EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — A “technical issue” at PPL Electric Utilities caused some customers to see bills much higher than they are used to paying, in fact, they have skyrocketed.

A PPL spokesperson tells Eyewitness News a technical issue caused customers’ bills from December 20 through January 9 to be estimated based on their historical use.

PPL officials say the issue has been corrected and that customers’ bills have been adjusted, but a technical issue led to higher-than-normal bills for many customers. Some customers Eyewitness News spoke with are downright angry and concerned about how they are going to pay their bills. And the Public Utility Commission (P.U.C.) is investigating what happened.

“If customers` bills were based on estimates that wound up being higher or lower than their actual usage, we adjusted their next bills so they only pay for the electricity they use”, explained PPL spokesperson Alana Roberts.

Many customers took to social media in recent weeks asking others why their electric bills were increased, some saying their bills were double what they normally pay. This caused PPL to experience call volumes that were heavier than usual.

“I think it’s their responsibility It’s their errors and they should the customers should not be the ones to pay for this. This is their fault and they need to make it right,” said Linda Joseph, a PPL customer, in Wilkes-Barre.

Linda Joseph from Wilkes-Barre says she could not believe her eyes when she opened her bill and saw it nearly double what she normally pays.

“It was concerning but for me it wasn’t as bad as some people who are getting hundreds of dollars of increases in their bills. Which how are they going to come up with that money when basically they are trying to put food on the table at this point,” Joseph added.

State Representative Eddie Day Pashinski is looking into the situation and has lots of questions for PPL.

“Your estimates were completely off. You could ot have estimated the bill based upon past billing cycle. Bills doubled in some cases tripled,” Representative Pashinski said.

Roberts says they are adding more agents to their call center to deal with the high volume of calls PPL has been receiving.

“Customers have a right to expect excellent service from PPL Electric Utilities. For some of our customers, a billing issue and long wait times at the call center mean we have fallen short in delivering that excellent service. We apologize to anyone who was affected. At the same time, a separate issue, high energy prices, also is causing concern for our customers. We understand these concerns, and we are taking steps to help people who are affected,” Roberts wrote in an email.

Below are the steps Roberts says PPL has taken to rectify the issue:

  • Fixed the technical issue that caused the inflated bills.
  • Customers who were affected have had their bills adjusted so they only pay for the electricity they use.
  • Adding more agents to the call center.
  • Offering payment plans and assistance for customers who are struggling to pay their bill.
  • PPL is waiving late fees for January and February. Any late fees already charged to customers in January will be credited to their accounts.
  • PPL won’t shut off power for non-payment from now through March 31.
  • PPL is also reaching out to all customers to address higher energy prices, as well as recent estimated bills for some.

Roberts says PPL is taking additional actions and is expected to have an update on the issue Tuesday.

Tuesday afternoon, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission announced it has launched a “comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding unusually high bills recently received by customers served by PPL Electric Utilities (PPL), along with the accuracy and integrity of PPL’s billing practices.”

PUC says customers who feel PPL has not addressed their issues, or can’t get through to PPL should call the PUC’s Bureau of Consumer Services (BCS) at 1-800-692-7380.