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Press Release

PUC OKs settlement with PPL over Winter Terminations

Published on 6/22/2006

Filed under: Electric

Terms Include $175,000 to Help Low-Income Families

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today issued for public comment a settlement with PPL Electric Utilities Corp. that ends an informal investigation into violations of rules governing winter terminations and includes a $175,000 contribution by the company to its Operation Help program.

“Beyond a financial settlement to help low-income families, PPL has implemented change in its business practices to ensure consumers know their rights and wrongful terminations are avoided,” said Commission Chairman Wendell F. Holland. “With this settlement we are continuing our commitment to help those who need it most while reinforcing to electric, natural gas and water utilities that we are carefully monitoring their actions under the Chapter 14 termination rules.”

The Commission voted 5-0 to accept comments the settlement agreement, which includes the $175,000 contribution to the company’s Operation Help program and an agreement to implement changes in its business practices, particularly those related to service terminations. Interested parties have until July 12 to file comments with the Commission.

Operation Help provides emergency financial aid to pay heating bills for families with financial hardships. Operation Help is funded by the company, its customers and employees and is administered by a network of local agencies. The settlement also provides that the penalty will be paid by the utility and will not be recovered in rates paid by customers.

The Settlement Agreement, reached between the PUC’s independent Prosecutory Staff and PPL, followed an informal investigation into the utility’s termination practices during March 2005. According to the PUC’s Prosecutory Staff, PPL violated provisions of the Chapter 14 of the Public Utility Code by:

  • Terminating about 540 customers in the winter months without income information;
  • Failing to deliver a 48-hour shut off notice to eight customers during the winter termination process;
  • Failing to reconnect service of 36 customers within 24 hours of their claim that their income was at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level; and
  • Assessing a $15 reconnection fee to low-income customers.

PPL denies those assertations.

Chapter 14 was passed by the General Assembly as Senate Bill 677 and signed into law as Act 201 of 2004.  Chapter 14 seeks to eliminate the opportunities for customers capable of paying to avoid paying their utility bills, and to provide utilities with the means to reduce their uncollectible accounts.  The law changed the way regulated electric, water and major natural gas utilities handle cash deposits; reconnection of service; termination of service; payment arrangements; and the filing of termination complaints by residential customers.  

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission ensures safe, reliable and reasonably priced electric, natural gas, water, telephone and transportation service for Pennsylvania consumers, by regulating public utilities and by serving as responsible stewards of competition. For recent news releases, or more information about the PUC, visit our website at

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Docket No: M-00061942




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