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PPL explains reasoning behind some sky high customer bills

The utility company is asking customers to pay the estimated amount, and the difference will be reconciled in their next bill.

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — “I don’t have $600 a month to spend on electricity.”

One PPL customer in Cumberland County, who didn't want to use her name, told FOX43 she was shocked after getting her latest bill, which was over $200 more than her previous one.

“It says our usage went up a ton, but we haven’t been doing anything different," she said. “Even in the winter months, our highest is usually like $350. Last month it was like $370 and this month it jumped to $562. My sister opened it and was like, 'Oh my goodness!'”

Electricity rates have gone up this year for a lot of consumers.

"Recent price spikes and ongoing fluctuations in wholesale energy prices coupled with increased cold weather energy usage have driven up monthly utility bills for many Pennsylvanians," said Gladys Brown Dutrieuille, chairman of the Pennsylvania Utility Commission.

But PPL tells FOX43 there was a technical issue that made customer meter data temporarily unavailable in the system which generates bills and displays customer usage data.

This is the full statement from the company:

"While data from customer meters was being gathered as usual, a technical system issue made the data temporarily unavailable in the systems that generate bills and display customer usage data. In situations such as these, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) provides guidelines whereby a utility can bill using estimated usage data.

Some of our customers received estimated bills with a January or February 2023 due date. These estimated bills were based on the customer’s historic electricity use. We ask that customers pay the estimated bill amount, as any difference between the estimated bills and actual usage will be reconciled when the next bill is issued.

We resolved the issue and began generating bills with amounts due that reflect customers’ actual electricity use. We expect customer usage data, including the historical usage, will be available on the self-service portion of our website tomorrow if not sooner.

As always, we are here to help and offer a variety of options – including budget billing, assistance programs, and payment plans – for customers who need help paying their bills. For complete information on those programs, visit pplelectric.com/billhelp."

Customers say they’ve been trying to get ahold of PPL to figure out if their bill is impacted or not, but haven’t had any luck.

“The waits have been like 150 minutes, and with work, we just can’t sit on the phone like that," said the customer from Cumberland County.

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