Complaints Are Lodged Against Pe

Posted: February 06, 1986

Philadelphia Electric Co. could face fines totaling $216,000 because of complaints that the company violated state rules on customer service, the Public Utility Commission's consumer-service bureau said yesterday.

The PUC's consumer-service bureau has charged PE with 216 violations involving meter readings, billing and shutoffs of electric or gas service to homes, according to Kevin Cadden, a supervisor with the division.

The bureau is to present its complaint to the three-member PUC this morning. If the commission accepts the complaint, PE either may pay fines of $1,000 per complaint or defend itself at formal hearings before an administrative law judge.

"Many of the counts allege that PE failed to furnish adequate notice of termination to customers with unpaid bills or that the company improperly shut off service to ratepayers who had disputes over their bills pending before the PUC," the consumer bureau said in a statement.

"Other violations include PE's alleged failure to read meters and send bills at prescribed intervals, or to explain large 'make-up' bills that resulted from prior underbillings.

"Most of the alleged violations were committed by PE's electric division, but some are attributed to the natural-gas division. All occurred within the past 2 1/2 years," the statement said.

"You're entitled to get a bill once a month," added Cadden. "If they send you a make-up bill, they have to explain it."

Cadden said the bureau would not release details of the complaints until the commission accepted them officially. He said the bureau typically received about 30,000 complaints a year across the state, and usually attempted to work out problems with individual utilities before taking formal action. He said this was the first time PE had been cited for customer-service practices.

A PE spokesman said the company would withhold comment until the

commission acted.

PE supplies electricity to 1.3 million customers in Philadelphia and in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and York Counties. The company's gas service is limited to suburban counties, where it has about 306,000 customers.

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