Daily Money Tip: Tips for filing a complaint over electric rates

Posted: March 25, 2014

Did you just get an electric bill that doubled or tripled?

You're in good company. Pennsylvania's attorney general is investigating why so many thousands of us have seen our energy bills skyrocket.

Yes, there was a polar vortex. But some also suspect price-gouging on the part of suppliers. Without warning, many a customer discovered his or her account had been switched to a variable rate from a cheaper fixed rate - in the middle of a winter so cold Gov. Corbett declared a state of emergency Feb. 5.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane has said price-gouging during a state of emergency is prohibited in Pennsylvania.

If your deregulated electric bill spiked suddenly, you can file a formal complaint. To get help, customers should submit any of the following documents: marketing materials, bills, contracts, terms and conditions, and sign-up/welcome letters.

If you have questions or concerns, call the Office of Attorney General's Consumer Protection Bureau at 800-441-2555 or Tanya McCloskey at the state Office of the Consumer Advocate at 800-684-6560. The Consumer Advocate's website is also helpful: www.oca.state.pa.us.

To file by e-mail, print, complete, and scan a consumer complaint form, available at www.attorneygeneral.gov (click on "Complaints"). Download and/or scan all relevant documents and send the completed form and documents to consumers@attorneygeneral.gov.

To file by mail, print and complete the consumer complaint form and send it and all relevant documents to: Office of Attorney General, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 15th Floor, Strawberry Square, Harrisburg, Pa. 17120.

You can fax the information to 717-705-3795 or 717-772-3560.

The business model for some of these electricity suppliers seems to be to charge the highest variable rate they can get away with until a customer calls to complain. They are now using the winter price spike as an excuse for that business model.

Have you been overcharged? Let us know!



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