Submitted by StupiderIdjit t3_11y16f9 in Pennsylvania

When my bill first doubled, I thought it was the rate hike. After looking at my bill more and more, I noticed that our electric usage was through the roof. 1800 kWh per month sometimes for a two bedroom townhouse with central air. 1400 kWh is normal for a 1400 sqft house. They've blown us off every call. I thought maybe my landlord had a grow house in the attic space or something.

Nope! Just PPL just outright stealing again.



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rastro111 t1_jd5zt1p wrote

Oh i totally trust the Pennsylvania PUC when they allow predatory energy marketing companies to go door to door exploiting the most vulnerable people in the state with high pressure sales tactics


ronreadingpa t1_jd7vcjp wrote

Worse, if there's a billing issue, the most the PUC generally will do is say work it out with the 3rd party supplier, such as setting up a payment plan. And to switch to another 3rd party supplier or switch back to one's utility in the meantime.

From a consumer protection aspect, one is safest with their utility as default supplier. Soon as one switches away, they lose various protections. Suppliers have much leeway in what they can get away with. Buyer beware!

Door-to-door salespeople, which in my view, are mostly scammers, can get away with shady tactics since the written contract controls. PUC will essentially reiterate this. Likewise for buying other products and services, such as solar panel systems.

Way off on a tangent, but it's disturbing how something so basic has been made so complicated and full of pitfalls. Electric choice makes sense for businesses, but not most residential consumers. Should have never been a thing.

As Texas illustrates though, don't expect much change. PUC likely won't do much beyond remind people to be careful who they talk with and read the contract before agreeing.

PUC should do more, but as many have mentioned, they're presumably bought and controlled by the utilities. Maybe that's not so, but sure seems that way.


ewyorksockexchange t1_jdavv6k wrote

Yeah that’s not a PUC issue. The legislature and governor Corbett deregulated energy providers and the hellscape of shady energy providers now is the legacy of that, enshrined in statute. The PUC can’t regulate that market beyond what their mandate is, which at this point is basically nonexistent.


StupiderIdjit OP t1_jd5ro3i wrote

Yo, check your usage now, guys:

Jenn and Patrick Eldridge also reached out to us about the issue. They own several rental properties in the Williamsport area. For some of those properties, the usage went from 0-1 kilowatts to 1100. 

"I believe five of the eight that we disputed were actually vacant properties," Jenn said. "And the usage that they were claiming that we used was not just inaccurate, but impossible."


Pink_Slyvie t1_jd5vzb6 wrote

It honestly makes me want to splurge and install one of those meters that tracks everything.


macaroniandmilk t1_jd6eg3w wrote

My bill literally doubled too, we live in a small 2 bedroom apartment and it went from $40ish to $80ish over one bill. I don't have any of my old paper bills, but I want to at least look at my old online statements to see what they look like. I know rates were set to go up, but literally double...? And it's not even air conditioner season yet.


StupiderIdjit OP t1_jd7pgp7 wrote

Rates are one thing. This is them charging people for electric that isn't even being used.


macaroniandmilk t1_jd8602d wrote

That's what I am concerned with, I know the rate was supposed to go up. But I can't be sure they're not also charging me for electricity I'm not using, just because it seems like such a hike.


fuckit5555553 t1_jd6166o wrote

Probably looking for a way to fine them. But you won’t see any of it.


[deleted] t1_jd7pn9t wrote



pa_bourbon t1_jdb5thy wrote

Electric rates spiked dramatically in the last year. PA generates a lot of electricity with natural gas. Natural gas prices spiked due to the war in Ukraine. It’s a global market.

Natural gas has plunged recently. A downward adjustment is coming. If you have your distribution utility as your supplier, by PUC regulation they make no money on the commodity. It’s a straight pass thru at the cost they pay the generator.


[deleted] t1_jdc8sva wrote



pa_bourbon t1_jdc9p1p wrote

That’s not how power works. You really don’t know where your electricity is generated.


[deleted] t1_jdccphn wrote



pa_bourbon t1_jdcfbsb wrote

That’s not how they price the commodity though. It’s a bundle price based on the average of all sources of generation that are purchased by a given distribution company.

You don’t consciously choose the plant that generates your power. The distribution utility buys from one to many sources to keep the grid fed with power based on demand. Plants like nuclear power plants provide the stable base load in most cases. Some gas and even coal plants do the same in some areas. More gas and coal plants are fired up as “peaking plants” as demand rises and falls throughout the day.

The price you pay is based on the average of all sources used by your distribution company and is regulated by the PUC. The distribution company makes no money on the electricity it purchases by PUC regulation. It’s a straight pass through. The monthly flat rate customer charge and the other distribution charges on the bill cover their costs and generate their profit. The profit is also regulated by the PUC as part of the rate making process.

The only way to sort of get close to picking your generating source is to buy from a “green” supplier. But even many of these turn out to be scams.


StupiderIdjit OP t1_jd7qlbz wrote

They said I used 1800 kWh Feb '22. I live in an 800 sqft apartment. A year later, Feb 2023, I used half as much and paid more. To which the person on the phone replied, "See? Everything's fine. Your usage is down from last year (but still very high)." which I replied, "Now I think you've just been ripping me off for more than a year."


ronreadingpa t1_jd7tn6l wrote

PPL's default supply rate has about doubled since last year. Distribution also increased plus a new 5% system improvement charge on top of that.

I've been harping on PPL's steep default supply rate increases for a while. More to the point, I believe PPL's related companies and/or insiders are profiting by shifting customers to suppliers they have an interest in. Doubt the PUC will investigate it on their own, but hoping someone else does.

As for the usage part, could be related to the billing problems they had. Alternatively, could be due to circuits outside of your unit (outside lights, misc outlets, another unit, etc) being connected to your meter. Not overly common, but does happen. PPL may be able to provide historical data, but will mostly need to rely on the landlord for assistance and/or have an electrician to check it out.

Or the meter itself could be programmed wrong and multiplying the actual usage by some incorrect factor. In such an instance would be off by 10X or 100X, but lower multiplier is possible. Ask PPL to send someone out to verify the meter is set up correctly and functioning properly.

In short, many PPL bills with them as the default supplier have roughly doubled since last year due to the rate increases alone.


pa_bourbon t1_jdb5zd1 wrote

Rates spiked due to the dramatic increase in natural gas prices globally (Ukraine-Russia war). We generate a lot of electricity from natural gas.


Kristin2349 t1_jdc93ae wrote

The PUC mandates that utilities negotiate for their default rate at times that were pre-set by each utility. PPL does so every 6 months, MetEd/First Energy does so quarterly. It is done by closed bid. PPL doesn’t shift customers to suppliers the PUC won’t allow it even when doing so would demonstrably save the consumer money. If you are using PPL as your default supplier you ignored their many warnings last year that rates were set to increase and to lock in a new rate. You can get as low as 9cents per Kwh shopping your rate.


PainBri315 t1_jd9xr1e wrote

I miss my local puc rep who’d come into our railyard & walk tracks with us and was just cool. I wonder if they’re all like him.


eltruteht t1_jd972aq wrote

Mandating more “green” will certainly impact our bills


StupiderIdjit OP t1_jd9bbgr wrote

"Green energy will make our bills go up!" No green energy, bills go up anyway. "But at least it wasn't solar power!"