Press Releases

PUC Approves Two Settlements with PPL that Include $471,000 in Monetary Penalties, Improved Customer Service Provisions




November 19, 2009

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today finalized two settlements with PPL Electric Utilities Inc. that include $471,000 in monetary penalties and contributions to low-income programs, as well as improvements to customer service procedures and training, ending two informal investigations into the company’s termination practices.

The Commission voted 5-0 to approve the settlements, which include provisions that prohibit the company from recovering the monetary penalties from ratepayers.

One settlement deals with the Aug. 8, 2008, termination of electric service to a residence in Lancaster, Lancaster County.  A fire destroyed the home on Aug. 9, 2008, killing Cynthia Glassman.  Although Pennsylvania State Police were unable to determine the fire’s cause, the PUC’s independent Prosecutory Staff began an informal investigation into PPL’s termination practices.

Commission Vice Chairman Tyrone J. Christy issued a statement.

If the issue had been litigated, Prosecutory Staff would have contended the company violated various portions of the state’s Public Utility Code and Commission regulations including provisions on termination notices, medical certificates, payment arrangements, restoration of service and dispute rights.  PPL would have contested the matters.

Under the settlement, the company agreed to:

  • Not terminate service to residential customers on Fridays before Jan. 1, 2013, without petitioning the PUC;
  • Contribute $400,000 to its Operation HELP program, which provides emergency financial aid to pay electric bills for low-income families;
  • Pay a civil penalty of $50,000;
  • Establish additional customer service procedures; and
  • Revise additional internal procedures to deal with terminations, medical certificates and disputes.

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The other settlement involves an April 9, 2008, termination of electric service to an apartment in Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County.  A fire destroyed the apartment and six other apartments on May 3, 2008.  Following the incident, the PUC’s independent Prosecutory Staff began an informal investigation into PPL’s termination practices.

Commission Vice Chairman Tyrone J. Christy issued a statement.

If the issue had been litigated, Prosecutory Staff would have contended the company violated various portions of the state’s Public Utility Code and Commission regulations including provisions on termination notices, medical certifications and dispute rights.  PPL would have contested the matters.

Under the settlement, the company agreed to:

  • Develop updated call scripts for customer service representatives and provide retraining;
  • Revise its procedures for customer service representatives receiving calls on terminations;
  • Contribute $20,000 to its Operation HELP program; and
  • Pay a civil penalty of $1,000.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities to ensure safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protect the public interest; educate consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; further economic development; and foster new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.

For recent news releases, audio of select Commission proceedings or more information about the PUC, visit our website at www.puc.state.pa.us.

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Docket Nos. M-2009-2058182 and M-2009-2059414

 

 



Contact:Jennifer Kocher
Press Secretary
717-787-5722
jekocher@pa.gov


Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission
Press Office
P.O. Box 3265, Harrisburg, PA 17105-3265
(717) 787-5722 FAX (717) 787-4193

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