Deasy introduces resolution that calls for freeze in utility rate increase proposals

HARRISBURG, May 6 – Noting the sudden and unexpected loss of income incurred by Pennsylvania residents and small business owners due to COVID-19, state Rep. Dan Deasy, D-Allegheny, has introduced a resolution urging the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to put a freeze on all requests for utility rate increases through 2020.

“Residents are experiencing financial hardships, unemployment rates are through the roof, and the public and state assistance offered to families and small businesses is but a small drop in a bucket to address the of loss of income and financial insecurity because of COVID-19,” Deasy said.

“You’d think during a time like this, we’d see more compassion, but unfortunately that’s not the case, especially with utility companies. Rate increases are the last thing our struggling residents and businesses should have to worry about, which is why this resolution is so crucial during this global health crisis,” Deasy said.

Aside from the increase proposals, Deasy said he was even more disappointed in the scale of which some companies were trying to raise their rates, with at least one company seeking a 24% rate increase. 

Deasy is the second western House Democrat in recent weeks to call on the PUC to investigate or freeze rate increase proposals received from utility companies. State Rep. Austin Davis, also D-Allegheny, called on the PUC last week to investigate a rate increase proposal from Pennsylvania American Water.

In addition to his resolution, Deasy also sent a letter to the PUC’s executive director regarding the matter.

Deasy said he hopes the resolution will be considered in the House chamber in the near future.