Matzie introduces bill to maintain safeguards for public utility consumers

Would reauthorize Public Utilities Code protections set to expire

HARRISBURG, April 28 – State Rep. Rob Matzie introduced legislation today to reauthorize key provisions of Pennsylvania’s Public Utilities Code that promote fair dealings between utility companies and their customers.

Matzie, who is chairman of the House Consumer Protection, Technology & Utilities Committee, introduced H.B. 1077 to ensure that payment plans, protection from shutoffs and other safeguards remain in place for consumers who might be struggling with bills.

“The re-authorization of Chapter 14 is of paramount importance to Pennsylvania’s utility customers,” Matzie said. “Simply put, it clarifies and codifies how utility companies are permitted to address customers who have fallen on hard times and are having trouble paying their bills. The law expires at the end of next year, so the time is now to make sure it’s reauthorized in a thoughtful, thorough, and timely manner.

“It’s important to remember that we’re talking about essential items – electricity, water and gas. My bill seeks to expand the tools that utility companies have to work with their customers who are struggling to pay their bills, in order to avoid having their service turned off.”

Chapter 14 of PA Title 66 sets the framework for consumer safeguards between a public utility and its customers. Most Pennsylvania utility customers are afforded certain protections under Chapter 14 in areas such as service connections and shut-offs, fees and deposits, delinquent bills and payment plans.

First implemented in 2004, the law was reauthorized in 2014. It is due to expire at the end of 2024.