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Wolf proposes education reinvestment plan featuring natural gas severance tax Governor Tom Wolf on Feb. 11 proposed an education reinvestment plan featuring a severance tax on natural gas extraction as part of his solution to fund public education in the commonwealth. “We can get Pennsylvania back on track, and we can start by passing a commonsense severance tax that will help fund our schools — an idea with bipartisan support,” Wolf said. “The commonwealth ranks 45th in the nation in percentage of state funding for public education, and as a result,

more than a billion dollars in fiscal year 2017 prior we have seen larger class sizes, fewer teachers, to exemptions. It is modeled on neighboring West and vital program cuts. These cuts have made it more difficult for students to get a strong education Virginia’s severance tax plan. in Pennsylvania’s public schools. This is the right thing to do for our children and our economy and to move Pennsylvania forward.” The proposal, called the Pennsylvania Education Reinvestment Act, enacts a 5-percent severance tax plus 4.7 cents per thousand feet of volume on extraction, which the governor expects to generate

Pennsylvania sits on one of the largest deposits of natural gas in the world. The Wolf Administration

Please see SEVERANCE on next page

Subzero nights, frigid days topple power usage record for PPL Electric Utilities customers Temperatures more suited to the Arctic Circle than Pennsylvania produced a new peak power usage record on Feb. 20 among PPL Electric Utilities customers. Preliminary figures show a new mark of 7,883 megawatt-hours, which breaks the old mark of 7,816 megawatt-hours set just 13 months ago, in early January 2014. The latest record was set during the hour ending at 8 a.m. Friday. It means customers used 7.88 million kilowatt-hours of electricity during that one-hour period, enough to power about 700 homes for a year. “Investing in our system makes it more reliable, and that benefits customers,” said Dave Bonenberger, vice president of Distribution Operations for the utility. “Whether the thermometer reads minus 1 or 101, we work to make sure our system delivers as promised.” The utility has invested about $4.7 billion in its system in the past decade and is poised to invest another $5.7 billion over the next five years. Improvements include rebuilding older lines, installing more automated smart grid technology and making the system more storm-resistant. The company reported no notable coldweather-related issues on its transmission and

distribution systems. The PJM Interconnection, which coordinates and directs the operation of the regional transmission grid serving all or part of 13 states, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey, also reported setting One of several charts displayed at a press conference Feb. 11 during which local leaders a new power demand record. No significant warm- in education, business and industry announced legislation to enact a new Marcellus Shale severance tax. Times-Tribune file photo up is forecast through March 5. Customers looking to save on their electric bills should consider shopping for their electricity supply, and the best way to do that is to visit www. There are numerous offers below the utility’s price to compare, the cost for electricity supply for customers who don’t shop. Customers shopping for their electricity supply should be sure to understand the terms of any supplier contract, including whether the price is variable or fixed over time. They also should be aware of any cancellation fees. The cold weather of recent weeks likely will drive up customer bills, putting stress on some households. “For those who qualify, we have payment assistance programs to help,” Bonenberger said. “Those programs can be found at billhelp. In addition, customers can take advantage of programs like budget billing to help make payments even over time and avoid seasonal swings.”

PPL Electric Utilities posts quarterly price to compare

Cost cutting isn’t always painful. Take natural gas, for example.

Need operational savings?

PPL Electric Utilities has posted its price to compare for customers who do not shop for their electricity.

Switch to clean, locally produced natural gas. Many Pennsylvania businesses are saving thousands of dollars a year with natural gas.

Effective March 1, the new price to compare for residential customers will be 9.559 cents per kilowatt-hour (currently 9.318 cents per kWh). The price to compare for small business customers will be 10.121 cents per kilowatthour (currently 9.325 cents per kWh).

And UGI can make the conversion process painless. To see if natural gas is an option for you and estimate your savings, visit

Shopping for energy supply: Information about shopping for electric supply can be found on the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s website, or at

Or call UGI at 1-800-276-2722.



Northeast Pennsylvania Business Journal March 2015  
Northeast Pennsylvania Business Journal March 2015  

March 2015