PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Last February, Jenette and Adam Johnson of Uniontown were the first of many to contact KDKA-TV about skyrocketing electricity rates.
“I switched to IDT and everything was good for close to two years, and then we got this bill,” Adam Johnson told KDKA money editor Jon Delano last winter.
That bill was double the normal rate.
“This is price gouging,” Johnson declared at the time.
Turns out, lots of others were hard hit like Eva Mae Byers of Avella who got this $2,000 electric bill.
Delano: “Could you pay a bill like this on social security?”
Byers: “Oh, absolutely not. No way.”
After hearing from lots of customers and KDKA-TV, one supplier — IDT — has been making what they call “good will refunds.”
“Our total amount that we’ve given back, to help them through this volatile period that we’ve all experienced, is about $4.5 million to date, with just under four million being Pennsylvania customers,” says Wayne Stoughton, IDT’s vice president.
Stoughton says $4 million have been sent to Pennsylvania customers who contacted them, including Michael Dixon of McDonald who was surprised to get a $200 check.
“It was actually a little more than I expected. I didn’t expect anything going into it,” says Dixon.
With rates going up June 1 at other major utilities, IDT hopes to undercut the competition with a new fixed rate contract.
“We’re responding to our customers, trying to lock a number down for the next 12 months,” adds Stoughton.
Even though IDT now says they’ll offer fixed rate contracts at lower rates than West Penn Power and Duquesne Light, some former customers say, no way.
Jenette Johnson is grateful for her IDT refund of $660, but notes, “I don’t care what they offer any more at this time. My business is done with IDT.”
Stoughton says he understands but hopes others will compare prices.