PPL Continues to Improve Power Restoration Technologies

As wind topples a tree, snapping a wire and severing electricity to homes, a machine that PPL workers call Viper can start working to restore power automatically. Vipers, or vacuum reclosers, are part of the smart grid that PPL is installing in its territory of 29 counties to reduce power outages and shorten outages that do occur. Starting in 2011, PPL began installing 50 Vipers and automated control boxes on lines serving 60,000 people in the Harrisburg area. The equipment has improved reliability by 30 percent, Melinda Stumpf, a community relations coordinator for PPL, said. In each of the next… Read more.

Residents Invited to Voice Concerns About Ameren Rate Hikes

Residents who are concerned about a hike in their electric rates by Ameren Missouri can let the Public Service Commission (PSC) know about their concerns at noon, January 5, at the Holiday Inn, 10709 Watson in Sunset Hills. Earlier in 2014, Ameren Missouri filed an electric rate request with the PSC seeking to increase annual electric revenues by approximately $264 million (an almost 10 percent increase). Ameren Missouri’s rate filing also included a request to continue its fuel adjustment clause reflecting changes in the cost of fuel used to generate electricity on customers’ bills, through a separately-identified surcharge or credit… Read more.

AEP Ohio Announces Electric Meters Updates

Approximately 105,000 AEP Ohio customers throughout the company’s service territory will receive updated electric meters over the next five months as the company expands the use of automated meter reading (AMR) technology. AMR technology provides a means of reading electric meters remotely. The company will install radio frequency (RF) meters that send information over radio waves making it possible for meter readers to gather meter information remotely using either a handheld device or a vehicle mounted mobile unit. AMR meters only transmit meter readings that are collected by the meter reader remotely unlike smart meters that use two-way communications to… Read more.

ComEd Offering Seniors Bill Assistance

ComEd has dedicated more than $300,000 through a special “Senior Giving” hardship fund that will be used to help seniors who have fallen behind on their electric bill. Through Christmas, or while funds are available, ComEd will pay up to $1,500 toward eligible customers’ past due balance. To qualify, customers must be over the age of 60 with a past due balance, have not received a Residential Special hardship within the last two years, have no unpaid tampering charges and not be on a Percentage of Income Payment Plan. Customers can apply by visiting their Low Income Home Energy Assistance… Read more.

Ameren Illinois to Increase Rates by 17.4 Percent

Electric rates are on the rise in Southern Illinois. The Illinois Commerce Commission approved an increase for electric distribution rates for Ameren Illinois in 2015 on Dec. 10. The rate hike will show a 17.4 percent increase for Ameren customers on the delivery portion of their bill. The amount customers will pay depends on different factors, including location and how much electricity is used, said Commission Spokesperson Beth Bosch. The increases will affect delivery charges or how much consumers pay to have electricity delivered. Ameren will see an overall increase in annual revenue of $204 million, which the power company… Read more.

Utility PPL Wants Electric Customers to Switch Suppliers

PPL is trying to clear up confusion about shopping for better rates. The utility company, PPL, wants its customers to be ready for a tough winter – and the potential for higher electric bills. They are now encouraging people to shop around for an alternative electric supplier. PPL doesn’t make its money by making electricity, but rather, from delivering it. A spokesperson says they “basically act as a FedEx for a product.” PPL says it’s “OK” to switch to those other suppliers and that they do not compete with them. Customers should also know that PPL crews will still come… Read more.

Penelec Rate Hike Opposed

There’s no shortage of voices weighing in on a Penelec request for a rate increase that would add about $20 to the average monthly bill. The State Consumer Advocate, the Coalition for Affordable Utility Service and Energy Efficiency, and Harborcreek Township’s Ken Springirth all filed paperwork in opposition to Penelec’s first proposed distribution rate increase in 28 years. A handful of Erie residents added their thoughts Monday to the evidence that the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission will consider before ruling on the rate request. About 60 people attended a pair of public hearings held Monday in Summit Township. A decision… Read more.

ComEd Offers Financial Assistance

As we celebrate Veterans Day ComEd is reminding customers, including Veterans and active military personal, of its financial assistance and bill payment programs available to customers who have fallen behind on payments and need help with their electric bill. More than one million of the $10 million in assistance ComEd dedicated this year is still available for distribution. In addition, ComEd has funds dedicated exclusively for Veterans and active military personal. ComEd’s CHAMP (ComEd Helps Activated/Veteran Military Personnel) program provides bill-payment assistance to deployed members of the military and veterans who reside within ComEd’s northern Illinois service area and demonstrate… Read more.

Constellation Acquires Integrys Energy Services

Constellation announced that they have completed the acquisition of Integrys Energy Services, a competitive retail electricity and natural gas subsidiary serving approximately 1.2 million commercial, industrial, public sector and residential customers across 22 Midwest, mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states and the District of Columbia. Integrys Energy Services is now part of Constellation, strengthening its retail power and gas business, which together serve more than 2.5 million residential and business customers across the continental United States. “This combination creates a stronger, more diverse business that is well positioned to vie for customers in increasingly competitive retail electricity and gas markets across the… Read more.

Penelec to Raise Residential Rates

The utility Penelec wants to collect another $20 a month from residential customers. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PAPUC) has scheduled two public hearings to be held at the Ambassador Center to discuss the rate hike. Unlike the quarterly rate adjustments that utilities are permitted to make — allowing them to pass on the cost of electrical generation to consumers dollar for dollar — Penelec is seeking a rate increase to cover what it says is the rising cost of distribution. “This is the part of the bill that we control, ” Scot Surgeoner, a spokesman for Ohio-based FirstEnergy Corp.,… Read more.