///NCLC Energy, Utilities & Telecom Blog
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Low Income Consumers Won’t Pay for MA Solar Programs

Across the country, advocates for low-income energy customers are grappling with rate design and fair solar power policies. The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) recently issued a decision that could help guide other successful advocacy work. In late 2015, National Grid asked the Massachusetts DPU to raise the electricity rates that it can charge [...]

Low Income Consumers Won’t Pay for MA Solar Programs2016-11-03T20:12:40-05:00

Payday Loan Stores Shouldn’t be Utility Bill Payment Centers

Last month, the Missouri Public Service Commission joined Arizona and Nevada as states where utilities, as a result of pressure from consumer advocates, have been compelled or voluntarily agreed to cut contractual ties with payday lenders. Some utilities enter into contracts with payday and other short-term predatory lenders to accept bill payment from customers. Payday [...]

Payday Loan Stores Shouldn’t be Utility Bill Payment Centers2016-10-25T16:36:44-05:00

Prepaid Utility: Subpar Service for Cash-Strapped Families?

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the SameWhile prepaid metering and service technologies have changed -- utilities now use smart meters, cell phones and the internet rather than prepayment meters that had to be fed with cash or a debit card to avoid loss of service -- the ugliest truths about prepaid service [...]

Prepaid Utility: Subpar Service for Cash-Strapped Families?2016-09-30T19:15:44-05:00

AMPs are a Win-Win for Low-Income Customers and Utilities

Across the country, low-income consumers are struggling to pay their utility bills. In fact, one report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that collections in the “utilities or energy” category is the third most common item on consumers’ credit reports. Their study indicates that approximately one in thirteen consumers has a credit report containing [...]

AMPs are a Win-Win for Low-Income Customers and Utilities2016-06-10T15:21:25-05:00

Hurray! The FCC Modernized Lifeline! What You Need to Know

The Federal Communication Commission voted to modernize the Lifeline program on March 31, 2016. This was a monumental achievement for many advocates around the country who have worked for years to modernize this critical low-income communications subsidy program.The Lifeline program was established in the mid-1980s to connect low-income households to emergency services, jobs, healthcare, teachers, [...]

Hurray! The FCC Modernized Lifeline! What You Need to Know2016-05-31T19:11:17-05:00

Exelon Merger Yields $25 Million in Low-Income Benefits

On March 23, the D.C. Public Service Commission (DC PSC) gave final approval to the merger of Exelon Corporation and PHI Holdings (operating companies of Pepco, Delmarva, and Atlantic City Electric). The merger had previously been approved in the states of Virginia, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware, and at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Given [...]

Exelon Merger Yields $25 Million in Low-Income Benefits2016-03-30T19:32:03-05:00

NCLC Intervenes in Exelon, Southern Co. Mergers

Utility mergers are on the rise. In the third quarter of 2015, there were 42 “deals”, with 18 of those greater than $50 million, more big “deals” than in the prior two quarters combined. Twenty years ago, there were 100 publicly-traded, investor owned utilities. As of mid-2014, that number had shrunk to 48, and has [...]

NCLC Intervenes in Exelon, Southern Co. Mergers2016-02-22T18:29:24-05:00

Calling the FCC to Protect Consumer Access to 911

With the traditional landline phone system, consumers can expect that if their home loses power, they can still pick up the phone and access emergency services by dialing 911. This is because during a power outage, the copper wire that supplied the phones lines conducted electricity and drew power from the phone company’s central office. [...]

Calling the FCC to Protect Consumer Access to 9112019-03-27T08:03:04-05:00

A Lifeline to Opportunity and the 21st Century Information Age

Every now and then I stop and wonder about how access to broadband has changed my life and my family’s lives. My son started ninth grade at our local public high school two weeks ago and his history teacher told us that students will have access to classwork “24/7 on demand” through Google Classroom where [...]

A Lifeline to Opportunity and the 21st Century Information Age2015-09-24T15:52:00-05:00