The Boyertown Area Times
PPL fixes issue that caused billing errors
PPL says it has fixed the issue that caused some customers to receive monthly bills shockingly higher than average and will waive late fees for January and February.
In a letter to customers, the utility also said it won’t shut off power to residential and small-business customers for nonpayment through March 31.
PPL said while gathering data from customer meters, an unspecified “technical system issue” made the data temporarily unavailable in generating and displaying customer usage.
That led to the excessively high estimated bills for thousands of customers, rather than bills based on actual usage. The issue involved bills sent from Dec. 20 through Jan. 9.
“Estimates based on historical usage may have been higher or lower than actual usage,” the letter says. “If this impacted you, you have either already received a corrected bill with actual usage or an adjustment on your next monthly bill to ensure you only pay for the electricity you used.”
More service agents are being added to reduce to the long wait times for customers who have called to inquire about billing.
“We continue to offer payment plans and assistance programs that can help if you are struggling to pay your electric bill,” the letter says. “This includes self-service options that are available to you online at pplelectric. com/billhelp or by calling 1-800-DIAL-PPL.”
State Consumer Advocate Patrick Cicero, whose office spoke with PPL officials, said more than 795,000 customers were affected.
The higher bills came at a time when higher generation supply prices have increased most customers’ bills. PPL’s most recent spike, which took effect Dec. 1, raised its rate to 14.61 cents per kilowatthour, up from 12.36 cents.
The 18% increase added about $22 per month to the typical residential customer’s bill, according to the company.
This is not the first time PPL has run afoul of a billing matter. After about 12,000 customers got wrong bills last spring, and the company blamed the mix-up on a data cleanup of mailing addresses.
And the PUC approved a settlement in August 2021 after PPL improperly billed five residential customers during 2017 and 2018. PPL agreed to pay a $5,000 civil penalty and provide better procedures in its billing practices.
PPL, which delivers electricity to 1.4 million customers in 29 counties, including parts of Berks County much of the Lehigh Valley, is a subsidiary of PPL Corp. It also provides electricity and natural gas to more than 3.5 million customers in three other states: Kentucky, Rhode Island and Virginia.