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Customers outraged after they say electric rates skyrocket

Published On: Feb 20 2014 05:06:28 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 21 2014 02:03:00 PM CST

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission says it's received hundreds and hundreds of complaints this year about high electric bills.

BARTONSVILLE, Pa. -

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission said it has received 750 informal complaints about high electric bills this year.

Now, it is looking into how companies present their agreements and rates. It will look into rules, policies and consumer education measures related to variable rate electric generation products.

69 News has heard from several people about their high bills and about one company in particular: Pennsylvania Gas and Electric.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission said Pennsylvania Gas and Electric is one of the top companies it gets complaints about.

Melissa Polesovsky, of Bartonsville, Monroe Co., is one unhappy customer after believing she agreed to a fixed rate of $.07 per kWh.

"I got a phone call one day being offered a lower rate through Pennsylvania Gas and Electric and I was told that rate was locked in, it would not change, it wasn't variable," she explained.

She said she has watched her bill gradually go up and then saw a large increase in her last bill, which was for more than $900.

"I don't have much time to check my bills every month so I wasn't really looking at the exact number until this month," she said. "I realized that my rate that was supposed to be $.07 is now at $.29."

Pennsylvania Gas and Electric CEO Doug Marcille told 69 News, "Pennsylvania Gas and Electric does not offer a fixed rate product to the mass market."

"There's been extreme weather events throughout the Upper Midwest and the Northeast and there's also been price spikes in the wholesale market for both electricity and natural gas," he added.

Polesovsky said she is certain she never agreed to a variable rate over the phone, but she admitted, "I don't always open my mail, I probably got the agreement, the envelope could still be sealed. I don't know."

"It's not a fine print situation. This is very clearly stated up front," Marcille said.

Polesovsky said she spoke to someone at PA Gas and Electric earlier this week and was offered a $248 refund.  She has not received the check yet.

A resource to learn about different providers and questions to ask when shopping around is papowerswitch.com.