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PUC Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Settlement with PPL Electric Over 2023 Billing Issues

PPL Electric didn’t send some customers bills, sent others inaccurate usage estimates, and failed at customer service.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) recently announced a period for public comment regarding a proposed settlement with PPL Electric Utilities (PPL). This development follows a series of consumer billing problems throughout 2023, including missing bills, inaccurate estimates, and poor customer service.

The proposed agreement, initiated by the PUC’s Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement along with PPL, involves PPL paying a $1 million civil penalty and absorbing more than $16 million in related costs.

The unanimous decision by the PUC to publish the settlement in the Pennsylvania Bulletin initiates a 25-day period for public feedback. Instructions on submitting public comment on the proposed settlement will be made available when it’s published in the Bulletin, the PUC says.

This move comes after PUC’s thorough investigation into PPL’s billing practices. Launched early in 2023, the investigation responded to numerous customer complaints about billing irregularities, such as erratic estimated bills, absence of monthly bills, and insufficient customer service, leaving many unable to resolve their billing issues.

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I&E’s investigation traced these problems back to December 2022, when PPL identified a failure in the transfer of customer meter data to their customer service system.

This technical glitch, compounded by human errors, led to incorrect and missing bills for numerous customers. Analysis showed that more than 260,000 estimated bills varied significantly from actual usage, with thousands of customers receiving estimates more than 50% off the mark.

More than 82,000 bills were affected by incorrect supply charges, adding to the confusion and frustration of PPL Electric customers.

The proposed settlement includes several corrective measures. PPL has already refunded about $1 million to customers overbilled during the estimated billing period. The utility has agreed to waive late payment fees, forgo certain recoveries, and absorb significant additional costs related to addressing these billing issues.

PUC says it needs public input in finalizing its decision on this matter. The Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate and Pennsylvania Office of Small Business Advocate will also review and comment on the proposed settlement, PUC says.

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