(Harrisburg) -- The commonwealth now has an Energy Consumer Bill of Rights. The new document is meant to centralize several rules and rights that are not new. It was crafted by State Representative John Bear of Lancaster County, along with the Public Utility Commission and state Office of Consumer Advocate. Bear says a lot of people have rights they don't even know about regarding, for example, when companies can shut off power. "This time of year, I get a lot of calls at our office about utilities having to terminate people's services," he says. "A little known fact [is that] if you have up to 250 percent of the poverty level -- which is like up to $50,000 for a family of four -- if you are at that or under, there are certain things utilities have to do. They can't just shut you off." Another portion of the Bill of Rights explains how to choose an electric or natural gas supplier, which Bear says is especially important with the pending expiration of PPL's rate caps on January 1. Additional material regarding the rate cap issue can be found on WITF's Your Power: Your Choice page.
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