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PPL customers question why electricity 'usage' is going up drastically

Not just inaccurate but impossible – that's how some in our area describe their PPL electric bills. Owners of vacant properties are seeing their usage go up.

LUZERNE COUNTY, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission is still investigating PPL's billing practices after that technical glitch back in January led to huge, sudden increases on customers' bills.

Even after that was supposedly corrected, we continue to hear from people who are looking at their electric bill and saying: something just isn't adding up.

Mary Beth Postens from Salem Township, Luzerne County, doesn't know where to turn for help. 

"I can't afford an attorney. I don't know where to go."

The issue is her electric bill from PPL. 

"244%," she said as she showed us one of her bills.

That's how much the company says her usage went up one month.

The problem has persisted for more than six months.

"It's been since July. And it's impossible, it's impossible. It's only me!"

For two of those months, her house was vacant. She's called PPL several times, trying to get to the bottom of it. 

"For $35, I can have the meter checked. Pay them to check their own meter. So I talked to their service department, and a woman says, 'Don't waste your money. Because you'll pay them, they'll check it, and it always comes back that the meter's OK.' This is their own employee saying this," Postens said.

Glenn Wright is in a similar boat. In the interview video above, you'll notice we are wearing coats and hats in his mother's home in Albrightsville. He hasn't turned the heat above 40-some degrees in months while his mom is at a nursing home.

"We got a bill, all of a sudden, for $600 a month. And there's nobody living in the house right now," Wright said. "I had to spend hours on the phone waiting to speak to one person, and they said I had to speak to someone else. So I waited a few hours for someone else to get on the phone."

Jenn and Patrick Eldridge also reached out to us about the issue. They own several rental properties in the Williamsport area. For some of those properties, the usage went from 0-1 kilowatts to 1100. 

"I believe five of the eight that we disputed were actually vacant properties," Jenn said. "And the usage that they were claiming that we used was not just inaccurate, but impossible."

These bills came in at the same time that PPL claims it had a technical glitch in its system, and incorrect bills were sent out in December and January. 

But when Jenn and Patrick's bill was corrected, it was actually higher.

They filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. That complaint was dismissed because the bill was technically "corrected" after the glitch.

"I just feel like we're talking until we're blue in the face, and nobody's listening," Jenn said.

We reached out to PPL. They continue to remind people that higher energy costs are leading to higher bills. 

So, how does that explain the higher usage of electricity?

A spokesperson said, "Without access to a customer's account, billing, and usage history, it's difficult to address what may be behind increased usage." 

But when we gave them a specific example, the spokesperson said they are unable to share information regarding a customer's account.

The PUC also reminds customers of their ability to shop for different electric suppliers to save money. You can do that here.

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