Powelson told the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee that the PUC could ultimately revoke the licenses of abusive suppliers.
He blamed the tumult in competitive power markets largely on "a few bad actors that might not be in this marketplace when it's all said and done."
PUC spokeswoman Jennifer Kocher cautioned that the list does not reflect any PUC finding that a violation occurred. Nor does it distinguish if the complaint was for high bills, customer-service problems, or improper marketing practices.
It is also impossible to reliably gauge the percentage of each company's customers who complained, because a supplier's market share is not made public.
Ten suppliers account for 83 percent of the complaints filed with the PUC. The top nine are strictly energy marketing companies - they don't own power plants, but buy electricity on wholesale markets and resell it to retail customers.
IDT and PG&E denied through spokesmen that they were price-gouging. Both said they were buffeted by soaring wholesale electricity markets in January and February and passed their costs on to variable-rate customers. They said they have issued rebates totaling more than $5 million to customers who complained.
IDT urged policymakers to examine ways to stabilize wholesale prices.
"Clearly, the current power generation market structure has not been able to supply peak demand at reasonable prices and should be overhauled," the company said in a statement.
PG&E, which is a subsidiary of a company that operates in eight other states and the District of Columbia, last month issued a statement applauding the PUC's efforts to strengthen electric customer disclosure requirements and reduce the time it takes for consumers to change electricity suppliers.
TOP 10 TARGETS
Two electrical suppliers account for more than half of the 5,732 informal complaints the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission received from Feb. 1 through March 28.*
IDT Energy Inc. 1567
Pennsylvania Gas & Electric 1403
Respond Power 485
American Power & Gas of Pa. 319
Hiko Energy 318
American Power Partners 160
North American Power L.L.C. 160
Great American Power L.L.C. 149
Blue Pilot Energy 133
First Energy Solutions Corp. 91
*This list does not reflect any finding by the PUC of a violation. Nor does it distinguish if the complaint was for high bills, customer service difficulties, or improper marketing practices.
SOURCE: Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission