work and the outcry of local citizens, we have saved Western Pennsylvania consumers $1.5 Billion, and prevented Duquesne and Allegheny from choking off competition.”


“After 10 years of paying off Duquesne Light’s bad investments in nuclear plants we didn’t need or want, customers are finally getting a break, “ continued Hughes.  “In a truly fair world, the bailout would strop right now.  But at least now the end is in sight.


“Our fight has paid off.  We said ‘no’ to ‘stranded costs’ – and the PUC cut Duquesne and Allegheny’s demands by nearly 50%.  We said ‘no’ to an unrestricted merger – and the PUC is requiring the Companies to protect real competition if they want to merge.  We asked customers to join the fight through our radio ads, public education and telephone banks – and the customers not only spoke out, but were also heard loud and clear by the PUC.


“The fight, however, is not over.  We must pressure the PUC and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to force the Companies to abide by today’s order.  We must make the promise of competition a reality.  Customers must be able and willing to shop for new electric suppliers.  They must have clear and unbiased information from the companies so that they can make smart energy choices.  And we must demand that electric suppliers offer their customers renewable and sustainable electric power that protects our health and the planet, as well as our wallets.


“We will continue to fight for clean affordable energy.  And with the support we have received from the public, we are in a stronger position to win.  In fact, for our economy, our health and our world, we must win,” concluded Hughes.


Citizen Power is a Western Pennsylvania public policy, research, education and advocacy group that fights for consumers and the environment through education and litigation.  Since the legislature’s middle-of-the-night passage of the 1996 Electricity Generation Customer Choice and Competition Act, Citizen Power has represented the rights of consumers to lower rates and clean, safe power.  Citizen Power was an officially designated Public Interest Intervenor in the DQE/AYE cases before the PUC, and is the only Western Pennsylvania organization working full-time on this issue.


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