§ 19-2001.  Legislative Findings.
   City Council hereby finds that:
   (1)   Of the 159,000 Philadelphia households which include senior citizens, approximately 127,000 of these households use natural gas for heating; and
   (2)   The vast majority of Philadelphia's senior citizens have difficulty affording the basic necessities of life, and almost thirty percent (30%) of Philadelphia's senior citizens have incomes which are at or below one hundred fifty percent (150%) FPL (Federal Poverty Level), a universally recognized standard of acute energy assistance need; and
   (3)   Ninety-seven thousand (97,000) Philadelphia senior citizens, almost one half of Philadelphia's senior citizens population, have a disability, and are therefore more vulnerable to harm caused by insufficient heat or lack of heat caused by natural gas service terminations; and
   (4)   Even those senior citizens who are not disabled are more vulnerable than most other adult customers to hypothermia and other physical harms caused by insufficient heat or lack of heat caused by natural gas service terminations; and
   (5)   Ninety-three percent (93%) of PGW senior citizen customers are heating customers; and
   (6)   Approximately one third of Philadelphia's senior citizen customers live alone, and run the health risks associated with isolation; and
   (7)   Pursuant to an Ordinance of City Council approved December 14, 1973 (Bill No. 1021)("1973 Ordinance") the City of Philadelphia has for approximately thirty years provided for a twenty percent (20%) senior citizen discount for PGW customers aged 65 and older who wish to apply for the benefit; and
   (8)   PGW estimates that its Senior Citizen Discount program provides benefits of approximately twenty million dollars ($20,000,000) per year to 80,000 seniors by reducing the cost of natural gas service that since 2000 has increased by approximately forty percent (40%); and
   (9)   While 127,000 Philadelphia households receiving gas service include a Senior Citizen, only 80,000 have chosen to apply for the Senior Citizen Discount program, demonstrating that PGW's SCD program is utilized on the basis of perceived necessity, is not subject to substantial abuse, and does not need to be means tested; and
   (10)   For over 30 years, younger PGW customers have supported through their gas rates a twenty percent (20%) Senior Citizen Discount, with the justifiable expectation that they would receive the same discount when they reached age 65; and
   (11)   Senior Citizen Discounts are common for public utilities that are publicly owned by municipalities or other such public authorities, and have been recognized by courts to be just and reasonable; and
   (12)   The Natural Gas Choice and Competition Act, at 66 Pa. C.S. § 2212(r), has recognized City Council's power to create a Senior Citizen Discount Program, subject to review by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission; and
   (13)   In light of Section 2212(r) of the Natural Gas Choice and Competition Act, it is appropriate at this time that this Council reaffirm its establishment of a Senior Citizen Discount for PGW customers as authorized initially in its Ordinance of December 14, 1973;
   (14)   As stated in Bill No. 030123, introduced by the President of City Council on February 27, 2003, "to continue the senior citizen discount under its existing terms … would be in the best interests of the health, safety and welfare of the residents of Philadelphia."