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The Pennsylvania Code website reflects the Pennsylvania Code changes effective through 52 Pa.B. 4384 (July 30, 2022).

52 Pa. Code § 56.174. Ability to pay proceedings.

§ 56.174. Ability to pay proceedings.

 (a)  Assignments. Requests for review of decisions of the Bureau of Consumer Services (BCS) and any other case in which the issue is solely ability to pay may be assigned to a special agent.

 (b)  Stay of informal complaint decision. Upon the filing of a formal complaint in a case seeking review from the decision of the BCS, there shall be an automatic stay of payment arrangements ordered in that decision, other than current bills not at issue. The public utility may request that the presiding officer remove the stay and order payment of amounts in the informal complaint decision. When current bills are not at issue, the customer shall be responsible for payment of current, undisputed bills pending issuance of a final Commission order.

 (c)  Hearings. The presiding officer will conduct hearings within a reasonable period after filing of the review and answer. If the presiding officer is a special agent, the special agent will have all powers of an administrative law judge.

   (1)  The presiding officer will attempt to hold hearings by telephone, unless one or more parties object. Hearings will be held after the filing of an answer.

   (2)  The presiding officer will hear the case de novo, but may request a stipulation of the parties as to undisputed facts.

   (3)  Hearings will be tape recorded and will not be transcribed, unless the parties request the use of a stenographer or a transcription of the tape or other circumstances warranting transcription exist. Unless objected to, parties may make their own tape recording of the proceedings, but the only official record shall be that made by the presiding officer.

 (d)  Proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law or briefs. The parties shall have the opportunity of submitting proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law or briefs to the presiding officer. Notice of intent to submit findings of fact and conclusions of law or briefs shall be given at the hearing and they shall be submitted within 10 days of the hearing.

 (e)  Initial decision. The presiding officer will render a written decision after the hearings or after the receipt of proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law or briefs, if they are filed. The initial decision will be in writing and contain a brief description of the matter, findings of fact and conclusions of law. The initial decision shall be subject to the filing of exceptions under the procedures in Chapters 1 and 5 (relating to rules of administrative practice and procedure; and formal proceedings).


   The provisions of this §  56.174 issued under the Public Utility Code, 66 Pa.C.S. § §  331, 332, 501, 504, 1301, 1305, 1501 and 1504; amended under the Public Utility Code, 66 Pa.C.S. § §  1401—1419.


   The provisions of this §  56.174 adopted July 20, 1984, effective July 21, 1984, 14 Pa.B. 2676; amended October 7, 2011, effective October 8, 2011, 41 Pa.B. 5473. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (252045) to (252046).

Cross References

   This section cited in 52 Pa. Code §  56.163 (relating to Commission informal complaint procedure); 52 Pa. Code §  56.172 (relating to time for filing); and 52 Pa. Code §  57.257 (relating to disputes concerning advanced metering).

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