PUC Modifies Settlement with PECO Energy Company Regarding Past Improper Electric Service Terminations
Published on 12/8/2022
Filed under: Electric
Increases Civil Penalty, PECO Contributions to Energy Assistance Fund After 48,536 Customers Improperly Terminated in 2018-19 by Call Center Vendor
HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today approved a modified settlement between PECO Energy Company (PECO) and the PUC’s independent Bureau of Investigation & Enforcement (I&E), following an informal investigation into the improper service termination for more than 48,500 electric customers between June 25, 2018, and Sept. 10, 2019, by a PECO Call Center Vendor.
The Commission voted 5-0 to modify a Joint Petition for Approval of Settlement (Joint Petition) filed on Jan. 7, 2022, by PECO and I&E – which agreed to PECO’s ongoing implementation of system safeguards, a significant civil penalty and company contributions to its Matching Energy Assistance Fund (MEAF).
After seeking public comment on the Joint Petition, the Commission today modified the Joint Petition to increase the civil penalty from $150,000 to $200,000, as well as increase PECO’s contribution to its Matching Energy Assistance Fund from $75,000 to $100,000 – which the Commission directed to be $20,000 donations to each of its five major MEAF agencies in southeastern Pennsylvania. Other terms and conditions previously agreed to in the Joint Petition remain unchanged, with the company agreeing to:
- Continue taking corrective actions and implementing revisions to its operating procedures which will act as safeguards against future termination issues.
- Contribute an additional $320,591.88 to its MEAF due to erroneously charged customer reconnection fees that PECO was unable to apply to customer accounts.
- Summarize and report the results of its regulatory noticing with the PUC’s Bureau of Consumer Services for a two-year period.
Today’s Opinion and Order gives PECO and I&E twenty (20) days during which either party may elect to withdraw from the Joint Petition, as modified by the Commission. If either or both chooses to withdraw, then the underlying settlement agreement contained in the Joint Petition is void, and the matter is referred to I&E for further action as warranted.
On June 25, 2018, PECO’s call center third-party vendor made a dialer platform change resulting in two separate computer errors that caused the improper service terminations.
PECO discovered the first error on Aug. 9, 2018, and suspended all service terminations. This error led to the termination of a large number of electric customers without those customers first receiving the required second 72-hour telephone call to either the customer or an adult occupant of the household at least three days, or 72 hours, prior to the scheduled termination.
PECO reported the incident to the Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Services (BCS) on Aug. 16, 2018, and BCS referred the matter for investigation to I&E. PECO resolved the first issue on Aug. 20, 2018.
On Sept. 10, 2019, PECO discovered a second error that led to the company’s termination of service for a large number of customers on a day different than that which was provided during the 72-hour telephone call. PECO again suspended all service terminations until Sept. 12, 2019, which was the date the second error was resolved.
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Docket No.: M-2021-3014286
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