In December 1996, Pennsylvania enacted the Electricity Generation Customer Choice and Competition Act (Customer Choice Act) to restructure the electric industry in the Commonwealth. Pennsylvania electric utilities submitted their restructuring plans to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) and hearings were conducted. Several Pennsylvania utilities (West Penn Power, PECO, PPL, and GPU) established sustainable energy funds as part of their settlement process. On November 19, 1998, the PUC granted final approval to the West Penn restructuring plan, which included the provision to establish the West Penn Power sustainable energy fund (WPPSEF) to promote the adoption of clean energy technologies throughout their service region.
On May 21, 1999, the PUC approved the WPPSEF Board of Directors. The Board of Directors was comprised of representatives from West Penn industrials, environmental, consumer, and the renewable/cleaner energy industry groups. The Fund was incorporated as a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization and its by-laws were approved on June 2, 2000. The WPPSEF selected The Economic Growth Connection of Westmoreland (EGC) to be its central repository for Fund records, to render financial disbursement for the Fund, and to perform financial due diligence on incoming funding requests. In December 2000, the WPPSEF Board selected The Energy Institute of Penn State University as the Fund Administrator. Penn State has teamed with Energetics, Inc. to broaden its technical and business capabilities. The Fund selected PNC Bank to manage the non-invested assets.