PENNSYLVANIA ENERGY CONSUMER ALLIANCE
What is PECA?
The Pennsylvania Energy Consumer Alliance (PECA) consists of businesses, manufacturers, colleges and other organizations that support pro-growth energy policies in Pennsylvania to keep energy costs at competitive levels in the national and international markets and support our members’ successes. PECA focuses its efforts on working with legislative, regulatory and executive leadership so that Pennsylvania state government: 1) understands the impact that energy and energy policy has on business, 2) prioritizes the importance of energy to Pennsylvania’s economy, and 3) balances various legislative and regulatory initiatives with the goal to enhance the business growth opportunities in the Commonwealth.
Two decades ago, Pennsylvania recognized that electricity and natural gas prices were critical to economic development, and that Pennsylvania needs to be a national leader with an energy policy that provides benefits to its consumers. Since that time, the dreams of ensuring that Pennsylvania remained an economic development powerhouse through its statewide energy policy have not been realized. While the surcharges to “buy out” utilities for their supposedly uneconomic electric generation facilities have ended, those costs have been replaced with other regulatory mandates that increase consumers’ bills. Examples of regulatory mandates are mandatory renewable purchases and utility-administered energy efficiency programs.
Despite government policy and legislative initiatives being described as pro-business, Pennsylvania’s 2016 average commercial electricity rate of 9.22 cents per kWh ranks as the 14th lowest in the nation, while its average industrial electricity rate of 6.92 cents per kWh is tied for 25th (with Wyoming). These rankings are not good enough for PECA’s members. Through its effective and consistent interaction with state policy makers, PECA aims to keep state leaders and industrial consumers connected and informed. PECA will work with all parties necessary to reverse the current trends so that energy costs are no longer a negative factor for large consumers doing business in Pennsylvania but, instead, become a benefit for large consumers doing business in Pennsylvania.
TODAY’S ENERGY ISSUES REQUIRE EXPERTISE, CONSISTENCY, COMMITMENT AND COORDINATION AT NOT ONLY LOCAL, STATE AND FEDERAL LEVELS BUT ALSO IN THE EXECUTIVE, LEGISLATIVE AND REGULATORY ARENAS.
PECA actively coordinates with the PJM Industrial Customer Coalition (PJMICC) and the Pennsylvania utility-specific intervention groups organized by McNees Wallace & Nurick to participate in Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) proceedings1. This ensures that important issues are addressed using consistent messages and strategies across and among the levels of advocacy.
PECAs Advocacy Team
PECA members have chosen to work with the professionals at McNees Wallace & Nurick who provide legal and government relations services that are seamlessly coordinated. McNees has the breadth and depth to effectively and efficiently address large consumer energy issues in Pennsylvania. McNees’ legal, technical, and government relations professionals work closely together to provide efficient and effective service to our clients.
Why Support PECA?
As legislative and regulatory changes are contemplated in the new legislative session, the fact remains that there is strength in numbers and the number of organizations that are interested in a particular issue matters and will impress decisionmakers, attracting their attention based on the numbers alone. More so, PECA’s members have real world examples to share about the impact of energy policy and legislation on their business and employees who work, raise families and vote in Pennsylvania. Your voices matter and need to be heard! The number of organizations that join PECA will directly impact the group’s collective numbers such as our employment levels in legislative districts, the MWh and Mcf of usage that we represent, the taxes paid to state and local governments, the number of legislative districts where our members operate, the number and geographic diversity of local government officials that support PECA’s efforts, and the media outlets where we can ensure that PECA’s message is heard.
We need you!
How Will PECA Members Stay Informed and Provide Input Regarding the Group’s Priorities and Messages?
PECA holds bi-weekly conference calls and four in-person meetings each year to: ensure that members understand happenings in the Capitol and the important issues; prioritize the group’s advocacy agenda; and develop strategies to maximize the chances for success. During weeks when the state legislature is in session, there are more regular communications and calls to provide updates and obtain input from the group.
During the four in-person meetings, PECA members will have the opportunity to meet with state policy makers to provide the group’s perspective on important issues. In 2019, we will rotate the locations for the in-person meetings to be close to PECA members’ facilities and to provide contact with legislators in their district offices.
How Do I Enroll My Organization?
Joining PECA is straightforward. Simply complete and return the Authorization Form. PECA charges members a flat annual membership fee based on each members’ consumption of electricity. Members are invoiced at the beginning of each quarter. We would be happy to provide your organization with a specific estimate of your budget share, as well as an estimate of the potential impact associated with the issues listed above. In all cases, we would expect that the benefits of membership will easily exceed our organization’s share of PECA fees and costs. Active participation in PECA is well worth the investment.
THREATS & OPPORTUNITIES
The Legislature begins a new two-year session in January 2019, and incumbent Governor Tom Wolf begins his legislatively-mandated last four-year term. As a result, we anticipate that 2019 will be a very active year for executive, legislative and regulatory priorities that will include many energy issues. We anticipate at least the following issues will be in play:
Most significant, Exelon and FirstEnergy continue to seek state subsidies for nuclear generation plants that could cost Pennsylvania consumers $10.00 per megawatt-hour (MWh) (1 cent per kilowatt hour (kWh)) or more. This estimate is based on data from Illinois, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts where those efforts were successful.
The Wolf Administration’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) released a Pennsylvania Solar Future Plan in November 2018 that calls for increasing the percentage of solar generation in the Commonwealth to 10% and increasing wind generation to 10%. This will certainly result in legislative efforts to amend Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS) Act.
The PA Solar Future Plan also suggests that Pennsylvania should implement carbon pricing and consider joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
Many predict that 2019 will feature a budget showdown between the Governor’s Office and the Legislature. In 2017, the General Assembly and Governor Wolf attempted to balance the state budget by increasing the Gross Receipts Tax (GRT) on electric service and imposing a 5%+ GRT for gas service. If there is another gap in revenues and spending, then it is expected the legislature will look at all potential sources of tax revenue. This means businesses and industry groups need to continue messaging about the impact of additional tax on their respective businesses and industry.
2019 is a key year for the PUC or the Legislature to reform the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Plans under Act 129 before Phase IV begins.
Over 20% of Pennsylvania legislators are beginning their first terms, and the Chairs of the House Consumer Affairs Committee, the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, and the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee are newly-appointed – creating significant uncertainty on legislative priorities.
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100 Pine Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101