Consumer and Business
- Red Cross releases new app to give donors new experience
- Peanut, almond butters recalled due to salmoella fears
- Gas-drilling health complaint process enhanced
- Bellefonte restaurant to make national TV debut in September
- Good corn crop could mean lower prices at grocery stores
- PLCB urged to boost markup on wine, liquor prices
- Facebook color change app is a virus
- FirstEnergy's Pa. utilities request rate increases
- Farmers, governor talk pension reform and property taxes
- California firm issues nationwide fruit recall
- Feds pick Sun Air to fly from Blair Co. airport
- Russia's Severstal selling US plants for $2.3B
- 6 local airports receiving funding
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- State-owned schools see 3 percent tuition jump
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- Penelec bills to rise about 12 percent in June
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- Michaels confirms breach of as many as 2.6M cards
- Distillery bringing moonshine to Jefferson Co.
- High number of complaints recorded by Pa. officials
- High electric bill complaints continue to grow
- Utility company warns of scammers in Blair County
- Variable-rates to blame for high electric bills
- Summer flights to begin between State College and Atlanta
- Better Business Bureau warns of 'One Ring' Scam
- LIHEAP offering help with heating bills
Variable-rates to blame for high electric bills
Updated: Friday, February 21 2014, 11:30 PM EST
Spiking electri bills to be reviewed by Pa regulators
By Jackalyn Kovac and The Associated Press
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. -- Hundreds of people across the state opened up their electric bill to find themselves owing hundreds more than before.
"I'm really frustrated. This is crazy. I don't know how people can survive making $500 payments to the electric company every month," said Brandon Hill.
Hill owed more than $700. Normally, he wouldn't have the funds to cover that cost, fortunately his received his income tax refund early.
"It's just rough with [my girlfriend] being on maternity leave for six weeks, and mine being the only income. Having a bill that's almost $1000, thats insane," said Hill.
Pennsylvania utility regulators said they will look into complaints about spiking electric bills, saying the affected people had signed variable-rate contracts with suppliers that then passed on wholesale prices driven up by cold weather.
"Basically I was blown away, to have that type of increase it's almost triple what I normally was used to paying," said Eric Pile. "For it to go from $.09 to $.20, it's ridiculous."
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission voted unanimously on Thursday to review the policies and rules around what regulators call electric generation suppliers that buy and sell electricity.
The utility commission doesn't regulate their rates, but it does regulate their conduct and marketing practices.
It says it's received more than 750 informal complaints from consumers about high bills.
The complaints arrive as policymakers in Harrisburg consider legislation that would bring more business to the suppliers by auctioning off the accounts of millions of Pennsylvania households that are still served by traditional utilities. The AARP opposes the bill.