PUC announces ‘smart hearing’ for input on proposed natural-gas rate hike

State. The public is invited to offer comments at a Nov. 4 hearing in Harrisburg on a proposed natural-gas rate increase.

08 Oct 2019 | 05:39

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has scheduled a “smart hearing” for November to gather views on the rate increase proposed by Valley Energy Inc., which serves nearly 7,000 natural-gas customers in Sayre and surrounding communities in Bradford County.

The hearing will begin at 1 p.m. Nov. 4 and will be broadcast live on the PUC website and will enable residents throughout the Valley Energy service territory to see and hear the testimony being offered without the need to attend the hearing in-person.

Customers will be able to offer their testimony by telephone, from their homes or other locations. Their testimony will be included in the live internet stream and considered as part of the commission’s review. In-person testimony from the Harrisburg hearing site will be included, for those who prefer to comment in that manner. Those wishing to testify in-person may attend the hearing at Hearing Room 1, the Commonwealth Keystone Building, 400 North St. Consumers will be given the option of not having your testimony live-streamed, if they prefer.

PUC Administrative Law Judges Steve Haas and Benjamin Myers will preside over the hearing.

Those wishing to testify may do so either in-person or by telephone. In-person participation requires only signing in. Those wishing to testify by telephone may contact the Office of Administrative Law Judge’s scheduling office at (717) 787-1399 by Nov. 1 and provide name, telephone number and the topic of the testimony.

Those with special needs may call the scheduling office at least three business days before the hearing to submit requests. Relay service is available for those who are hearing-impaired by calling (800) 654-5988.

Those with exhibits they will refer to during the hearing must send three copies of each to the judges. All copies must be received at least three days before the hearing.

The OALJ scheduling office will handle questions regarding testimony.

Offering testimony at a hearing
Members of the public are welcome to attend public input hearings, either to observe or to speak. Any formal testimony that is offered during the hearing will become part of the record on which the public utility commission will issue its final decision.
The PUC offers these tips on how to participate:
· Prepare what you are going to say beforehand. Even though it is not required, you may want to write out your statement, which can be read.
· Bring copies of your remarks. If you have a written statement you would like to give to the judge as evidence, bring two copies for the court reporter and several copies for the other participants.
· Understand that parties in the case may want to ask you a question to clarify something you said.