Science & Technology



Environmentalists battle to get Peco to increase its use of green energy, but the oil industry calls it a job killer

Lynette Hazelton, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Science & Technology News

PHILADELPHIA —The nation is in the middle of a contentious transformation from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

It's a change either hailed by environmentalists for addressing climate change and public health or loathed by the oil and gas industry for killing jobs and being less reliable, efficient and affordable. And what the increase in renewables will mean for consumers' pocketbooks is still unclear.

The latest battle played out before the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission, which every four years has to approve Peco's energy procurement, or default service plan, where the utility explains how it intends to buy electricity.

Peco's current DSP is set to expire next May.

PUC hearings

In February, Peco filed its 1,235-page purchase plan with the regulators, essentially promising to do what it has been doing: obtaining the least expensive electric supply and purchasing 8% of its power from renewable sources, including 0.5% of solar energy generated within the state.


"Peco is proposing no change to its procurement process used in its prior default service program," according to the company's filing. It's a move that the company said guards against price volatility.

The PUC held two days of hearings on Peco's DSP at the end of April. About 80 people testified, including members of the Energy Justice Advocates (EJA), a group that includes POWER Interfaith, Vote Solar, Clean Air Council, Sierra Club, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and PennEnvironment.

"In my opinion, these criteria are insufficient and outdated. No less important but missing in PECO's list of criteria are the safety and health of Pennsylvanians, as well as the urgent need to address our climate crisis," testified Howard Sherman, a Peco customer from Lansdowne.

"For every hundred dollars that PECO spends on energy, it plans to spend 50 cents on solar."


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