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OFFICE OF CONSUMER ADVOCATE FILES COMPLAINT

 OFFICE OF CONSUMER ADVOCATE FILES COMPLAINT
 HARRISBURG, Pa., May 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumer Advocate Irwin


Popowsky today announced that his office has filed a complaint challenging Metropolitan Edison Company's proposed $68 million annual base rate increase.
 In the complaint filed today, Popowsky said his office urged the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) to suspend the proposed rate increase for full investigation and hearings, and to reject any portions of the increase that are not fully justified by the company.
 Met Ed filed for a $68 million, or 9.4 percent, base rate increase on April 24, 1992. Met Ed has stated that this increase will be partially offset by reductions to the company's energy cost rate and state tax adjustment surcharge, so the proposed net increase in revenues will be approximately $55 million. The company requested permission to place the rate increase in effect on June 23, 1992, but the complaint filed today asks the PUC to suspend any increase for up to seven additional months, pending a full investigation.
 In the complaint, the Office of Consumer Advocate specifically urges the PUC to examine Met Ed's requested 13.5 percent return on equity, or profit level, as well as the company's request to charge ratepayers $14 million per year to cover the cost of monitoring and decommissioning the damaged nuclear reactor at Three Mile Island (TMI) Unit 2. The company is expected to begin dismantling TMI 2 around the year 2014 and is asking for ratepayer funding to begin to cover these future costs in this rate case. The OCA complaint calls on the PUC to review each of the company's rate claims to insure that it comports with the Public Utility Code and does not impose an unfair burden on ratepayers.
 If approved in full, the rate increase proposed by Met Ed would result in a $5.24 per month increase in the bill of a residential customer using 500 kilowatt hours per month, from $45.47 to $50.71. Met Ed serves approximately 439,000 customers in eastern and south-central Pennsylvania in parts of Adams, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Pike and York Counties.
 The Office of Consumer Advocate is authorized by state law to represent the interests of utility customers in cases before the PUC.
 /delval/
 -0- 5/11/92
 /CONTACT: Susan Henry, consumer liaison, Office of Consumer Advocate, 717-783-5048/ CO: Office of Consumer Advocate ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:


CD -- PG010 -- 8652 05/11/92 12:42 EDT
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Date:May 11, 1992
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