Regulators okay power auction

| 29 Sep 2011 | 08:31

    HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Thursday approved a plan that would allow other power providers to bid on and buy Pike County Light and Power customers and provide cheaper service. The Commission approved the “retail aggregation program” by a vote of 5-0. Commissioner Terrance J. Fitzpatrick made a statement on the decision, concluding that the legal arguments entered against the plan were “unpersuasive.” Retail aggregation programs pool electric consumers for the purpose of purchasing electric power collectively. An auction will be held next week to determine who will administer such a program for Pike Power consumers. All participating bidders must demonstrate the capability to serve residential consumers by indicating adequate staffing at service centers to field questions from residential consumers. After the Commission reviews all the bids, it may name a winning “Electric Generation Supplier” on April 28. A British-owned supplier, DirectEnergy Services, has proposed a plan to the commissioners. A counsel for Consolidated-Edison, which owns Pike County Light and Power, recently said the company would lose $1.5 million if the company lost the service to another, lower bidder. Under the approved retail aggregation program, all Pike County Light & Power consumers will automatically be enrolled with the winning electric generation supplier. If they wish to remain with Pike Power, consumers will have to opt out of the retail aggregation program. Consumers should begin to receive notifications and educational information on the program from Pike Power and the winning electric generation supplier in May. Consumers can opt out of the program at any time. Consumers will begin receiving service from the winning electric generation supplier the first part of June. The Commission action stemmed from unique circumstances that resulted in Pike County consumers experiencing unprecedented 73 percent increases in rates in January. The initial wholesale auction process for purchasing power for those consumers was affected by many factors, including the timing of the auction, which occurred during peak natural gas prices; minimal auction participants and no competitive retail activity in the area. For more information about the PUC, visit