Pa. electric bills to lose rate caps

    With a month to go before electric rate caps start expiring for millions of Pennsylvania consumers, a State House bill aimed at curbing rate increases appears to have stalled.

    With a month to go before electric rate caps start expiring for millions of Pennsylvania consumers, a State House bill aimed at curbing rate increases appears to have stalled.

    At the beginning of this year’s legislative session, House Democratic leaders said they’d make expiring rate caps a priority.

    A centerpiece of that plan was House Bill 20, which would limit rate increases to 15% a year through 2012.

    But the legislation hasn’t seen action since late April, when it was recommitted to the Appropriations Committee.

    Democratic spokesman Brett Marcy says party leaders started looking for alternatives when it became clear utility companies would demand interest on the deferred payments.

    Marcy: The amount of money that the utility companies would have been able to recover from basically phasing in those increases in payment was something we believed could have been concerting to consumers. We didn’t want to help consumers while at the same time hurting them on the back end.

    Marcy says it probably won’t be moved in December. Caps for PPL customers disappear January 1. Met-Ed, Pennelec and other utilities’ caps expire in 2011.

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