PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Last Monday, KDKA told you about the Johnsons whose electricity supplier without notice tripled their electric bill to $739.
That prompted lots of emails to KDKA, like one from Eva Mae Byers and her daughter Nancy who got an unimaginable bill.READ MORE: Man Dies After Falling From Roof Of Building On South Park Fairground
“I was highly shocked,” Byers told KDKA money editor Jon Delano. “I kept saying, ‘This is impossible. This is impossible.’”
Instead of the $399 charge she got last year for the same month, her new bill was over $2,000.
Delano: “Could you pay a bill like this on Social Security?”
Byers: “Oh, absolutely not. No way. I can barely make my payments on Social Security. No.”
Her daughter Nancy tried to call the supplier, IDT Energy, at 9 a.m. Friday morning.
“I was caller number 76,” she said. “I was bound and determined to stay on the line until I got through to them. At 9:31, I was down to caller number 59, and I got disconnected.”
While the cold month prompted a 50 percent increase in electricity for the Byers’ modest home in Claysville, IDT jacked the bill 500 percent.READ MORE: Jury Reaches Verdict In Trial Of Sheldon Jeter, Accused In Fatal Shooting Of His Friend Tyric Pugh
With outrageous bills like this and consumers essentially up the creek, the real question is what is the PUC going to do about it and how about our state legislators?
“Being dropped off and not having an opportunity to speak to anybody, there’s a problem there, and if we can’t rectify that problem, those people shouldn’t be able to do business in Pennsylvania,” says Pa. Rep. Rob Matzie, a member of the House Consumer Affairs Committee.
Matzie says the PUC should require suppliers to give notice of rate hikes.
“They should be warned, a week, five days whatever,” adds Matzie.
And then allow consumers to switch to lower priced suppliers instantly.
The PUC says it is investigating companies — and will revoke licenses of those not following proper marketing practices.
Electricity Rates Triple For Some Area Customers (2/17/14)
PUC To Investigate Rising Electricity Rates For Some Consumers (2/20/14)
More Reports by Jon Delano