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How Bad Are PA Utility Shut Offs Really?When the COVID-19 crisis hit in March, 2020, the PA PUC enacted an emergency order to prevent utilities from shutting off customers for not paying. The state's utilities also announced how they would help customers set up payment plans to get through the hardship. Beginning April 1, 2021, utilities resumed shutting off customers who had not paid their bills. Because many customers had lost jobs and income, many expected a deluge of shut offs. But, according to reports from PECO and the PA PUC, there was no "tidal wave" of shut offs. Since April 1, the utilities have shut off service to 116,000 PA electricity customers for not paying. Yes, that certainly is a lot of people losing their electrical service. But, PA's utilities report shutting off non-paying customers at a slower rate than they did in 2019.
- According to account reports filed with the PUC, PECO turned off power to 25,088 residential customers in April 2021. While that sounds drastic, PECO shut off more residential customers, a total of 39,515, in 2019. Also, twice the number of commercial and industrial customers faced shut offs for nonpayment in 2019 versus those in 2021.
- First Energy Utilities (Met Ed, PenElec, Pen Power, and West Penn Power ) also reported more customers risked shut offs in 2020 than in 2021.
- UGI reported much the same with 71,219 of its energy customers at risk in April, 2019, but only 56,720 in April, 2021.
- PPL reported that in April 2019 a total of 109,161 residential accounts faced shut offs. However, in April 2021, 111,751 residential accounts were in trouble; PPL disconnected only 266.