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State Lawmakers Set to Cap Sharp Rate Hikes

HONESDALE — The manager of the Country Dawn Gift Shoppe in Honesdale can`t wait for spring.

A winter of extreme snow and cold didn`t help business.

Then came the electric bills.

“It hurts,” said store manager JoAnn Ostrander who said their electric bill doubled from December to January.

When the store’s owner opened the February bill, their rates doubled again.

“She was hit and knocked off her feet when she opened the bill and it was $3,200,” said Ostrander.

Thousands are frustrated and want action. As we’ve covered the story, many understand their variable rates would go up during a winter of sustained cold, but no one believed rates would triple or quadruple. Now, they want state lawmakers to do something.

“There are people who shouldn’t be signing up for, and can’t afford to sign up for variable rates, that are being swayed by the marketing tactics used in some cases,” said State Representative Robert Godshall of Montgomery County.

The Republican chairs the Pennsylvania House Consumer Affairs Committee which held hearings in Harrisburg on the jump in electric costs.

Lawmakers are considering a bill that could cap how much companies can raise rates on customers with variable rates.

A spokesman for alternative energy companies said some of the companies hiked rates argued the marketplace will still work for consumers. Ritchie Hudson said companies are offering rebates, or a chance for customers to spread out their payments in the wake of the high bills.

“We would caution against any policies that would seek to over regulate the industry and post price caps and eliminate options for customers,” said Hudson.

The manager of the Country Dawn Shoppe in Honesdale is only looking at options for the business to recover from a winter of high electric bills.

“It`s going to take right up until the summer time,” said JoAnn Ostrander.

In the meantime, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane continues her investigation into the high electric rates and bills.

One of the investigation’s focus is a look at print ads mailed to potential customers by companies promising lower rates, the same companies that tripled or even quadrupled the price of electricity in the last two months. None of this offers immediate relief to people and businesses reeling from two months of ultra high electric bills.

7 comments

    • prof. crunch

      Lets not turn this into a partisan discussion to promote your agenda. There
      is plenty of mud to throw around including the recent A.G. Kane scandal
      where she only prosecutes the laws that conform to her political agenda
      rather than the oath she swore to uphold. If you think things would be any different under another party leader I would like to know how that Obama
      care is working out for ya. Lets face it, corruption and cronyism is rampant in this state where it is almost if not already as bad as Jersey and it is in both parties as proven by the Governor we now have who unlike Kane
      went after both parties before he was elected.

  • Heidi

    IDT tripled my bill without informing me. I have attempted to contact them and filed a complaint with the BBB. With no luck. They are a joke of a company I dropped them like a bad habit to just deal with Penalec

  • Audrey Lewis

    My electric company ” American Power & Gas of PA LLC” told me that my bill was that high due to the polor gortix. My bill was more than doubled in price. I have since then cancelled my account with them. I am staying with PPL from now on.

    • prof. crunch

      I did the same thing with PG&E. They nailed me big time as I was heading out the door. They know they can get away with it because it takes two or more months to switch and once they find out your leaving, look out.

  • prof. crunch

    Simple. The P.U.C. is on the right track when they proposed shortening
    the switch time to three days. That`s where the problem is. These companies know it takes two months or better now and do they sock it
    to customers who switch. The next best thing to do is to pass legislation
    that companies have to give you a week or longer notice that rates are
    going to increase and by how much. Then the consumer has the
    knowledge and the time to act to protect themselves from shock and
    that is only fair and that is real competition.

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