PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A hearing in Harrisburg of the House Consumer Affairs Committee brought strong words from legislators on winter electricity price hikes that plagued thousands in this region.

“Every socio-economic level, every education level have been preyed upon by some of these bad actors, some of these bad companies who use telemarketing and odd tactics to try to get people in their system on these variable rates,” said Pa. Rep. Rob Kauffmann, of Cumberland County.

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KDKA-TV was the first to report the doubling, tripling and quadrupling of electricity bills.

On Thursday, state legislators confronted government regulators and industry leaders, including Public Utility Commission Chairman Rob Powelson.

“Chairman Powelson, I understand that, and I think Chairman Godshall really hit the nail on the head. You said all hands were at this meeting with consumer affairs and the attorney general. We weren’t there, and I think we need to be there, both the House and the Senate,” aid Pa. Rep. Peter Daley, of Canonsburg.

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“What bothers me is having some of these companies target my low-income residents,” said Pa. Rep. Patty Kim, of Dauphin County.

Lawmakers are considering bills to require electricity supply companies to give notice of rate hikes and enable consumers to switch utilities without waiting up to a month, as current rules allow.

But they admit whatever changes are made will affect future price hikes and not today’s consumers who have already been burned.

PUC Chair Warns Suppliers, While Defending Electricity Rate Hikes (2/24/14)
One Electricity Supplier Offers Relief To Customers (2/26/14)
More Reports by Jon Delano

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