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Utility bills could decrease based on new tax law

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PUC asks for utilities' feedback on how to charge ratepayers

 

America's new tax law lowered the corporate rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, which is good, clearly, for large companies including utilities like PPL and First Energy.

Since utilities are paying lower taxes, does that mean you could soon pay less on your bills?

"Perhaps we need to look at how are utilities structured and what's their business model," Dr. Rudy Shankar told WFMZ.

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Shankar is the director of Lehigh University's Energy Systems Engineering Institute, and was Vice President at Tennessee Valley Authority during his 40-year career.

Utilities like these, he pointed out, do not just decide rates.

"What they have to comply to is a public utility commission called PUC," he explained.

The Pennsylvania PUC approves what rates utilities can charge and assesses the basis for them, which is why PPL told WFMZ they are waiting for guidance from that commission, and they do not know specifically how prices could be affected.

A representative of the PUC told WFMZ they are still examining the situation, but if other states are an indication, prices could be coming down.

Utilities owned by PPL in Kentucky, for instance, have already been told to pass savings to consumers.

The next question, of course, is if this happens, how much might your bill go down?

Nobody knows for sure, but Dr. Shankar had an educated estimate.

"Take a typical electric bill of a hundred dollars," he said. "The difference could be anywhere from 5-10 bucks."

This adds up to a lot of money.

"If you just take the millions of customers, that's a huge amount," he said.

Pennsylvania's Acting Consumer Advocate Tanya McCloskey, whose job is to represent utility consumers before the PUC, told WFMZ "savings should be flowed through to ratepayers."

Shop Talk

What's new in the business community!

If you know of local business openings or closings, please notify us here.

· Thomas Ripsam has been named the new CEO of Martin Guitar. He succeeds longtime Chairman and CEO Christian Frederick Martin IV.

. Owners of Tucker Silk Mill to open wine bar and garden in down Easton in early 2022. Kabinett will have a mostly Australian and German wine list, with light fare, and an outdoor patio overlooking the Delaware River.

· Community Action Lehigh Valley promoted Dawn Godshall to executive director and Jessica Reimert to deputy executive director for operations, and hired Jaana Kelley as associate executive director for community services.

· The Trolley Stop diner opened May 29th at 201 S. McCartney Street in Easton

· Bitty & Beau's, a coffee shop that employs people with disabilities, will set up shop at 74 W. Broad St. in Bethlehem.

PPL Corporation named by DiversityInc as one of top utilities in nation for workforce diversity

· Semper Pie, 14 S. Reading Ave. in Boyertown, hosting grand opening with cheesecake and more on May 22. 

· St. Luke’s OB/GYN – Complete Women’s Care, 9 Dave’s Way, in Hamburg, will accept new patients starting May 6. 

· Rolling Hills Recreation mini golf course, 4565 Spring Hill Dr. in Schnecksville, will hold its grand opening May 1.

· The Red Rose Diner, Route 22 in Phillipsburg, has announced that it will close its doors May 2. 

· Pizza D’Oro restaurant on College Hill, Easton reopened on April 21 as Joey D's. The restaurant offers dine-in and takeout options.

· The Da Vinci Science Center announced that Lin Erickson, executive director and CEO, has been named a Take the Lead honoree by the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania.

. Deliciously Decorated, 143 S. Main St. in Nazareth, will host a grand opening and ribbon cutting 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 8.

· Jack Callaghan's is reopening as Cuzin's Pub and Grill at 2027 W. Tilghman St.

. John L. Walsh will retire as President and CEO of UGI Corporation on June 25, 2021. He will continue to serve as a member of UGI's Board of Directors.

. Bru Daddy's Brewing to launch new restaurant, Blended by Bru Daddy's, on downtown Allentown ArtsWalk. Soft opening is planned for May with grand opening in June.

· BSI Corporate Benefits, LLC (BSI) promoted Valerie (Val) Lewis to Chief Operating Officer. The nationwide employee benefits consulting firm executes cost control strategies to manage their clients’ healthcare costs.

. UPMC Health Plan appoints Dr. Amy Meister as chief medical health and wellness officer

· Center for Vision Loss, a nonprofit in the Lehigh Valley and Monroe County, changes name to Sights for Hope

· PPL Corporation names Gregory Dudkin executive vice president and chief operating officer. Stephanie Raymond will succeed him as president of PPL Electric Utilities.

· New Vision Theatres Tilghman Square 8 will become Tilghman Square 8. Its anticipated opening is in April 2021.

.Genesis Bicycles in Easton has been sold to Trek Bicycle. Genesis' retirement sale starts Thursday, April 1

· European Wax Center to open at the Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley in summer 2021

· Split Pine Axe Throwing opens at 627 Hamilton Street in Allentown

· Krave 2 Taste opens new location at the Lehigh Valley Mall, next to Verizon. The frappe and smoothie shop will hold a grand opening event on March 27 from 12-3 p.m.

· First Commonwealth Federal Credit Union appoints James Gagliano as new chief experience officer

· New Bethany Ministries in Bethlehem announced several promotions: Veronne Demesyeux was named Associate Executive Director; Tina Sargent was promoted to Director of Finance and Administration; and Lisa Myers was named Controller.

. PPL Corporation named Best Place to Work for LGBTQ equality on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's 2021 Corporate Equality Index. It's the fifth consecutive year PPL has earned high marks on the national report

· GEICO has opened an office in the Broadcasting Square shopping center, 2733 Papermill Road, Suite X3, in Spring Township. Office hours are Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-7 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

· Bimbo Bakeries USA has earned the EPA's Energy Star certification for superior energy efficiency at 15 of its bakeries, including the one that produces Maier's Bakery items in southwest Reading's Oakbrook neighborhood.

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