Pennsylvania losing deregulation luster

By Kathleen Davis
Electric Light & Power Associate Editor

August 17, 2001 — Pennsylvania is still at the top of the deregulation game, but it may be clinging by the last vestiges of its fingernails.

Customer numbers are slipping: over 200,000 gone in less than four months, over 3,000 MW out of the alternative supplier arena. And companies aren’t just moving out; some are going belly-up. Utility.com blinked out in March, leaving confused and angry customers in the wake of its demise. Now the Office of Consumer Advocate is embroiled in retaining refunds of $70,000 to $200,000, while stating that Utility.com could have another $680,000 in other Pennsylvania claims.

Kathleen Magruder, vice-president of NewPower Company (who serves as an alternative default service provider for PECO), labeled the Pennsylvania market as “backsliding” in an interview for EL&P’s September State of Deregulation.

“The position in Pennsylvania is not nearly as good today as it was a year ago, much less two years ago,” Magruder stated.

An upcoming issue of Electric Light & Power will dissect this new Pennsylvania turn in detail: using Energy Information Administration statistics to pinpoint the Keystone State’s downturn. Magruder, PJM, the Office of Consumer Advocate and the RED Index also contribute to the details.

Pennsylvania may not be the keystone in the restructuring foundation for too much longer.

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