PA OCA Against PPL Billing Settlement

The PUC settlement with PPL over its billing system malfunction has not yet cleared the PA OCA. Learn why the agency opposes it.

Proposed PPL Billing Settlement Under Fire

The PPL billing error settlement is being opposed by the PA OCA. Learn how the settlement left out customer hardship in the process.
In spite the $17 million prices fine and penalties to PPL, the PA OCA opposes it. Learn why PPL customers are angry and why the settlement has come underfire.

Last December, 800,000 PPL customers received high utility bills. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) quickly launched an investigation into the PPL billing problems. As a result, the PUC reached a settlement with PPL to pay $17 million in fines and penalties. However, the PA Office of Consumer Advocate (OCA) asserts that the settlement leaves out customers. Right now, it’s unclear if another settlement may emerge that benefits all over PPL customers, And that includes those with an electricity provider. But, with a hot summer on the way, it’s important for PPL customers to see how it could affect their bills.

PPL Billing Fiasco

PPL has a history of billing system problems. In August 2021, the PUC fined PPL $5,000 failing to provide bills for consecutive months to multiple customers. In April 2022, a “data cleanup” mishap resulted in over 12,000 customers receiving bad bills.

This winter’s billing problems began when a software error stopped meter data from going to PPL. That caused a backup in normal billing. As a result, PPL sent out estimated bills that December. But over 800,000 of these bills were wildly inaccurate. Some customers got no bill at all between December 2022 and April 2023! At one point, PPL canceled and re-billed over 82,000 estimated bills with missing or wrong supply charges. This only caused more confusion.

Finally, the PUC investigation found customer service lines were backed up for months. Customers faced extremely long wait times. And 41% of customer calls to PPL were abandoned because they could not reach a representative.

Proposed PPL Settlement

As a result of this fiasco, PPL has agreed to a joint settlement with PUC investigators. In addition to a $1 million civil penalty, PPL must make several changes to their billing process. And PPL has voluntarily agreed to absorb the $16 million in costs related to fixing the billing issues. As a result the utility wouldn’t recover any of the $16 million from PPL customers.

PA OCA Wants More from PPL

Before the PUC can approve the settlement it must hold a public comment period. This ended on February 28 and between the public comments and the OCA review, it was scathing.

In its comments to the PUC, the OCA criticizes some of PPL’s actions during the billing malfunction. It says some actions were “the minimum necessary” to explain the problem to its customers. It says that while the Settlement also stresses how much PPL spent to fix the problem, the OCA counters that PPL’s expenses merely stemmed from the cost of doing business. In short, the OCA says the Settlement considers PPL’s troubles and inconvenience more than the harm caused to consumers.

As result, the OCA does not believe the Settlement ultimately helps PPL customers. To that end, they recommend that $500,000 to $750,000 from the $1 million penalty be directed to the PA Hardship Fund. And that PPL should be unable to claim any of it as a charitable deduction. That’s in addition to requiring PPL to complete a root cause analysis to determine where exactly things went wrong and how to prevent it in the future.

Save on Your PPL Electricity Bill

While there’s no set deadline for the PUC to decide on the settlement, they are meeting on March 14, 2024. Hopefully, the PUC will make a decision soon.

And in the meantime, high summer cooling costs are just months away. So, it’s time for you to find a trustworthy PA power provider. With an early spring in the air, electricity prices are falling but they won’t last. So shop now for a better rates! Be sure to read reviews and secure a new plan today at

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