Wolf to sign utility-backed measure, drawing criticism

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Gov. Tom Wolf will sign legislation that Pennsylvania's electric and gas utilities say will help them recoup costs in a more timely fashion, but consumer advocates warn that it erodes protections for residents and businesses.

Wolf's office said Friday that he'll sign the bill after the state Senate passed it, 41-8. Wolf's office says he supports efforts to advance innovation, grid reliability, energy efficiency and renewable energy, and that his administration will work with state utility regulators to protect consumers.

The measure represents significant change to the state's regulated rate-setting model. Utilities contend that letting them adjust distribution charges between time-consuming rate cases won't mean higher long-term costs for consumers.

Opponents say the shift will provide less ability to challenge rate increases and less incentive for utilities to control costs.

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