PURA poised to order low-income electricity customers out of retail market
By Matt Pilon December 3, 2019
The state’s utilities regulator appears ready to forbid third-party electricity suppliers from servicing low-income or “hardship” customers.
In its proposed final decision published Monday, PURA said it agreed that hardship customers had paid more money for their electricity from suppliers than they would have from their utility company and that customers did not receive “commensurate value” for that overpayment.
PURA also said the situation has far-reaching impacts, since nonpayment of bills is ultimately funded by all ratepayers.
A study earlier this year found that hardship customers spent about $7.2 million more to purchase electricity from third-party suppliers than they would have through their utility’s so-called “standard service.”
The Office of Consumer Counsel has long published data showing that all customers using suppliers collectively end up paying more money, but the study earlier this year found that hardship customers with suppliers paid 69 percent more than non-hardship customers with suppliers over the period analyzed.