WASHINGTON - The Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors-National Association (PHCC) has arranged for a representative of PHCC to speak at a May 4 hearing on unfair utility competition to be conducted by the House Committee on Small Business.

Representing PHCC will be Hugh Kelleher, executive director of the PHCC of Greater Boston. Kelleher has been involved in several situations where utilities have engaged in unfair business practices, says PHCC. He has been active on the state level in seeking legislation to address the fair competition issue.

Rep. Don Manzullo (R-Ill.), chairman of the House Committee on Small Business, has recently expressed concern regarding utilities that use their monopoly power to their advantage against small businesses, such as plumbing-heating-cooling contractors. Utilities have subsidized entrance into other businesses, including the types of work performed by contractors such as installation and servicing of appliances. In some cases, utilities have sought rate increases to cover the costs of product give-aways and have offered warranties and other programs that directly compete with contractor offerings.

Publication date: 04/25/2005