Pennsylvania Consumers File Complaint over Electricity Rates

Attorney General Kathleen Kane and Acting Consumer Advocate McCloskey have recently filed a complaint with the Public Utility Commissioner over what they believe amounts to deceptive and fraudulent consumer practices by private electric companies in Pennsylvania. Their joint complaint states that Energy Service Providers, such as Pennsylvania Gas & Electric, Blue Pilot Energy, Respond Power, IDT Energy Inc., and HIKO Energy purposefully and willfully deceived customers throughout Pennsylvania regarding their electricity rates. The result was enormous electricity bills throughout the winter for thousands of deceived Pennsylvania consumers.

Across Pennsylvania, thousands of consumers were hit with huge electricity rate hikes in January and February. The problem arose when these private suppliers promised competitive rates to customers who switched from PPL. Instead, they were charged a premium rate during the Polar Vortex that was not consistent with the actual cost of providing power to these customers. While consumers were promised lower than or equal rates to the Price to Compare-many saw the exact opposite.

While the Polar Vortex this winter did create a rising demand and spike in natural gas prices, some electric customers were charged double and even triple the Price to Compare. Many of these consumers even used less electricity in those months -yet their rates doubled.

During the first 6 months of the year, the Office of Attorney General received more than 42,000 calls and over 7,500 complaints regarding the unnatural electricity rate spike. The Office of Consumer Advocate also received more than 3,000 phone calls.

Currently, HIKO, IDT, and Respond are under investigation by the Public Utility Commission and Pennsylvania Gas & Electric may be next. The complaint filed by the Attorney General calls for suspension or revocation of the licenses of those electricity providers, restitution, and civil penalties for their misconduct.

The Attorney General is authorized by the Consumer Protection Laws to protect the consumers in Pennsylvania from unfair methods of competition, as well as unfair or deceptive practices. As such, the formal complaint was filed citing 7 specific counts.

  1. Misleading and deceptive promises of savings
  2. Misleading and deceptive welcome letters and advertisements
  3. Slamming
  4. Lack of good faith handling of complaints
  5. Failing to provide accurate pricing information
  6. Prices nonconforming to disclosure statement
  7. Failure to comply with telemarketer registration act

Protect your rights as a consumer by calling us at Golomb & Honik, P.C. at (215) 278-4449.