PUC Finalizes $300,000 Settlement with PPL over Dauphin County Termination, Directs Money to Support Low-Income Program
Published on 3/26/2009
Filed under: Electric
HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today finalized a settlement with PPL Electric Corp. that includes a $300,000 contribution to a low-income program and ends an informal investigation into an electric service termination that preceded a fatal fire in Steelton, Dauphin County.
The Commission voted 5-0 to approve the settlement agreement, which includes a $300,000 contribution to PPL’s Operation Help, a fund that provides emergency financial aid to pay heating bills for families with financial hardships. Under the settlement, the company may not recover the contribution from ratepayers.
On Nov. 7, 2007, the PUC’s independent Prosecutory Staff initiated an informal investigation into PPL’s termination of electric service to the Ryan Donachy family of Steelton. PPL terminated service to the residence on Nov. 2, 2007. A fire at the home the following day was allegedly started by a lit candle that touched a wall. Two Donachy children died in the fire.
According to the settlement, the company also will:
- Develop updated call scripts and increase training for its customer service representatives;
- Establish procedures to assist customers seeking payment arrangements including information about medical certificates;
- Enhance procedures when they handle calls from customers whose service is terminated on Fridays; and
- Ensure compliance with the new corrective actions outlined in the settlement agreement.
If the matter had been litigated, Prosecutory Staff would have contended that PPL violated certain sections of the state’s Public Utility Code and the Commission’s regulations, while PPL would have contested the matter.
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 Web site at www.puc.state.pa.us.
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Docket No. M-2008-2057562
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