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Peco says it makes a positive impact – and would like a rate hike

Peco Energy Co., the regional utility with 1.6 million electric customers and 500,000 natural gas customers, generated an estimated economic impact of $4.5 billion across Pennsylvania last year and supported nearly 10,000 jobs, according to a report the company released Monday.

The utility, which operates in Philadelphia and surrounding Pennsylvania counties, produced $760 million in labor income across Pennsylvania, according to the study by the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia, which employed Econsult Solutions, Inc. to conduct the economic modeling.

The study’s release comes a month after Peco asked the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to allow Peco to raise its rate for the first time in five years. The $190 million rate request would increase revenue from distribution rates by 15.6 percent, translating into about a 6 percent increase in the typical monthly residential bill.

The study examined only the $3.1 billion that Peco collects and spends on its operations, not the additional amounts that its customers spend on third-party suppliers of electricity and gas delivered through its system.

But the study singled out the impact of Peco’s growing use of Marcellus Shale natural gas, which now comprises more than 75 percent of the gas that it distributes. In 2014, the gas purchases amounted to more than $187 million of additional spending in Pennsylvania, supporting more than $357 million in additional output, 1,538 jobs and nearly $90 million in labor income, the study said.

Cathy Engel Menendez, the company’s spokeswoman, said the release of the study was unrelated to the rate-increase request. Peco is publishing the report’s findings in a 16-page brochure that will be deployed by the company’s external relations staff.

Among the highlights:

Peco’s direct spending was similar to entire industries in the region: Architectural, engineering, and related services, $3.1 billion; non-residential construction, $3.4 billion; and medical and diagnostic labs and outpatient ambulatory care, $3.5 billion.

Peco directly paid or remitted on behalf of its customers and 2,400 employees nearly $188 million in state and local income, franchise, payroll, property, sales and use and utility taxes in Pennsylvania.

Peco provided $5.3 million in contributions to charities and nonprofit organizations. The company’s employees serve on more than 150 boards of nonprofits and gave nearly 14,000 hours of volunteer service hours in the region.

This article was written by Andrew Maykuth from The Philadelphia Inquirer and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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