PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Jenny Foriska of Elizabeth is typical of many consumers on variable rate plans under Pennsylvania’s choice plan.
Her electricity supplier bill jumped from $142 to over a $1,000 last month.
“Very shocked. The amount of it was outrageous,” she told KDKA money editor Jon Delano.
Because of the cold weather, her usage doubled, but her rate, usually $.07 a kilowatt hour, zoomed up to nearly $.25.
So she called her supplier – IDT Energy — and was put on hold — and held — and held.
You get one of these outrageous bills from your electricity supplier. That’s bad enough. And then you try to call them. KDKA has heard from customers who say they’ve been put on hold for hours.
Foriska was one of them.
After more than an hour, she had to hang up.
“Kind of frustrated. I have two kids, trying to run after them and not getting disconnected,” Foriska noted.
“I apologize for that.”
Wayne Stoughton of IDT apologizes, saying the IDT call center has been overwhelmed, 10 times normal levels.
“Typically we get 300 or 400 calls a day, maybe 500 at most,” Stoughton told KDKA’s Jon Delano.
“One day last week we had 5,100 calls into my call center. We can’t get to everybody that quickly,” he added.
Stoughton says IDT is offering what he calls a good will credit “to show them that we’re not this horrible company that is price-gouging.”
And that credit can be substantial.
Stoughton, who has taken calls himself, says, “Here’s what I’ll do for you. You’ve got a thousand dollar bill that’s normally 300 bucks. I’ll give you $600 back.”
While IDT adds more people to their call center, it encourages customers to use their email address.
That’s what Foriska did, and she’s hopeful.
Delano: “Have you heard from anyone yet?”
Foriska: “No, no.”