State attorney general to investigate spike in electric bills

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Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane is looking into a recent surge in complaints over high electricity bills, mostly from customers who switched to variable-rate pricing, her office announced today.

The Public Utility Commission reported complaints about high electricity rates from variable-rate pricing have increased more than 400 percent this year over last, and the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection said some bills have increased as much as 300 percent in recent months.

A prolonged, bitter cold period has increased electricity use and drove up prices in the spot market. While utility customers with fixed rates are mostly protected from dramatic price changes, consumers with variable rates are vulnerable.

The bureau is working with the Office of Consumer Advocate to learn if these customers, whose rates fluctuate with the changing energy market, were overcharged for their services.

Ms. Kane is asking that consumers quickly file complaints about “extreme increases in electricity rates,” by submitting a consumer complaint form ( to More information is available by calling the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-441-2555.

Michael Sanserino:, 412-263-1722 or on Twitter @msanserino.

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