The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) recently clarified various portions of its implementation of Chapter 23 of Act 13 of 2012, which provides for the imposition of an unconventional gas well fee.
The Commission voted 5-0 to provide further clarification on issues such as whether setting conductor pipe triggers the impact fee; how impact fees will be assessed to wells that are reclassified from horizontal to vertical; and when the impact fee ceases after a well is plugged.
Additionally, the Commission clarified that budget reports from local governments receiving impact fee monies are due March 1 of each year. Generally, the annual budget report will reflect a municipality’s final approved for the prior fiscal year. However, for the upcoming year’s deadline, March 1, 2013, the municipal budget reports for both 2011 and 2012 must be filed with the Commission. In subsequent years, only the prior year’s final approved budget report will be due. For example, the municipal budget report for 2013 will be due on or before March 1, 2014.
On Feb. 14, 2012, Governor Corbett signed into law Act 13 of 2012, the Unconventional Gas Well Impact Fee Act, which amended Title 58 (Oil and Gas) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. The PUC is responsible for implementing the provisions contained in Chapters 23 and 33 of the Act. Chapter 23 provides for the imposition, collection and distribution of an unconventional gas well fee (also called a drilling impact fee). Chapter 33 governs local ordinances that impose conditions, requirements or limitations on oil or gas operations. The PUC has created a page on its website for Act 13 information.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities to ensure safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protect the public interest; educate consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; further economic development; and foster new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner. For recent news releases, video and audio of select Commission proceedings or more information about the PUC, visit our website at http://www.puc.pa.gov/.