HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today approved a settlement agreement ordering Public Power LLC (Public Power) to pay a $72,500 civil penalty and to provide refunds to customers who were overbilled between January and April 2014. Today’s action resolves an informal investigation into Public Power’s marketing and billing practices.
The Commission voted 4-0 to approve the settlement agreement reached by the PUC’s independent Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement (I&E) and Public Power.
On Sept. 9, 2014, I&E initiated an informal investigation into allegations that Public Power may have violated provisions of Commission regulations concerning electric generation supplier marketing and sales practices. Through its investigation, I&E determined that from January to April 2014, there were a total of 119 instances in which Public Power did not honor a “15% Price Protection Plan” for variable-rate customers, resulting in overbilling. Fifty customers were affected in the electric service territories of Duquesne Light Company, PECO Energy Company and PPL Electric Utilities Corporation.
The terms of the settlement agreement include:
Public Power will pay a civil penalty of $72,500;
Public Power agreed to provide refunds to all 50 customers for 119 instances of overbilling, totaling $6,558.21, which was completed in November 2014;
Public Power agreed to amend its operating procedures, which will act as safeguards against erroneous billing, which it has already completed; and
As a result of Public Power’s compliance with the actions above, I&E agrees not to institute a Formal Complaint related to the matter.
I&E is the independent enforcement arm of the PUC. To satisfy due process of law under the Pennsylvania Constitution, separation is required between staff involved in investigatory and prosecutory functions and the Commissioners involved in decision making. As a result, the Commissioners are able to examine each case with an unbiased perspective.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.
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Docket No. M-2015-2439492