Hundreds Attend Public Hearing on Penelec Proposal
A proposed monthly increase for Penelec customers who do not shop for an alternate electric provider, is being met with opposition.
Penelec customers may soon have to pay more each month, for the company’s services.
The company is proposing a surcharge for customers, who do not shop for another electric provider.
On Tuesday, hundreds of residents made their way to the Hirt Auditorium, for a public hearing on the proposal.
The surcharge would cost the average customer an additional $1.50 a month.
The proposal is being met with opposition.
"I don't agree with it,” said Penelec customer Donald Bauer. “But, I'm open to what they have to say."
Bauer, and many others, question why they should be forced to pay an additional fee for sticking with Penelec.
"Keep our bills as low as possible,” said Bauer. “That’s what the PUC (Public Utility Commission) is here for.”
"I don't know anything about any of the other companies,” said Penelec customer Sandy Tanner. “Why does Penelec not want to have us as a customer?"
According to Penelec spokesman Mark Durbin, the additional fee is aimed at improving consumer choice.
“Most of that money, 95 percent of it, is going to go back to the customer,” said Durbin. "The whole idea is to make it a little more of an inducement for somebody to shop, to make that price to compare, more comparable with what they can get somewhere else.”
Consumer advocate Ken Springirth filed a complaint against the proposal.
“Public utility law is based on the fact that rates shall be cost justified,” said Springirth. “This isn’t cost justified. This is basically somebody trying to entice more customers, more residential customers, to choose a supplier.”
If approved by the Public Utility Commission, the surcharge would be in effect from 2019 to 2023.