Consumer Digest

EAP's CHAPTER 14 Compendium ("Responsible Utility Customer Protection Act")
  
Hatfield v. PWSAPM 10/29/20
C-2018-3006129

Complainant, landlord and customer of record, alleges PWSA improperly entered into a PAR for wastewater service with his Tenant who resided at property while usage was recorded. He requests that Tenant be solely responsible for the balance.

ALJ Vero found PWSA did not violated its Tariff by entering into PAR with Tenant to avoid termination when Complainant failed to make full and timely payments and that PWSA did not violate the Code, reg or tariff by holding the Complainant responsible for the account balance.

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging he did not receive bills, as landlord he is not responsible for balance, Company PAR was improper and unaware of growing account balance. PWSA filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied, ID adopted, Complaint dismissed.
- No basis to reverse ID.
- Exceptions are a continuing restatement of testimony rebutted fully by PWSA on record.
- Complainant was always the only customer of record.
- PWSA operated reasonably by undertaking PAR with Tenant to retire the arrearage with appropriate notice to Complainant, the property owner.
- Complainant as customer of record is responsible for account balance.
- PWSA’s actions were consistent with landlord/tenant discontinuance of service requirements in Sections 1521-1533.
- PWSA was permitted to add the Tenant to account for purpose of executing PAR to maintain service.
Paluti v. West PennPM 10/29/20
C-2018-3004845

Complainant alleged reliability issues with service provided. WPP contended that momentary outages were the result of reclosure operating as designed.

ALJ Dunderdale dismissed the Complaint for failure to carry burden but expressed concern over the number of instances and encouraged WPP to work with Complainant.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing he met his burden, reclosure events should not occur in calm sunny weather and that since hearing service has improved. WPP filed Reply Exceptions is support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed

- While the Complainant made a prima facie case of unreasonable service, noting the dates and duration of outages and recloser operations, WPP refuted with testimony and evidence of actions taken to improve reliability, met with Complainant and restored service in a timely manner.
- PUC cited compliance with §§ 57.191 57.198 and finding consistent with Barry v Met-Ed.
- WPP to work with the Complainant in addressing service interruptions if number of interruptions continue.

Statement Brown
- Agrees with dismissal but by “no means diminishes the inconvenience experienced by the Complainant” noting that continual recloser operations over time are not ideal and may be indications of vegetation or other issues to investigate.
- Requested that staff from Reliability and Emergency Preparedness Division of TUS consider discussing the circuit’s condition and performance with WPP.

Statement: Sweet
- Supports decision noting number of interruptions and requested copy of Order be served on Electric Safety Division for whatever action deemed appropriate.
Lescouflair v. PGWPM 10/8/20
C-2019-3013391

Complainant alleges incorrect charges and disputes responsibility for prior bills. PGW alleged Complainant was removed from CAP due to fraud and service was terminated for non-payment.

ALJ Brady dismissed for failure to appear.

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging she received the hearing notice after the scheduled hearing. PGW filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied, ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
- Complainant did not provide sufficient information to document her absence from hearing.
- Notice sent to correct address; presumed delivered.

Dissent: Sweet
- Unique circumstances support permitting Complainant to seek PUC PAR.

Statement: Brown
- Complaint should have been dismissed without prejudice.
Tortorella v. PECOPM 10/8/20
C-2019-3012082

Complainant alleges her service was subject to termination and seeks to reinstate defaulted PUC PAR.

ALJ Guhl dismissed finding no CII or SCIC.

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging CII after record closed. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID, noting record evidence reflects household income increased.

Exception denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
- Income increased so no CII.
- Information regarding loss of income presented after record closed.
- No Petition to reopen record was filed.
- Based on alleged recent change in income, she should apply for CAP.

Statement: Sweet
- Complaint process not suited to cover PAR request.
- Complainant is encouraged to file new complaint based on SCIC.
Kline v. PPLPM 10/8/20
C-2017-2621072

Complainant objects to the installation of a smart meter alleging installation constitutes unsafe and unreasonable service.

ALJ Barnes dismissed the Complaint for failure to carry burden but made recommendation concerning fire safety.

Both parties filed Exceptions. The Complainant filed 9 Exceptions challenging the ALJ’s various procedural rulings and weight given to the record evidence. PPL excepted to the fire safety recommendation arguing such recommendations have already been adopted and are unnecessary.

Complainant’s Exceptions denied; PPL Exceptions granted; ID modified; Complaint dismissed.
- ALJ provided proper weight to expert testimony and the Complainant had opportunity to cross those witnesses.
- No record evidence that ALJ was biased.
- Complainant’s attempt to impeach the witnesses was raised for the first time in the Reply Brief and procedurally improper.
- Decisions relied upon the Complainant are instructive but not binding on the PUC.
- Act 129 directive to install a smart meter is not unreasonable discrimination under Section 1502.
- PUC does not have jurisdiction to address allegations under the Fair Trade Commission Act.
- Constitutional challenges were previously addressed in PECO Qualified Rate Order.
- Complainant as a lay person and witness is not competent to provide expert opinion regarding any report.
- Complaint does not suggest any relief related to relocation of the meter to a different location.
- Act 129 does permit opt out.
- Fire safety recommendations modified consistent with Schmukler v PPL.
Betchy v. WPPPM 10/8/20
C-2018-3000257

Complainant requests smart meter be removed due to health, safety and privacy problems and analog meter be installed.

ALJ Watson dismissed Complaint.

Complainant filed Exceptions restating arguments made at hearing. WPP filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
- No reason to reverse well-reasoned ID since no reliable or credible evidence introduced to support position.
- No opt-out under Act 129.
- Attachments to Exceptions are non-record evidence and not considered.
- WPP does not release sensitive information.
Leggett v. WPPPM 10/8/20
C-2018-3001033

Complainant seeks PAR she can afford.

Special Agent Arnold dismissed since no CII or SCIC.

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging a traffic accident caused power surge causing damages of $1,800, which constitutes SCIC. WPP filed Reply Exceptions that Exceptions constitute non-record evidence.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
- No record evidence to support directing 2nd PUC PAR.
- Extra record evidence cannot be considered.
- Even if considered, allegations of damages do not satisfy SCIC.
Hess v. PPLPM 10/8/20
C-2018-3003337

Complainant seeks reconsideration of 12/19/19 Order dismissing smart meter Complaint. PPL filed Answer in opposition of Petition.

Petition denied.
- Petition does not meet Duick Standard.
- Material attached to Petition was discoverable and available prior to close of record.
- Argument in Petition is same as raised in Exceptions.
- Claim that smart meter caused his recent stroke is not supported by assertion that he would prove at hearing a conclusive causal connection between stroke and RF fields from smart meter.
Lucey v. Met-EdPM 10/8/20
C-2018-3003679

Complainant refuses installation of a smart meter due to health and safety reasons and alleges the smart meter will overcharge for electric usage.

ALJ Heep found Fair Housing Act not within PUC jurisdiction, no opt-out provision, utilities are permitted to terminate service for failure to permit access to meter, installation of smart meter is safe and reasonable service, present no fire hazard and will not increase usage.

Complainant filed Exceptions raising procedural and substantive issues. Met-Ed filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied: ID adopted: Complaint dismissed.
- Failure to direct briefing schedule does not violate due process.
- PUC lacks jurisdiction to interpret or enforce federal statutes.
- No opt-out provision in Act 129.
- Complainant did not carry burden that his health conditions would be exacerbated by installation of smart meter.
- No record evidence that smart meter poses fire hazard.
- Smart meters do not record more usage than analog meters.
- Utility permitted to terminated service for failure to provide access to meter.
Feitt v. PNGPM 10/8/20
F-2018-3003833

Complainants seek reconsideration of Final Order entered when no exceptions were filed.

Petition denied.
- Petitioners failed to meet the Duick standards.
- Petition does not present any new and novel argument which was not previously addressed by PUC.
- There is no requirement that a utility bill be presented in GAAP format; nor is there a requirement that all customers be able to understand the bill if the billing format is objectively understandable.
- It would be unreasonable to mandate that Peoples accept the Complainants’ signatures to discharge the debt accrued.
- It is well settled that PUC lacks jurisdiction to determine if an instrument is negotiable as this is a legal issue of interpretation under the Uniform Commercial Code.
- The PUC previously determined that it does not have jurisdiction to enforce the ADA or to even determine whether a complainant has a disability or impairment which substantially limits major life activities.
- Peoples is authorized to terminate service under Section 1406 where a customer has failed to pay an undisputed delinquent account.
Utter v. Met-EdPM 10/8/20
C-2018-3005969

The Complainant alleged Met-Ed was negligent in not replacing bare underground cable which failed and caused damage.

ALJ Barnes dismissed the Complaint finding the failure of the underground cable was unforeseeable and not within the utility’s control.

Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing position set forth in brief. Met-Ed filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions granted in part; ID modified; remand.
- PUC took official official notice regarding the life span of an underground neutral connection is twenty years and that the failure of a neutral connection is foreseeable and therefore within the utility’s control.
- EDC’s has reasonable discretion to forego a preemptive inspection and replacement of an underground neutral prior to its failure.
- Neutrals Connections Order noted the cyclical inspections required by PUC regulations may reveal some loose or rusted neutral connections, which the EDCs agreed to note and repair or replace.
- Unrealistic that the PUC would decide to allow the EDCs to use a facility well beyond its normal service life span such as in this instance without maintenance and/or replacement.
- The Company’s action in response to the Complainant’s calls reporting trouble at the Service Location to repair and replace the confirmed failed neutral was reasonable in these circumstances.
- Remand the matter to the OALJ for further development of the record.
Weaver v PPLPM 9/17/20
C-2018-3005382

Complainant alleges that PPL did not replace a low-hanging wire in 2017 which was struck by a truck in 2018 causing the electric meter base, conduit and fasteners to be ripped from her investment property. PPL denied the allegations.

ALJ Buckley found in favor of the Complainant that she experienced a safety or quality problem with her service but denied the request for damages. He also assessed a fine of $32,000 for violating Section 1501 of the Code.

PPL filed Exceptions disputing that the Complainant met her burden of proof that the line affected belonged to PPL and was at an improper height, contested the finding that PPL violated Section 1501 and the assessed fine.

Exceptions granted in part, ID reversed in part, Complaint denied.
- Insufficient record evidence that PPL violated Section 1501.
- Evidence presented by PPL outweighed the general and conclusory evidence presented by the Complainant.
- Finding of violation of Code not supported by record.
- No evidence presented that supports finding that the line affected was a distribution line belonging to PPL.
- Record evidence reflects multiple line on pole; PPL line is at top and no interruption of service when truck hit line.
- Civil penalty not appropriate.
Empanada v UGIPM 8/27/20
C-2019-3011993

Complainant alleges there is a safety or quality problem with service and that the work performed impacted the business. UGI filed New Matter that customer must be represented by counsel.

Neither the Complainant nor counsel appeared at the scheduled hearing as directed. ALJ Jones dismissed matter for failure to comply with ALJ order that the customer be represented by counsel.

ID adopted.

Dissenting Statement Brown
- No reason to suspect abuse of process.
- Dismissal should be without prejudice.
Steele v Met-EdPM 8/27/20
F-2019-3011301

Complainant alleged Met-Ed was holding him responsible for charges from an account in another person’s name and failed to recognize his bankruptcy filing.

ALJ Haas dismissed Complaint for failure to appear at the hearing.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing there was no written verification that he received the instructions on how to access the hearing. He alleges he called the PUC twice later that day. Met-Ed filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID and that due process was afforded the Complainant.

Exceptions denied; ID modified; Complaint dismissed without prejudice.
- No PUC issued documents were returned as undeliverable; presumption of receipt applies.
- Failure to appear was not unavoidable and no explanation why he did not follow the directions for the call in hearing.
- Dismissal without prejudice is appropriate since record is silent on status of Bankruptcy proceeding.
- Complainant should retain the right to pursue any claim before PUC relating to possible attempts of Met-Ed to pursue collection of pre-petition debts while Chapter 7 Petition is pending.
Smiles v PPLPM 8/27/20
C-2018-3003895

Complainant objects to installation of smart meter due to health and safety concerns.

ALJ Barnes dismissed complaint for failure to carry burden of proof. No exceptions were filed and Final Order entered 8/23/19.

Complainant filed 2 Petitions which were considered petitions for rehearing/reconsideration. Complainant argued he never received the ID and he was unable to participate in hearing fully due to “debilitated condition.”

Petitions denied.
- Presumption that ID and Secretarial Letter were received by 1st Class Mail; he never picked up the certified letter with ID.
- Complainant was provided a full and fair opportunity to file exceptions but failed to do so.
- Allegations raised were rejected on the merits.
- Complainant never stated at the hearing that he was unable to proceed due to physical incapacitation and needed to seek emergency medical attention.
- No exigent circumstances and ALJ did not abuse discretion in denying request for continuance.
- ALJ provided opportunity for Complainant to ask discovery questions at hearing but he failed to do so.
- Petitions fail to meet Duick standard.
- PUC has exclusive jurisdiction to adjudicate issues of the reasonableness, adequacy and sufficiency of a utility’s facilities and services.
- EDCs are required under Act 129 to deploy smart meters.
Ulmer v PPL PM 8/27/20
C-2018-3003824

Complainant requests PPL not install smart meter due to safety, health and privacy concerns.

ALJ Barnes ruled no opt out provision and Complainant did not carry burden of proof regarding safety, health and privacy concerns.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing ALJ erred regarding due process, health and safety concerns, credibility and credential concerns of PPL’s expert witnesses, ability to opt out, interpretation of Act 129 and prior smart meter complaint decisions.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
- Extra record material is properly disregarded.
- Due process satisfied; Complainant never requested ALJ issue a briefing schedule.
- Complainant had ample opportunity to make legal arguments during hearing.
- Complainant failed to show proposed AMI meter causes, contributes to or exacerbate any adverse health effect.
- PPL may lawfully terminate, after notice, for failure to allow utility to install smart meter.
- PUC lacks jurisdiction to determine whether a person has a disability defined by ADA and to enforce its provisions.
- No opt out provision in Act 129.
- No record evidence to question ALJ’s acceptance of PPL’s expert witnesses in their respective field nor to question the credibility and reliability of their testimony.
- Allegation of biased positions and collusion between PUC and utilities is without merit.
Maslar v PPLPM 8/27/20
C-2018-3003075

Complainant filed Petition for Reconsideration of Opinion and Order entered 6/2/20 which dismissed complaint objecting to the installation of a smart meter. PPL opposed the Petition.

Petition denied.
- Petition did not meet Duick standard.
- Material attached to Petition was available at time of hearing.
- Safety claims were mere repeat of Amended Complaint.
- ALJ properly ruled on admissibility of hearsay exhibits.
- Cybersecurity of AMI meter arguments are not new or novel arguments and were not addressed in Exceptions.
Hanley v Penn PowerPM 8/27/20
C-2016-2557487

Complainants seek reconsideration of Opinion and Order entered 12/19/19 which dismissed complaint objecting to the installation of a smart meter. Penn Power opposed the Petition.

Petition denied.
- Public Meeting satisfied notice requirement under Sunshine Act.
- No opportunity at PM for public input or comment.
- No new or novel arguments raised to reverse entered Order.
- ALJ properly ruled on discovery sanction and imposition of some limitations on testimony at hearing.
Ravin Harding v. PGWPM 8/6/20
C-2019-3014816

Complainant disputes obligation for PGW charges billed in 2015. PGW contends the Complainant is liable for outstanding balance.

ALJ Jones found Complaint was barred by Statute of Limitations and she did not discontinue service when she vacated the prior service address. ALJ also found PGW violated Section 1410 of Code and Section 56.181 by applying payments to oldest (but disputed) rather than applying to current charges. Matter referred to BIE for review since no record to determine if fine should be levied.

ID adopted.
Joseph Epp and Cynthia Rao v. PECOPM 8/6/20
F-2019-3013395

Complainants filed Petition to rescind Final Order which dismissed Complaint for failure to appear. PECO filed Answer objecting to the Petition.

Petition denied.
- No indication that absence was unavoidable.
- No evidence submitted to substantiate allegation of work conflict and/or medical issue.
Ross Schell v. PPLPM 8/6/20
C-2019-3012244

Complainant requests to alter due date of bill or for a new PUC PAR. Prior to hearing, Complainant sent two (2) conflicting letters seeking withdrawal and continuance.

Special Agent Arnold converted scheduled hearing to prehearing to determine which relief was sought. Complainant did not appear but subsequently notified PUC that he wanted matter closed. Special Agent issued Initial Decision granted withdrawal of Complaint.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing he never requested continuance and he sought withdrawal since Complaint was moot.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint withdrawn.
- Allegations in exception not before PUC since no record was created.
- Withdrawal of Complaint was unopposed and grant is in public interest.
Althea Poe Henderson v. PGWPM 8/6/20
F-2019-3010206

Complainant filed Petition to rescind Final Order dismissing Complaint for failure to appear, alleging PGW unlawfully terminated service and a safety concern causing her to suffer gas poisoning. PGW opposes Petition.

Petition denied.
- Same facts and argument asserted in Complaint which was dismissed.
- No new or novel argument raised.
- Complainant barred from filing future complaints raisings raising same facts/argument.
- ALJ Vero provided additional time for Complainant to call into hearing but she failed to do so.
- Complainant never explains why she did not participate in hearing.
- Dismissal with prejudice is warranted.
William Lamac v. Pike County PM 8/6/20
F-2018-3006790

Complainant filed Petition to rescind Opinion and Order alleging the Company threatened termination of service in violation of PUC directed PAR

Pike filed Answer admitting administrative error in enforcing PAR directed by Judge Calvelli and provided credit to account and assurance of future compliance.

Petition denied.
- No new or novel issue regarding Order.
- All allegations past date entry of Order.
- Allegation are outside scope of Complaint.
- Complainant has option to file new complaint regarding allegations raised.
Herr v. West PennPM 7/16/20
C-2019-3009143

Complainant seeks PUC PAR.

Special Agent Chiodo found, based on recent PFA, the Complainant was eligible for PUC PAR and directed 10-year PAR based on Section 56.421 factors.

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging change of income, request for attorney and inability to satisfy terms of 10-year PUC PAR.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint sustained.
- Terms of 10-year PAR based on record evidence.
- Complainant’s allegation of change in income is outside record and not considered.
- PUC does not provide an attorney and endeavors to assist pro se complainants in navigating the complaint process.
- Special Agent properly guided by decision in Stiffler in offering extended payback period consistent with Section 56.421.
- Complainant encouraged to review EGS rates which was increasing monthly charges.
Jones v. PGWPM 7/16/20
C-2019-3007984

Complainant alleged improper changes assessed against him based on theft of service/unbilled usage.

ALJ Brady dismissed and upheld charges for unbilled usage.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing he did not tamper with the meter and had been using electric appliances and photos entered into record were not pictures of his house. PGW filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID modified; Complaint dismissed.
- Record evidence supports finding of theft of service after gas service was terminated.
- Removal of security device to prevent unauthorized gas use was compelling.
- Calculation of unbilled charges is reasonable.
- PGW violated Section 1501 as demonstrated by the time between 1st attempt to reclaim meter in 2010 until abandonment of service in March 2018 (8 years).
- $2,000 fine assessed ($250 per year).
Hughes v. PPLPM 7/16/20
C-2019-3007631

Complainants object to installation of smart meter due to safety and privacy concerns.

ALJ Barnes dismissed for failure to carry burden finding expert testimony should be given more weight than lay testimony. ALJ also found installation did not violate 4th Amendment against unreasonable search and seizure.

Complainants filed Exceptions challenging expert testimony. PPL filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
- Expert testimony more persuasive than lay opinion testimony.
- ALJ properly ruled on unreliable hearsay.
- PUC lacks jurisdiction to determine whether a person has a disability defined by ADA and to enforce the ADA’s provisions.
- Extra record evidence properly disregarded.
- PPL is not state actor.
- No opt out provision for installation of smart meter; analog meter must be removed consistent with Act 129.
Strydio v. PPLPM 7/16/20
C-2018-3005545

Complainant filed Petition for Rescission of Final Order which dismissed complaint alleging electronic payments were not properly credited. ALJ Buckley dismissed for failure to appear at the scheduled hearing.

Complainant alleges he was deceived and intentionally denied the opportunity to attend hearing and to present evidence.

Petition denied.
- Complainant enrolled in e-service.
- Complainant was afforded due process with e-served notice.
- No record that e-service was not completed.
- Obvious error in PPL cover letter for proposed exhibits is irrelevant to notices that the Complainant received.
- Entry of Appearance for attorney is not evidence of hearing.
- Hearing conducted as scheduled.
Kibler v. Met-EdPM 7/16/20
C-2018-3003158

Complainant object to installation of a smart meter due to health and privacy concerns.

ALJ Watson dismissed for failure to comply with 4 Orders.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing ALJ erred in unilaterally scheduling the prehearing conference in an Interim Order so Motion to Dismiss not appropriate. Met-Ed filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed with prejudice.
- ALJ acted within discretion to schedule Prehearing which was reasonable and appropriate exercise given the Complainant’s correspondence.
- ALJ went beyond notice required by having OALJ call before and during prehearing.
- Complainant never addressed failure to comply with 4 orders issued by ALJ
- ALJ conclusion that a hearing is not required is appropriate and in public interest.
- Dismissal with prejudice is warranted.
Stecko vs. PeoplesPM 6/18/20
C-2019-3013168

Complainant alleged Peoples installed gas line on top of her sewer drainpipe in violation of recorded ROW agreement.

ALJ Johnson found Peoples required to properly maintain its gas main but denied request to order Peoples to install new storm drain since PUC lacks jurisdiction to adjudicate ROW agreement.

ID modified; Complaint dismissed
Motion Sweet
- PUC lacks jurisdiction to adjudicate rights of parties under written ROW agreement.
- Because gas safety is implicated, matter referred to Gas Safety office to examine issues and take whatever actions may be warranted.
Lopez vs. PGWPM 6/18/20
C-2019-3011646

Complainant requested 2nd PUC PAR based on financial hardship.

Special Agent Arnold found household income increased since PUC PAR directed but found SCIC based on increase in household size after PUC PAR directed. PUC PAR re-instated and extended per Section 1405(e).

ID adopted
McDonald vs. Met-EdPM 6/18/20
C-2018-3003758

Complainant objected to installation of smart meter and requested her Amended Complaint be withdrawn without prejudice. Met-Ed objects given the evidentiary history to date.

ALJ Pell dismissed Amended Complaint with prejudice, noting Complainant’s failure to comply with his orders compelling discovery responses.

ID adopted
Palmer vs. PGWPM 6/18/20
F-2018-3006197

Complainant disputes responsibility for service while service was in name of her deceased partner. PGW contends theft of service since 2014 which was discovered in 2017 when a gas leak detected.

ALJ Pell found the Complainant resided at Service Location and benefitted from unauthorized use. He specifically found the Complainant was not the cause of or aware of theft but questioned why she never informed PGW for three (3) years that no bills were received. ALJ ruled PUC PAR was not appropriate due to theft of service.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing ALJ should have reviewed her claim that she was denied a PUC PAR or participation in PGW’s CAP program. PGW filed Exception to ALJ finding that Complainant did not engage in theft of service.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed
- Complainant did not carry burden that PGW violated Section 1501.
- Record not clear to conclude if Complainant was aware or unaware of theft.
- ALJ found Complainant’s testimony credible.
- Complainant’s actions in not applying for service for five (5) months after partner’s death demonstrates lack of good faith.
- Complainant’s testimony that she did not realize gas service was active for three (3) years lacks credibility.
- Complainant is listed as tenant in rental lease and therefore responsible for unbilled usage.
- PGW violated its own policy requiring that ant theft of service be photographed but failure to do so does not change the ALJ’s findings
- PGW reminded to comply with procedures regarding theft of service.
Norton vs. PGWPM 6/18/20
F-2018-3005030

Complainant requests 2nd PUC PAR or extension of defaulted 2015 PUC PAR.

Special Agent Chiodo found 2015 PAR defaulted when the Complainant tendered a $1,000 check returned as NFS and no evidence presented that the error was the fault of the bank, not her.

Complainant filed Exceptions submitting a copy of her bank statement as evidence that NFS was a bank error. PGW filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed
- No factual or legal error to support reversal of ID.
- Complainant was given ample opportunity before record was closed to substantiate claim that NFS was bank error.
- Complainant failed to submit late filed exhibit.
- Complaint was properly dismissed with prejudice so Complaint barred from refiling Complaint raising same issue.
Messick vs. PPLPM 6/18/20
C-2018-3004260

Complainant seeks reconsideration of Final Order dismissing vegetation complaint. She argues that the ID was not served by certified mail. She requests ID be re-served with new exception period. PPL filed response opposing Petition.

Petition denied
-Complainant agreed to electronic service which is voluntary.
- Complainant had notice of ID and exception period.
- Petition does not raise new or novel argument.
Norman vs. PECOPM 6/18/20
F-2018-2640713

Complainant alleged incorrect charges and seeks PUC PAR.

ALJ Guhl denied incorrect charges, found service was lawfully terminated, and no medical certification was presented but granted Level 1 PAR under Section 1405 since still customer when requested.

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging bias and sufficiency of evidence.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint sustained in part.
- No basis for finding ALJ was bias.
- ALJ properly found household income was Level 1, i.e. at or below 150% of FPL.
- ALJ’s rulings were appropriate concerning receipt of evidence.
- Affidavit is inadmissible hearsay unless corroborated by other evidence.
- Recommended Level 1 PAR renders issue of when med cert was sent moot.
- No record evidence that account was not properly billed.
- Restoration fee is set forth in PECO’s tariff.
- 60-month PAR sustained.
600 Scranton LLC v. PPLPM 5/21/20
C-2018-3014952

Complainant alleges incorrect changes and no notice before termination. AKSD, the landlord, sought to intervene and seeks notice if customer is facing termination.

ALJ Buckley denied intervention finding issues are controlled by terms of lease and AKSD has not shown any issue with PPL

ID adopted.
Denlinger v. PPLPM 5/21/20
C-2018-3014786

Complainant objects to smart meter on public health and safety concerns. Complainant’s spouse previously filed identical challenge which was dismissed for failure to file ALJ Order.

ALJ Barnes granted Motion for Judgement on Pleadings based on Section 316 and res judicata.

Statement Brown
- Res judicata is not appropriate because no decision on merits.
- Ruling effectively prevents hearing of any kind.
- Would have preferred to remand.

Temple of Bethel v. PECOPM 5/21/20
C-2018-3013389

Complainant alleges PECO did not honor terms of PUC PAR after the Complainant moved.

ALJ Heep dismissed for failure to appear at hearing or to have counsel enter appearance.

ID reversed; Remand
Motion Brown
- Account is residential and BCS directed PAR.
- Complainant appears to be residential customer but filed Complaint under business name.
- Issue of appropriate rate for usage can be reviewed on remand.
Faut v. Met-EdPM 5/21/20
C-2018-3009213

Complainant objects to installation of smart meter due to health, privacy and fire safety concerns.

ALJ Watson dismissed Complaint for failure to comply with Orders on appeal or hearing.

ID adopted.
Brzostowski v. PPLPM 5/21/20
C-2018-3009320

Complainant objects to installation of smart meter based on health concerns.

ALJ Barnes dismissed for failure to carry burden.

Complainant filed Exception rearguing position and offering new evidence. PPL filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
- Complainant failed to demonstrate a conclusive causal connection between RF fields and any adverse health effects.
- Evidence of fire hazard claim not introduced at hearing and cannot be considered.
- No “opt out”.
Schultz v. PPLPM 5/21/20
C-2018-3005659

Complainant objects to installation of smart meter due to health concerns.

ALJ Barnes dismissed Complaint finding the Complainant did not carry burden of proof.

Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing position. PPL filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
- Complainant failed to demonstrate a conclusive causal connection between the low-level RF fields from smart meter and any adverse health effects.
- ALJ gave proper weight (little or no) to hearsay documents.
- Extra record evidence cannot be considered.
- No “opt out” provision in Act 129.
Conner v. PenelecPM 5/21/20
C-2018-3003468
C-2018-3005783

Complainant filed two (2) Complaints disputing the validity of the attempted termination and contends Penelec refused to acknowledge his medical disability and the field representative assaulted and harassed him.

ALJ Cheskis dismissed both Complaints for failure to carry burden.

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging incorrect references to record and rearguing position. Penelec filed Reply Exceptions.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaints dismissed.
- FOFs properly reflect record evidence.
- No record evidence to support his version of interaction with field representative.
- Complainant’s “new evidence” cannot be considered.
- Record evidence supports finding that Penelec complied with requirements for lawful termination.
- Complainant chose not to cross-examine the field representative.
- Section 56.112 is not applicable due to Complainant’s actions which prevented reasonable opportunity for utility to inquire if medical would be forthcoming.
White v. PPLPM 5/21/20
C-2018-3003468

Complainant objects to installation of smart meter due to health concerns and religious beliefs.

ALJ Barnes dismissed for failure to carry burden.

Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing position. PPL filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
- Complaint failed to demonstrate a conclusive connection between RF fields and adverse health effects.
- PUC lacks jurisdiction to enforce Federal Fair Housing Act and ADA
- No “opt out” and does not violate religious beliefs.
Maslar v. PPLPM 5/21/20
C-2018-3003075

Complainant objects to installation of smart meter due to RF concerns.

ALJ Barnes dismissed Complaint finding PPL expert testimony outweighed opinion testimony.

Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing his position based on non-record evidence.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
- Non-record evidence cannot be considered.
- ALJ properly rejected Complainant’s lay testimony about his self-measurements of RF fields.
Morales v. PGWPM 5/21/20
C-2018-3002466

Complainant alleged incorrect changes after receiving unbilled usage charges. PGW contends that the meter registered zero usage on several occasions and alleged meter tampering.

ALJ Heep found although Complainant did not tamper with meter, as customer of record, he is responsible for gas usage. She ordered PGW to recalculate usage consistent with testimony regarding periodic use on weekends by club, rather than full time residence.

PGW filed Exceptions to support “occasional” use by club.
- Exceptions granted in part; ID modified; Complaint sustained in part.
- Only opinion testimony of occasional use which was refuted by PGW billing records.
- FOF modified to reflect use of propane heaters.
- PGW standard method of determining estimated gas consumption for theft of service period was reasonable.
- Fine of $2,000 for delay in inspection after consecutive zero usage.
Landis v. PPLPM 5/21/20
C-2018-3002142

Complainant objects to installation of small smart meters due to health concerns.
ALJ Barnes dismissed finding, no “opt-out” and Complainant’s incredible testimony was refuted by PPL’s expert testimony.
Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing position. PPL filed Rely Exceptions in support of ID.
Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
· No “opt out” in law.
· No record evidence to support alleged adverse health effects.
· Utility may lawfully terminate service, after notice, for refusing access to meter.
Braugh v PECOPM 4/30/20
C-2016-2576738

Complainant filed “letter” which purports to appeal PUC Order dismissing Complaint objecting to installation of smart meter. Letter treated as request for stay of entered Order.

Petition denied.
- Letter does not meet standard for reconsideration under Duick nor establish essential criteria for stay and/or supersedeas of Order under Process Gas
Wrotten v PGWPM 4/30/20
F-2019-3008245

PGW appealed BCS Decision finding that PGW cannot require Complainant to satisfy Customer Responsibility Program (CRP) arrears incurred by another resident before enrolling her into the CRP.

The Complainant did not appear at the hearing.

ALJ Brady dismissed the matter with prejudice for failure to appear at the scheduled hearing and vacated the BCS Decision.

Complainant filed Exceptions explaining she could not attend the hearing due to illness and that she called the PUC but was unable to reach anyone. PGW filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Motion Coleman
Exceptions denied; ID adopted; BCS Decision vacated.
- Complainant did not show that failure to appear was unavoidable or make a good faith effort to attend hearing.
- No basis to excuse absence.
- Exceptions do not raise any other objection to ID.

Oral Dissent Brown
Hartman v PPLPM 4/16/20
C-2019-3008272

Complainants alleged that PPL violated the terms of the ROW, caused damage and trespassed. PPL denied the allegations. PPL filed Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings asserting PUC lacks jurisdiction to determine the scope and validity of easement or to award damages.

ALJ Calvelli granted Motion and dismissed Complaint without hearing finding that all alleged actions exclusively related to property rights and damages.

Complainants filed Exceptions alleging PUC has jurisdiction over 1501 violations and were denied notice of reconstruction plans. PPL filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions granted in part; ID modified; remand.
- Allegations regarding the ROW dispute, damages and environmental impact were properly dismissed.
- Vegetation management claims and service issues are within PUC jurisdiction.
- Per Carlock, pro se complainants should be given chance to orally describe issues and facts at hearing.
- Several allegations can be reviewed independently from ROW/damage claims.
- ALJ directed to evaluate evidence re: quality and reasonableness of PPL’s construction efforts as well as safety impact (including soil erosion) and alleged destruction of vegetation on property.

Joint Statement Coleman & Yanora
- Agree with remand but object to direction to ALJ to conduct a de facto investigation on construction and vegetation management practices.
- Complainants have burden of proof; it is not role of ALJ to take up issues sua sponte in an investigatory manner.
- PUC should refer to BIE if warranted for full investigation.
Kelly Murphy v PenelecPM 4/16/20
F-2019-3010273

Complainant alleged that utility improperly transferred balance of prior tenant. Penelec contends the Complainant is responsible for the balance since she resided at the property when the charges were billed.

ALJ Dunderdale dismissed matter for failure to appear. No exceptions were filed; Final Order entered October 10, 2019.

Complainant filed Petition for Rescission. Penelec filed Answer opposing Petition

Petition granted; Order rescinded; remand.
- Because the Complainant is pro se, the PUC is not limited to issues raised in Petition.
- There is a question of whether Complainant received the ID since zip code used was not the same a zip code listed in Complaint.
Silver Valley Apts. v PPLPM 3/26/20
F-20189-3008686

Complainant disputes responsibility for tenant’s balance since foreign load situation predated his ownership of the Property.

ALJ Meyers affirmed PPL’s actions finding the well, which usage was being recorded by one tenant’s meter, benefitted other tenants.

The Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that the BCS Decision found the majority of the balance accrued over 4 years ago and the prior owner of the Property should be responsible for the tenant’s balance since he timely corrected the foreign load situation. PPL filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
- The ID is a de nova decision based on the record evidence. BCS decision has no precedential value.
- BCS Decision cannot be relied upon for any facts or analysis.
- Each time a new account was opened in the Complainant’s name at the same address, the balance from the closed account was transferred to the new account.
- No record evidence that PPL required the Complainant to pay an outstanding balance that accrued longer than 4 years prior to the request for new service, as a condition of furnishing that service.
- Any dispute concerning the financial responsibilities of the landlord and tenant must be brought in civil proceeding.
- Section 1529.1 recognizes that the property owner is in a better position than the tenant to know about, and correct, foreign load.
McGaughey v Peoples GasPM 3/26/20
C-2018-3005956

Complainant alleges Peoples violated regs for failure to maintain and repair service line located between the meter and the Company’s distribution system main.

ALJ Calvelli dismissed the matter finding the service line that failed was customer-owned equipment and the Company was not responsible to repair or replace the section that failed.

The Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing his position. Peoples filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions granted in part; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
- FOF 4 and 5 revised to properly characterize the location of the service line in question.
- Peoples advised the Complainant of his responsibilities as the owner of the customer-owned service line when service was established.
- PUC regs requires a customer to repair customer-owned facilities and permits termination of service for failure to comply.
- Leak occurred on the customer-owned service line, specifically on the riser section, which is between the curb valve and the meter.
- Per Peoples Tariff, the meter is the point of connection between the main-line and customer-owned service line.
- Peoples followed its O&M Manual and has complied with PUC regs.
William Roll v PenelecPM 3/26/20
C-2018-3001668

Complainant alleges excessive damage when Penelec interrupted service contrary to the 2007 verbal Continuance of Service Contract (CSC) which should have placed service in his name when the tenant ended service at the rental property.

ALJ Buckley found Penelec violated Section 1501 and imposed a $1,000 fine.

Penelec filed Exceptions arguing the account was not coded in 2007 and any claim was barred by the SOL

Motion Place
Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
- SOL does not bar claim since landlord first learned no CSC on account in 2018.
- The lack of a written policy and written confirmation of CSC weighs in favor of the Complainant.
- The lack of confirmation and record keeping constitutes inadequate service.
- Penelec is strongly recommended to improve notification process when CSC is established by confirming agreement electronically or in writing.
Paul Berginc v West PennPM 3/26/20
C-2017-2632636

Complainant objects to the installation of smart meter because of health, safety and privacy concerns.

ALJ Watson dismissed the Complaint for failure to comply with his Orders regarding discovery.

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging he responded twice and since the installation of smart meters in his neighborhood, his wife is now sick. West Penn filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
- The failure to comply with PUC/ALJ orders is sufficient basis to support dismissal of Complaint.
- Critical to the fair conduct of the litigation in smart meter cases that parties exchange witness lists in advance of hearing.
- Dismissal is appropriate sanction after being given several warnings and opportunity to comply.
Cossaboon v PECOPM 3/12/20
C-2019-3011943

Complainant disputes charges and seeks PUC PAR. PECO argued that majority of balance is CAP arrears.

ALJ Heep dismissed Complaint and found the Complainant was not eligible for PUC PAR on non-CAP arrears based on poor payment history. ALJ ordered removal of late payment charges since household became Level 1.

ID adopted.

Statement Place
- Certain circumstances mitigate the gravity of the less than positive payment history.
Hubel v DQE

PM 3/12/20
C-2018-3002620

Complainant objects to the installation of smart meter. She subsequently filed a Petition to Withdraw. DQE installed a smart meter and did not object to the withdrawal.

ALJ Watson issued an Interim Order requiring attendance at a prehearing conference. The Complainant did not appear. ALJ Watson issued ID dismissing for failure to appear.

Motion Sweet

- Petition was filed before Interim Order was issued.
- Since no objection or harm to public interest, Petition should be granted.

Kessler v PECO

PM 3/12/20
C -2017-2630792

Complainant seeks PUC PAR despite having active Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Petition.

ALJ Guhl dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

The Complainant filed Exceptions arguing the Petition was discharged after the hearing was held.

Motion Coleman
- Complainant provided no evidence that the bankruptcy was discharged/dismissed.

- Complainant may request PUC PAR once he can demonstrate that the bankruptcy was discharged.
- Complainant is responsible to pay undisputed portion of bills while complaint is pending per Section 56.181.
- PECO is authorized to terminate for failure to make payment for current undisputed charges per Sections 56.181 and 56.164.

Mandekic v WPP

PM 2/27/20
C -2019-3009781

Complainant alleges unreasonable service due to WPP’s failure to inspect and maintain its facilities and to timely respond to his service call. WPP denied allegations.

ALJ Long dismissed finding the Complainant did not meet his burden: (1) no connection between failure of insulator on distribution line and failure of insulator on sub-transmission line several days later; (2) no record evidence that he reported arcing; and (3) ) no record evidence that the restoration time was unreasonable given the storm conditions throughout the service territory.

ID adopted.

Gray v PGW

PM 2/27/20
F-2019-3013486

Complainant seeks PUC PAR to restore service. PGW seeks full amount since 2 defaulted PARs and lacks good faith effort to pay his gas bill.

Special Agent Arnold directed a Level 4 PAR based on household of 3 with gross monthly income of $5,500.

ID adopted.

Aguirre v PPL

PM 2/27/20
C -2018-3005352

Complainant seeks reconsideration of December Final Order dismissing smart meter objection and denying Exceptions. Complainant subsequently filed a Petition for Review Nunc Pro Tunc before the Commonwealth Court which was stricken since PUC retained jurisdiction. PPL filed an Answer in opposition to the Petition.

Petition denied.

- No merit to argument that December Final Order erroneously misconstrued the requested relief—he did not seek an “opt out” but rather a “stay” or “delay” in the installation.
- ALJ properly rejected the health-based claims regarding any negative impact to health and safety. Complainant is barred from re-litigating the health-based claims.
- No merit to argument that reconsideration is warranted due to failure of PPL to provide adequate notice of the intent to install a smart meter (Complaint was filed before the scheduled installation).
- Complainant failed to establish entitlement to any relief based on health-based claims.
- Complainant raises matters which are irrelevant to the final outcome of the proceedings and simply re-states rejected arguments.

James Elliott v Penelec

PM 2/6/20
F-2018-3003502

Complainant disputes billings alleging he wants a verification by an independent party, not the utility, that his meter is correctly recording the usage. The hearing was continued twice and rescheduled for in-person in Pittsburgh based on the Complainant’s request.

The morning of the hearing, the ALJ received email that the Complainant needed emergency surgery due to a fall. The Complainant did not attend the hearing which was held as scheduled. The Company opposed any further continuance and moved to dismiss the matter for failure to appear.

Judge Long issued an Interim Order providing the Complainant with the opportunity to file a request for continuance and substantiate the asserted medical emergency to prove that his failure to appear was unavoidable. The Complainant did not timely submit by 12/18/18 and the record was closed. In the ID, Judge Long granted the Motion and dismissed the matter with prejudice.

The Complainant filed Exceptions requesting a new hearing arguing he sent the documentation on 12/19/18. Penelec filed Reply Exceptions noting the documentation was not timely submitted and the documentation failed to state anything to confirm the asserted reasons for the Complainant’s failure to appear.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed with prejudice.
- No factual or legal error to reverse the ID.
- It is within the sound discretion of the ALJ to determine if the failure to appear was unavoidable and whether permitting a hearing would prejudice the public interest or the interest of Penelec.
- ALJ made numerous adjustments to the proceeding schedule to accommodate the Complainant for medical reasons.
- Complainant repeatedly failed to timely respond or communicate with ALJ.
- ALJ was not obligated to accept filing of party who had not been substantiated an authorized to appear on behalf of the Complainant.
- ALJ conducted thorough review of the submission and found the email and photos were not credible.
- No basis to overturn the credibility determination of the ALJ.

Dissenting Statement Dutrieuille

Matter should be dismissed without prejudice based on pro se status.
Because the requested medical certification was ultimately produced, matter should be remanded for further hearing.

Feitt and Medsoza v DQE

PM 2/6/20
F-2017-2636316

Complainants filed in Commonwealth Court a Petition for Rescission of PUC Order denying their Exceptions alleging their rights were violated and they did not get a fair trail. Commonwealth Court dismissed stating the Complainants did not raise issue with PUC noting that if they had ruled, there was no merit that Constitution says must pay in gold or silver currency which has been removed from circulation.

Complainants then filed Petition with PUC requesting reconsideration of the PUC Order contending that the PUC Order is unconstitutional and illegal on the basis that they did not receive a fair hearing before the ALJ. They also alleged that DQE had sent termination notices while the matter is still pending before PUC.

Petition denied.

Complainants failed to raise in Exceptions that they did not get a fair hearing, so issue is waived.
There is no law that would have prevented the Company from beginning the termination process after the PUC Order was entered.
The filing of a petition for reconsideration with the Commission or a petition for review with an appellate court does not act to stay a final Commission Order.
A final Commission Order may be stayed if the Commission grants a party’s petition requesting a stay of a final Commission Order or if an appellate court grants a party’s application for stay of a final Commission Order.

Patti Lynn Caesar v. PECO

PM 2/6/20
C-2017-2605462

Complainant objects to the installation of a smart meter due to health and safety concerns.

ALJ Heep found the Complainant did not meet burden that the installation of the smart meter would negatively affect her health or created safety concerns.


Complainant filed Exceptions alleging her requests for extensions during hearing were improperly denied, ALJ erred in number of exhibits she introduced, the Pro Hac Vice Motion was not timely and disputed 2 FOFs.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

-Even though her proposed exhibits were not admitted to the record, ALJ permitted the Complainant to testify about what she read and how she reached her conclusions that smart meter would be harmful.
- Complainant waived objection re: PECO expert.
- Pro Hac Motion was technical error in that it was not sought earlier but no prejudice to the Complainant.
- Exceptions to procedural history is without merit.
- No error in FOF 12 or 13; the FOFs were true at time ID was written and need not be revised.

Venini v PPL

PM 1/16/20
C-2018-3006469

Complainant refused installation of smart meter and disputed charges on installed meter.

ALJ Barnes granted Motion to Compel Discovery and dismissed the Complaint when the Complainant failed to comply with her Order.

Joint Motion: Sweet and Dutrieuille

ID modified; Complaint dismissed in part; remand.

While failure to comply with ALJ order is ample grounds for sanctions, dismissal of complaint is not justified in high bill complaint.
Sanctions would be appropriate/justified in complex litigated proceedings which are held to a higher standard (smart meter cases).
Sanctions only appropriate in high bill complaint in very specific circumstances.
Smart meter allegations dismissed for failure to comply with ALJ Order.
High bill allegations remanded for further proceedings.

Roberts v PECO

PM 1/16/20
F-2018-3001072

Complainant seeks rescission of Final Order dismissing Complaint disputing termination of service.

Petition denied

Did meet Duick standard.
No reason to disturb Final Order: Complainant refused to identify herself on the record and was combative at hearing.
No party can expect to proceed at hearing in a manner that obstructs the ALJ’s orderly conduct of the proceedings.
Incorrect charges were not raised in Formal Complaint.
Allegation that she did not receive the ID in a timely manner is without merit.

Walls v West Penn

PM 9/19/19
C-2018-3005059

Complainant alleged incorrect charges and reliability issues with his service.

ALJ Dunderdale dismissed for failure to appear.

ID adopted.

Lamac v Pike County

PM 9/19/19
F-2016-3006790

Complainant appeals BCS PAR alleging he cannot afford terms.

ALJ Calvelli directed a Level 1 PAR.

Complainant late filed Exceptions arguing due to ongoing dispute with local government and tenants, he cannot afford to pay more than $40 on arrears.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint sustained in part.
PUC has no jurisdiction over issues with local government or landlord/tenant.
Terms of Level 1 PAR consistent with Code.

DiSabatino v PECO

PM 9/19/19
C-2018-3005278
C-2018-3005452

Complainant disputes transfer of charges from a previous address to her current account. PECO asserts unpaid balance consists entirely of CAP arrears.

ALJ Guhl dismissed the matter for failure to appear. Complainant had contacted ALJ right before hearing but was directed to appear and explain why continuance was warranted.

Complainant filed Exceptions restating her complaint but did not explain why she did not appear. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed with prejudice.
ALJ has discretion to decide whether the Complainant’s failure to appear was unavoidable and whether permitting a hearing after a “no show” would prejudice the public interest or the interest of the other party.
Complainant made no attempt to explain absence from hearing to ALJ or in Exceptions “With prejudice” means the Complainant is barred from filing another complaint with the Commission raising the same issues or claims in the dismissed complaint.

Atuahene v PGW

PM 9/19/19
C-2018-3004601

Complainants alleged incorrect charges and request “independent investigation into the functionality of PGW’s meter and meter readings.”

ALJ Vero dismissed for failure to appear at 2nd scheduled hearing (1st hearing was continued at Complainants’ request to conduct discovery).

Complainants filed Exceptions offering various reasons for their late arrival at the PUC’s office for the hearing and arguing no hearing should have been scheduled until independent review of PGW meter.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed
Complainants waived the opportunity to participate in hearing.
No good faith effort to attend hearing.
Complainants knew a continuance was needed when they sought PGW’s position on the continuance but took no steps to notify ALJ.
Complainants knew of process having been granted a continuance.
Complainants made no attempt to conduct discovery of either an informal or formal nature which was the reason for the continuance.
Complainants have burden of proof and failed to respond to PGW’s request to access the meter so it could be tested.

Mercer v PGW

PM 9/19/19
C-2018-3004601

Complainant seeks PAR she can afford.

Special Agent Chiodo found $861.08 was CAP arrears and PUC PAR on $7,452.88 is prohibited under Code. Prior BCS PAR went into effect when not timely appealed. No CII or SCIC.

Complainant filed Exceptions simply stating she disagreed with the ID. PGW filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
SA properly applied Crawford.
Code does not permit 2nd PUC PAR.
Complainant also defaulted on 12 Company PARs since 2008.

Larson v PECO

PM 9/19/19
C-2017-2615206

Complainant objects to threat of termination for failure to permit PECO to install a smart meter at his residence arguing the meter is a defective product and fire hazard.

ALJ Heep dismissed the matter finding the Complainant did not establish that the installation of an AMI meter is unsafe or unreasonable.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing the standard should be “substantial evidence” and not “preponderance of the evidence. He also argued that PECO’s witnesses were rehearsed and biased since all were PECO employees. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Complainant must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the AMI meter PECO proposes to install is a defective product and will cause fires and therefore the installation of a smart meter constitutes unsafe or unreasonable service under Section 1501.
Complainant was qualified as an expert in the general field of microcircuits and the software which controls microcircuits. He offered only opinion testimony that the AMI is unsafe because he believes it is a rebranding of a previous AMI meter used by PECO.
Complainant admitted he is unfamiliar with the specifics of the proposed meter.
No record evidence to support his claim.
No reason to reverse ALJ ruling on sequestration of witnesses since witnesses were employees and no demonstration of the possibility of collusion.

Colbert v PECO

PM 9/19/19
C-2016-2561993

Complainant appears to except to 2016 Opinion and Order which dismissed 2015 Complaint objecting to the installation of a smart meter. Via letter, she advised the ALJ she would not attend hearing. PECO filed Motion to Dismiss.

ALJ Heep construed the Letter as a Petition to Withdraw and granted the request.

PECO filed Exceptions arguing that in addition to the withdrawal, the Complaint should be dismissed with prejudice. Complainant filed document that “all iterations against PECO are cancelled with prejudice.”

Exceptions granted; ID modified; Complaint dismissed.
Petition to withdraw Complaint affirmed.
All matters raised in Complaint cannot be raised in any future action to prohibit PECO’s installation of a smart meter at the Complainant’s residence.

Estate of Vesell v PPL

PM 8/29/19
C-2018-3006130

Complainant alleges PPL improperly terminated service and the delay in restoring service jeopardized late father’s art collection. She seeks civil penalties commensurate with alleged damage.

ALJ Buckley found service was unlawfully terminated on Friday; rep did not know how to issue restoration order during weekend. PPL has retrained employees re: process for estates and protocol for seeking management guidance. Complainant provided no evidence of the value of the art work or damage. PUC cannot award damages. Section 1501 violation warranted for failure to adequately respond to repeated attempts to restore service over weekend. Penalty of $7,000 assessed (the maximum $1,000 fine for the disconnection, each day of the four day outage, and both of the attempts to gain reconnection to which PPL did not timely respond.) Conduct may not have intentionally meant to cause inconvenience and emotional upset but its negligence has same affect on the Complainant.

ID adopted.

Tabone v Penelec

PM 8/29/19
F-2018-3001458

Complainant disputes responsibility for tenant’s balance billed while foreign load existed.

ALJ Vero found Complainant did not carry burden that foreign load did not exist and declined offer to leave record open to permit utility to investigate 2nd floor apartment.

The Complainant filed Exceptions arguing statements against interest in Contacts were hearsay and foreign load never existed. PPL filed Reply Exceptions.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Business records are exception to hearsay rule.
Complainant’s testimony was not credible.
Penelec’s actions were reasonable considering access to conduct investigation was denied.

Mohamed & Abdulrahman v PECO

PM 8/29/19
F-2018-3001318

Complainants allege incorrect charges and the establishment of a PAR without their consent.

ALJ Vero found the Complainants were entitled to refund of LPC but found CAP credit was properly calculated.

The Complainants filed Exceptions rearguing their position. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint sustained in part.
PECO did not terminate CAP enrollment; account was temporarily removed for failure to reverify income.
Complainants did enter into Company PAR which was a benefit to then by not requiring delinquent charges to be due immediately.
No record of any payment during the disputed period.

Ultimate Sports Company v PPL

PM 8/29/19
C-2017-2633651

The Complainant alleges PPL released confidential info to tenant and failed to issue bill from Jan to June 2015.

ALJ Barnes sustained the Complaint, ordered refund of $5,000 for incorrect charges and levied fine of $4,000. She also ordered PPL to establish a process to ensure password protected account info is not released.

PPL filed Exceptions disputing the fine and ordered refund.

Exceptions granted, in part; ID modified; Complaint sustained in part.
Civil fine reduced to $2,000.
Delay in billing was result of coding error in PPL’s billing software and had no bearing on disputed bill.
Refund not appropriate since no record evidence.
ID modified to remove violation of Section 54.8.
PPL did not violate Sections 1303 or 1304; differences in LPCs were de minimus and did not rise to level of rate discrimination.
Meter test should be standard when issue is accuracy of billed usage.
PPL violated its own policy by releasing info without written authorization.
No access means “no access” (rejected anyone can pay argument).
Establishing account in tenant’s name went against wishes of Owner/customer and violated Sections 1501 and 1502.
Section 1521 not applicable to commercial tenants.

Dissent Statement Sweet
PPL’s sharing of password protected account info with an unauthorized 3rd party did not rise to a violation of Code or warrant fine.
PPL rightly refused to terminate service because premise is occupied.
PPL never shared the kind of personal info that can be used for identity theft but limited the info to what was necessary to determine the tenant’s responsibility under the lease (kWh, time, charges etc.)
PPL made rational determination that it would have been unfair to both parties if PPL refused to place the account in the name of the tenant but terminated service to that tenant despite the tenant’s offer to pay the bill.
The decision to maintain service that benefitted the tenant violated no statue, regulations or order and caused no harm or prejudice. Maintaining service is within definition of adequate, efficient, safe and reasonable service.
PPL caught in middle of unseemly commercial dispute and only tried to navigate the situation, protecting its interest and those of its customers.

Robert Strydio v PPL

PM 8/29/19
C-2017-2633043

Complainant filed Petition for Rescission of Final Order denying Exceptions and dismissing Complaint for failure to appear.

Petition denied.

Complainant did not assert a factual or legal basis to support rescinding Final Order.

The Complainant waived opportunity to participate in hearing and did not contact ALJ to explain absence.

Richard Myers v PPL

PM 8/29/19
C-2017-2620710

Complainant seeks to prevent PPL from installing a smart meter at his residence and at his 11 rental properties. PPL argues there is no “opt-out” provision.

ALJ Barnes concluded the Complainant failed to sustain his burden of proof that PPL violated Section 1501 of the Code or that installing the smart meter would constitute unsafe or unreasonable service. Judge Barnes did recommend that PPL perform a sample audit on its past meter installations and meter base checks prior to setting any meters as an added precaution against fires caused by micro-arcing.

The Complainant filed Exceptions arguing the PUC should adopt the “Precautionary Principle” and err on the side of caution by permitting opt out. PPL filed Exceptions seeking to remove the ALJ’s safety recommendations.

Complainant’s Exceptions denied; PPL’s Exceptions granted; ID modified; Complaint dismissed.
To show AMI meter caused or will cause adverse health effect or harm a complainant must demonstrate by preponderance of the evidence a “conclusive casual connection” between harm and human health and RFs from AMI meter.
Precautionary Principle is not appropriate.
Preponderance of evidence relates to quality, not quantity, of evidence.
PPL’s expert testimony was not hearsay; relies on FDA and FCC Statements.
ALJ gave proper weight to the record evidence and was correct to give little weight to the Complainant’s expert.
ALJ recommendation re: fire safety is not supported by the record.
Motion to Reopen the record properly denied; supporting documentation had no evidentiary value and classic hearsay.
Complainant’s characterization of AMI signal was not based on any record evidence.

Glen DeHaven v PECO

PM 8/29/19
C-2017-2585680

Complainant filed Petition for Rescission of Order granting PECO’s Exceptions arguing he was unaware he was to respond to PECO’s Exceptions, was not notified of PM and the unfairness of his tenant not paying their electric bill for 10 months. He seeks “independent review” of Order. PECO filed Reply in opposition to the Petition.

Petition denied.
No factual or legal basis to grant relief.
Complainant had notice of ID and Exceptions.
Complainant’s due process rights were not violated; public meeting was duly noticed.
Complainant is responsible for the tenant’s charges billed while foreign load existed.

B. Susanne Spohn v. Met-Ed

PM 8/8/19
C-2018-3001725

Complainant refuses smart meter and objects to threat of termination. Complainant failed to comply with Orders that she provide witness information and respond to Discovery.

ALJ Watson found the Complainant’s failure to respond to Discovery and provide witness information demonstrates her lack of cooperation and willingness to participate in the proceeding as required by Commission regulations. He also found the Complainant’s non-compliance denied the utility the opportunity to prepare a defense. To proceed with a hearing would result in the denial of UGI’s due process rights.

ID adopted.

Jennifer Porta v. UGI

PM 8/8/19
C-2018-3003485

The Complainant alleges high bills and requests a Commission PAR. UGI contends the Complaint is barred by the res judicata doctrine.

ALJ Cheskis dismissed the Complaint and barred the Complainant from filing any further complaints concerning her arrears until she pays the outstanding account balance in full based on a finding that she abused the Commission’s complaint process.

Complainant requested an extension of time to file Exceptions alleging she had a decrease in income and the Company did not test the meter in her presence. UGI filed Replies to Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID modified; Complaint dismissed.
Res Judicata doctrine applicable. UGI is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
The ALJ should have dismissed based on res judicata grounds not on an abuse of process finding.
No Commission precedent in which a pro se complainant’s case was dismissed without first providing the opportunity for a hearing, solely based on an abuse of process finding.
UGI’s allegations of abuse deemed admitted; the Complainant did not file a reply to the New Matter.
Complainant filed ten formal complaints within past two years, requested multiple continuances in those proceedings, and failed to appear at scheduled hearings, which constitutes an abuse of process.
Appropriate to dismiss Complaint since Commission cannot grant 2nd PUC PAR.
No disputed material fact to warrant a hearing.
Child support was not included in the Complainant’s household income for PUC PAR.
Child support or other similar payments benefitting minors are not calculated into the household income under Section 1403.

Farassa Floyd v. PECO

PM 8/8/19
F-2018-3001465

Complainant filed Petition for Rescission of Final Order alleging she never received the ID.

Petition denied.

Complainant has not asserted a factual or legal basis to support rescinding Final Order.

The Commission records indicate that a Secretarial Letter and the ID were sent via certified mail. The Complainant signed the certified delivery receipt.

Jennifer Potora v. PAWC

PM 8/8/19
C-2017-2627873

Complainant alleged that PAWC was threatening termination and incorrect charges based on a non-functioning meter.

ALJ Salapa granted PAWC’s Motion to Dismiss for failure to participate in the scheduled hearing and found the Complainant had abused the Commission’s complaint process. He barred the Complainant from filing any further complaints concerning her arrears until she pays the outstanding account balance in full.

The Complainant filed Exceptions claiming she was not served the ID by certified mail and requesting more time to file.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed with prejudice.
The Complainant’s request for continuance the morning of the hearing was properly denied.
ALJ observed that Complainant’s conduct is similar to conduct in other complaint proceedings concerning other utilities in which Complainant also failed to appear after multiple continuances.
ALJ found that the circumstances support the conclusion that Complainant is filing meritless complaints to prevent or delay lawful termination.
The Commission properly served the ID via electronic service to which Complainant consented. Electronic service of documents constitutes valid legal service.
The Docket contains no notification that the ID failed to be delivered electronically.

Larry Moyer v. PPL

PM 8/8/19
C-2015-2511904

Complainant alleged PPL was threatening to terminate his utility service and failed to comply with the Commission’s virtual meter aggregation regulations on numerous occasions. Complainant requested, inter alia, that the Commission issue a public reprimand of PPL and establish a “fresh start” between Complainant and PPL.

ALJ Cheskis dismissed the Complaint finding the Complainant only offered general information to support his position and PPL presented detailed evidence to demonstrate how bills were aggregated.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing the ALJ incorrectly defined meter aggregation. PPL filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions granted in part, denied in part; ID modified; Complaint dismissed.
The ALJ correctly defined virtual meter aggregation.
ID modified to correct typographical error regarding the directed credit in compliance with the May 2016 Order.
Several of Complainant’s objections were previously dismissed in May 2016 Order.
The solar facility, an array of solar panels located several hundred yards away from Service Location and served by a separate meter, did not qualify as a “dwelling” under the terms of PPL’s residential rate tariff.
Account properly billed under General Service Rate Schedule and subject to demand charges.

Charles Barry v Met-Ed

PM 7/11/19
C-2018-3005410

Complainant alleges ME is not providing reasonable service due to excessive outages throughout its service territory. Met-Ed argues nine outages experienced in 24 months, six of which were outside its control.

ALJ Calvelli dismissed finding the Complainant did not carry burden noting his admission that his records were not correct.

Motion Sweet

Off ROW tree does not automatically exonerate utility of fault.
PUC review would have been aided by a more detailed evaluation to determine whether the utility had taken sufficient action to prevent the incidents in order to assign fault.
Corrective actions taken by company weighs in favor of finding that the outages were not excessive.
A violation of 1501 regarding unreasonable service is fact-specific as to the number of outages, their causes and the utility’s corrective actions. Order served on BIE for consideration if civil penalty is warranted for failure to meet benchmarks on a consistent basis.

Diana Cook v Penelec

PM 7/11/19
C-2018-30030151

Complainant refuses smart meter and objects to threat of termination. Penelec asserts Act 129 requires installation.

ALJ Watson dismissed with prejudice for failure to comply with his procedural order compelling responses to Penelec’s Discovery.

ID adopted.

Darlene Stanton v Penelec

PM 7/11/19
C-2018-3001144

Complainant refuses smart meter and objects to threat of termination. Penelec asserts Act 129 requires installation.

ALJ Watson dismissed with prejudice for failure to comply with his procedural order compelling responses to Penelec’s Discovery.

ID adopted.

Naughton v Penn Power

PM 7/11/19
F-2017-2609651

Complainant alleged incorrect charges and requested PUC PAR. Penn Power filed CSAT to which Complainant filed Objections.

ALJ Watson dismissed for failure to appear after rescheduling several times to make sure Complainant had proper notice due to the various addresses provided by the Complainant.

Motion Coleman

To remedy administrative error and to ensure due process provided to parties, Secretary’s Office directed to re-serve ID using both Oakdale and New Castle addresses for Complainant with 20 day period to file exceptions.

Floyd Tillman v PGW

PM 7/11/19
C-2018-3004383

PGW filed Petition for Rescission of Final Order since CSAT filed two months prior.

Petition granted.

Keary Willis v PECO

PM 7/11/19
F-2018-3003082

Complainant seeks PUC PAR. ALJ granted 1st continuance but denied 2nd request due to bogus documents. ALJ did permit the Complainant to participate by phone rather than appear at in-person hearing. Complainant did not participate by phone at scheduled hearing.

ALJ Vero dismissed Complaint with prejudice for failure to appear.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing she should be given opportunity to be heard and present arguments in support of her Complaint.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed with prejudice.
Within sound discretion of ALJ to determine if failure to appear was unavoidable and whether permitting a hearing would prejudice Company and/or public interest.
No abuse by ALJ who reasonably accommodated by permitting participation via phone.
Dismissed with prejudice so Complainant is barred from filing another complaint on same issues.

D. Anne Wilson v PECO

PM 7/11/19
F-2017-2633420

Complainant alleges incorrect and abnormally high charges on her account. PECO contends account correctly billed.

ALJ Vero found that the Complainant did not carry her burden of proof that her bills were inaccurate based on her usage history and potential load.

Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing her position and disputing the ALJ’s ruling not to admit her late-filed exhibits. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Complainant’s late filed exhibits A and B raise claims for the first time in Exceptions and are not before the PUC.
Complainant’s late filed exhibits A and C raise claim for billing credit not raised in complaint or at hearing.
PECO investigated and addressed the high bill and meter concerns during the three field investigations which confirmed meter functioning properly and no unauthorized foreign load.
Usage is consistent with historical range and any increase in billing was due to rate increase.

Alan Schmukler v PPL

PM 7/11/19
C-2017-2621285

Complainant seeks to prevent installation of smart meter and wants AMI meter removed from the party wall shared with his neighbor. PPL argues Act 129 requires installation of smart meter.

ALJ Barnes found that the Complainant did not carry his burden of proof that installation of AMI meter would be unreasonable or unsafe service under Section 1501.

Complainant filed Exceptions questioning ALJ’s judgment re: witness credibility and that PPL’s witnesses were more credible, and challenging ALJ recitation of law and application to the facts and that Complainant can advocate for the right to opt out of the smart meter program before the General Assembly. PPL filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID. PPL also filed Exceptions to ALJ taking judicial notice of safety standards from ANSI and UL because materials not matters of common knowledge or incontrovertible facts and ID did not need to make the fire safety recommendation based on the ANSI and UL standards since either adopted by PPL or unnecessary given PPL’s established practices and procedures.

Motion Sweet

ALJ judgment on credibility given deference based on her immediate impressions at the hearing. Where her judgment is supported by the quality of the witnesses’ curriculum vitae, familiarity with the subject matter and length of time in the relevant fields, it will be given great deference.
ALJ’s recitation of the law and application to the facts was correct.
PUC regs permit the taking of official or judicial notice, they also call for the notification of a party adversely affected, which party must be given opportunity to show that the facts are not properly noticed or that alternative facts should have been noticed.
As it qualifies only as hearsay without the two factors, reliance was misplaced and ID modified to remove that discussion.
Record does not support any attempt to instruct PPL regarding the proper method of installation of its equipment without appropriate technical expert testimony.
Complainant’s Exceptions denied; PPL Exception’s granted; ID modified and adopted; Complaint dismissed.

Theresa Gavin v PECO

PM 7/11/19
C-2017-2616249

Complainant alleges smart meter PECO wants to install creates safety and health concerns due to exposure to level of RF fields and violates her Fourth Amendment right to be free from searches. PECO argues Act 129 requires installation of smart meter.

ALJ Heep found that the Complainant did not carry her burden of proof that installation of AMI meter would be unreasonable or unsafe under Section 1501.

Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing her position that Bio Initiative Report 2012 and testimony before other state commissions support finding that AMI meter is unsafe. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Complainant did not offer any medical or scientific expert opinion testimony that her exposure to RF emissions caused or will cause adverse health effects.
Complainant’s testimony was lay opinion based on review of studies/articles from internet research.
ALJ correctly recognized that non-expert opinion testimony does not constitute competent evidence.
PECO credibly rebutted the Complainant’s testimony with expert testimony.
PUC does not have authority, absent directive in the form of legislation, to prohibit the utility from installing smart meter when the customer does not want one.
No provision in PA law to opt out.

Danjou v West Penn

PM 6/13/19
F-2018-3006430

Complainant appeals BCS PAR.

Special Agent Chiodo directed a Level 1 PAR on the post Chapter 13 arrears.

Motion Coleman

PUC lacks jurisdiction to order PAR if there is an active Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Petition even on the post-Petition arrears.

Brown v PGW

PM 6/13/19
C-2018-3006416

Complainant requests a PUC PAR. PGW contends that the balance consists of CAP and non-CAP arrears.

Special Agent Chiodo denied the request for a PUC PAR finding that the Complainant did not make a good faith effort to pay her gas bills consistent with Hewitt v PECO.

ID adopted.

Stewart v UGI

PM 6/13/19
C-2018-2642778

Complainant alleges the 2-month waiting period to switch NGS is unreasonable and wants switch effective immediately. UGI contends its actions were in compliance with its Tariff.

ALJ Johnson dismissed the Complaint finding UGI’s action were consistent with 59.94 (NGS timeframe requirement to switch) and Complainant’s position was based on his opinion of “how he would conduct business.”

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing it was error not to find the 2-month period to switch constituted unreasonable service, in spite of Tariff, given the financial harm to customers. UGI filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID and noted Exceptions did not except to any FOF or COL.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Complainant did not meet burden to show that Tariff is unreasonable.
PUC will be proposing changes in near future to accelerate the NGS switching process while preserving safeguards to prevent slamming.

Feitt & Mendoza v DQE

PM 6/13/19
F-2017-2636316

Complainants request a PUC PAR but contend they do not owe DQE any money for service arguing they signed and stamped their electric bill with the endorsement “ACCEPT FOR VALUE” and mailed the endorsed bill to DQE since “no legal tendered such as US currency.” DQE argue that its requirement that the Complainants pay their bills in US currency was a reasonable manner of payment.

ALJ Johnson found payment in US currency was a “reasonable manner of payment” and denied the request for a PUC PAR finding the Complainants refused to admit liability for their billed electric or the unpaid account balance, which are prerequisites to receiving a PUC PAR.

Complainant filed Exceptions, entitled “Commercial Affidavit of Truth” reiterating their arguments presented at hearing. DQE filed Motion to Quash since filing did not conform with Commission regs.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Motion to Quash granted in part; Complaint dismissed.
Since Complainants are pro se, filing was considered “exceptions” to secure just, speedy & inexpensive resolution.
Exceptions denied on merit.
56.94 does not specify the forms of payment to avoid termination. Only that payment must be in full and tendered by any reasonable manner.
DQE Tariff permits payment by US currency, check, money order and on-line payment options.
DQE payment methods are reasonable under Section 1501.
PUC PAR denied since no admission of liability and no plan to pay charges in US currency.
Motion to Quash granted in part, i.e. Complaint dismissed.

Arthurs v. Penelec

PM 5/23/19
C-2018-3004652

Complainant requests PUC PAR. Penelec objected since she defaulted on 2 Company PARs and a 2017 PUC PAR.

Special Agent Chiodo denied request finding no CII or SCIC.

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging she suffered a decrease in income from 7/2018 to 9/2018. Penelec filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Allegation of CII was not part of record evidence.
No good cause to re-open to consider new “facts.”
Chapter 14 does not permit 2nd PUC PAR.

Hoffman-Lorah v. PPL

PM 5/23/19
C-2018-2644957

Complainant objects to the installation of smart meter alleging smart meters are health hazards, cause fires and raise privacy and cyber security concerns. She requests an exemption arguing Act 129 requires customer to request a smart meter. PPL argued there is no opt-out and denying that smart meters have an adverse impact on health and safety.

ALJ Barnes dismissed the Complaint finding the Complainant did not carry her burden of proof. Act 129 does not permit opt-out and PPL can terminate service for failure to provide access for the meter exchange.

Complainant filed Exceptions restating her position. PPL filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Complainant’s entire testimony is predicated on hearsay and her exhibits were properly given no weight.
Complainant was not qualified as an expert and her testimony does not constitute an unequivocal opinion to support FOF that smart meter will cause her adverse health effects.
Proof of causation is required in order to prevail under Section 1501.
PPL met burden of evidence production and Complainant did not introduce further evidence to demonstrate a conclusive causal connection between smart meter and adverse health effects.
Act 129 does not allow customer to opt out from smart meter installation.

Ferguson v. PGW

PM 5/23/19
C-2017-2591174

Complainant filed Petition for Rescission of PUC June 2018 Order which dismissed her Complaint and found she was responsible for the entire arrears accrued on account while the tenant was customer of record and while foreign load condition existed.

Petition denied.
Petition simply reiterates arguments raised at hearing and in exceptions.
Not met Duick standard.
Utility has no obligation to obtain and review lease before accepting tenant’s application for service.
Utility is not required to separately notify or obtain the permission of the property owner/landlord before accepting the tenant’s service application.
Complainant created a mix use building and created the foreign load condition.
If owner fails to provide the required notice under Section 1529.1(a) to the utility, the utility is required to proceed as if such notice has been provided.
Utility prohibited from notifying or sending tenant’s bill to an owner.

Brenda & Herb Rohrbach v. PGW

PM 5/9/19
F-2018-3006723

Complainants alleged payment issue due to medical expenses and requested a PAR. PGW denied material allegations.

Special Agent Arnold found Complainants made a good faith effort to pay their bill ($10,169 payment posted 4/2/17) and directed a Level 3 PAR (12 months).

ID adopted.

Randall & Albrecht v PECO

PM 5/9/19
C-2016-2537666

Complainants refused smart meter installation due to health concerns and alleged service was subject to termination. They request an analog meter. PECO averred there is no opt out provision and that its actions were consistent with Act 129.

ALJ Heep found the Complainants due process rights were not violated, no record evidence that RF’s from smart meter cause health problems, and service was reasonable. ALJ denied request for an analog meter.

Complainants filed Exceptions rearguing their position and alleging the PUC should refrain from deciding the case due to the scientific issues. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID modified in part; Complaint dismissed.
Complainants were required to prove the allegations in her Complaint (i.e. RF exposure from smart meter caused or will cause adverse health effects) by a preponderance of the evidence. Krieder.
To prove utility service is unsafe, the focus is on whether the preponderance of the evidence demonstrates that a facility or service caused or will cause harm to the public. Povacz.
PUC rejected notion that if “potentially harmful” it is both unsafe and unreasonable under 1501.
Complainants’ due process rights were not violated.

Laura Sunstein Murphy v. PECO

PM 5/9/19
C-2015-2475726

Complainant refused smart meter installation due to health concerns and alleged service was subject to termination. She requests an analog meter. PECO averred there is no opt out provision and that its actions were consistent with Act 129.

ALJ Heep found Complainant’s due process rights were not violated, no record evidence that RF’s from smart meter cause health problems, and service was reasonable. ALJ denied request for an analog meter.

Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing her position and alleging the PUC should refrain from deciding the case due to the scientific issues. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID modified in part; Complaint dismissed.
Complainant was required to prove the allegations in her Complaint (i.e. RF exposure from smart meter caused or will cause adverse health effects) by a preponderance of the evidence. Krieder.
To prove utility service is unsafe, the focus is on whether the preponderance of the evidence demonstrates that a facility or service caused or will cause harm to the public. Povacz.
Complainant’s EHS testimony cannot be given any weight because it was based on self-diagnosis.
Dr. Prociuk’s diagnoses of Complainant’s EHS was based on her self-diagnosis and is not sufficient to establish she has EHS.
PUC rejected notion that if “potentially harmful” it is both unsafe and unreasonable under 1501.
Complainant’s due process rights were not violated.

Kimberly Beckman v. Met-Ed

PM 4/11/19C-2017-2638350

Complainant alleged service was subject to termination and refused smart meter installation due to health and safety concerns. Met-Ed averred there is no opt out provision and that its actions were consistent with Act 129.

Met-Ed filed a Motion to Compel for Complainant’s failure to respond to interrogatories. ALJ Watson issued Order granting Motion.

Met-Ed filed a Motion to Dismiss after Complainants failed to comply with Order requiring responses to the discovery requests. Met-Ed averred Complainant indicated an unwillingness and lack of intent to participate in the procedural process of the hearing.

ALJ Watson found Complainants failure to comply with Commission regulations and orders, and that allowing the Complaint to go forward would deny Met-Ed’s due process rights.

ID adopted.

Jan and Joyce Spirat v. Met-Ed

PM 3/28/19 C-2018-3005589

Complainants disputed the use of herbicides by Met-Ed on ROW due to health and safety concerns. Met-Ed denied material allegations and averred dismissal on the grounds of res judicata.

Met-Ed filed PO, asserting the current Complaint is barred by res judicata because the issue was litigated in a prior complaint.

ALJ Myers found the facts of Complaint’s case have already been adjudicated and are barred from relitigation by the principal of res judicata.

ID adopted.

Concurrent Statement Brown
Dissent in prior Order concluded that an alternative vegetation management process should be used considering particular facts of each case.
Res judicata precludes the adjudication of same facts a second time.

Jason Brooks v. PGW

PM 3/28/19 C-2018-3005106

Complainant requested PUC PAR for outstanding balance to restore service. PGW admitted Complainant’s service was terminated due to nonpayment and averred.

Complainant previously broke multiple Company PARs.

SA Chiodo denied Complainant’s request for a PUC PAR, finding poor payment history and inability to maintain the terms of four prior Company PARs.

ID adopted.

Phillips v. Penelec

PM 3/28/19 C-2018-3001726

Complainants allege service is subject to termination, incorrect charges, and request a refund of state taxes, settlement reimbursement from IDT Energy, and return of billed security deposit. Penelec denied material allegations and admitted service was terminated and then restored after payment was received.

ALJ Hoyer found termination and billing were proper. Complainants were not entitled to a refund of their security deposit, state taxes, or IDT energy settlement.

ID adopted.

Sojda and Lutzkanin v. Met-Ed

PM 3/28/19 C-2017-2638350

Complainants alleged service was subject to termination and refused smart meter installation due to health and safety concerns. Met-Ed averred there is no opt out provision and that its actions were consistent with Act 129.

Met-Ed filed a Motion to Compel for Complainant’s failure to respond to interrogatories. ALJ Watson granted the Motion to Compel.

Met-Ed filed a Motion to Dismiss after Complainants failed to comply with ALJ Order requiring responses to the discovery requests. Met-Ed averred Complainant indicated an unwillingness and lack of intent to participate in the procedural process of the hearing.

ALJ Watson found Complainants failure to comply with Commission regulations and orders, and that allowing the Complaint to go forward would deny Met-Ed’s due process rights.

ID adopted.

Elchanan and Ester Abergel v. PGW

PM 3/28/19 C-2018-3003563

Complainants allege incorrect charges for bills adjudicated in a prior PUC Order. Complainants further allege that they were not served PGW’s Exceptions to the prior order. PGW denied improper billing and averred dismissal on the grounds of res judicata.

PGW filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, asserting the current Complaint is barred by res judicata.

ALJ Salapa granted PGW’s Motion, finding the present complaint is an attempt to re-litigate the same billing issue resolved by the prior Order.

Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing their position. PGW filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
The prior Order was entered on May 22, 2018 at Docket No. F-2016-2547528.
The record reflects that the Complainants were served with a copy of the prior Order; they did not appeal or request reconsideration.
PGW submitted proof of service of its Exceptions to the prior Order.

Theresa Gavin v. PECO

3/28/19 C-2017-2616249

Complainant alleged service was subject to termination and refused smart meter installation due to health, safety, and privacy concerns. PECO averred there is no opt out provision and that its actions were consistent with Act 129.

ALJ Heep found PECO complied with Act 129 and found the smart meter installation would not constitute unsafe or unreasonable service.

PECO filed a petition for Limited Remand to address the pro hac vice admission of Thomas Carl Watson, attorney for PECO.

Petition granted; Remand.

  • PECO retained Thomas Carl Watson for a series of complaints to address negative health effects of smart meters.
  • PECO inadvertently failed to file a pro hac vice motion in this case.
Nira and Robert Eckstein v. PECO

3/28/19 F-2017-2601990

Complainant alleged service was subject to termination and refused smart meter installation. PECO averred there is no opt out provision and that its actions were consistent with Act 129.

ALJ Heep found PECO complied with Act 129 and found the smart meter installation would not constitute unsafe or unreasonable service.

PECO filed a petition for Limited Remand to address the pro hac vice admission of Thomas Carl Watson, attorney for PECO.

Petition granted; Remand.

  • PECO retained Thomas Carl Watson for a series of complaints to address negative health effects of smart meters.
  • PECO inadvertently failed to file a pro hac vice motion in this case.
Maria Povacz v. PECO

PM 3/28/19 C-2015-2475023

Complainant alleged service was subject to termination and refused smart meter installation due to health concerns. PECO averred there is no opt out provision and that its actions were consistent with Act 129.

ALJ Heep found Complainant’s due process rights were not violated, EF’s from Complainant’s smart meter were not causing health problems, but that some aspect of her smart meter was exacerbating ill health effects. ALJ directed PECO to absorb Complainant’s costs for relocating her meter.

PECO filed Exceptions arguing no record evidence that the smart meter would cause harm to Complainant. Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing her position. Both parties filed Reply Exceptions in support of their positions.

Complainant’s Exceptions denied; PECO’s Exceptions granted; ID modified in part; Complaint dismissed.
Complainant was required to prove the allegations in her Complaint by a preponderance of the evidence. Krieder.
Complainant’s EHS testimony cannot be given any weight because it was based on self-diagnosis.
Complainant failed to carry her burden of proof by not submitting additional evidence that RF exposure from her smart meter would cause adverse health effects.
No record evidence that supports finding that some other aspect of the smart meter was causing ill affects.
PECO not directed to absorb the cost associated with moving Complainant’s meter if she so chooses.

Kessler v. Met-Ed

PM 3/14/19
F-2015-3000867

Complainant seeks PAR and alleges large portion of bill was from 10 or more years ago. Met-Ed contends only 2 customer payments and 7 LIHEAP payments since 9/2014 and she defaulted on 2015 PUC PAR.

ALJ Haas found Complainant did not carry burden that Met-Ed sent bills to neighbor and she never raised issue in 2014 Informal which directed the Level 1 PAR which was not appealed.

Complainant filed Exceptions re-arguing position.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Complainant precluded from disputing charges incurred outside SOL.
Complainant never raised issue in 2014 Informal.
CII is not valid.
Met-Ed encouraged to work closely with Complainant in determining whether she qualifies for any low-income assistance.

Williams v. PECO

PM 3/14/19
C-2018-3000734

Complainant alleges incorrect charges and requested a PAR. PECO responded that delinquent balance consists entirely of CAP arrears.

ALJ Meyers granted continuance but denied request the day before the hearing to convert hearing to in-person. Complainant did not appear; ALJ dismissed for failure to prosecute.

Complainant filed Exceptions re-arguing position seeking in–person hearing.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed with prejudice.
Whether Complainant’s failure to appear at the hearing was “unavoidable” is a fact-based question.
ALJ has discretion to reschedule hearing if unavoidable.
Complainant never provided any explanation why he missed the telephonic hearing.
Complainant did not respond to ALJ Order affording him opportunity to explain his absence.

Sawyer v. PGW

PM 3/14/19
C-2015-2504851

In March 2015, PUC entered Order that found PGW erred when it removed the Complainant from CAP Program because 25% of home was used for law practice and ordered Account rebilled. Complainant alleges that PGW did not do rebill for 90 days and disagreed with PGW calculation that all arrears were not forgiven.

ALJ Vero found rebilling was correct but assessed $1,000 civil fine for PGW’s delay in rebilling the Account.

Complainant filed Exceptions disputing ALJ’s disposition of the pre-program arrears, LPCs for 3 months in 2015 and Motion to Disqualify ALJ since she ruled against the Complainant initially.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted.
Based on payment history, forgiveness only warranted 27 out of 48 months.
Complainant had duty to pay undisputed portion of bill and LPCs were lawfully billed.
Ruling denying Motion to Disqualify affirmed; ALJ decision was thorough and legally sound.

Mary Paul v. PECO

PM 3/14/19
C-2015-2475355

Complainant seeks reconsideration of PUC Order entered June 2018 that dismissed her Complaint and found PECO was required to install smart meter. Complainant alleges ex parte communications between PUC and utilities, PECO’s experts provided false testimony, other states permit “opt-out” and irregularities in admitting 2 non-PA lawyers.

Petition denied.
Petition does not meet Duick Standard.
Complainant was afforded due process.
Complainant offers arguments that are a continuation of her 1st Exception which was dismissed in June Order.
PECO acted properly by installing smart meter after PUC Order issued; the Petition for Reconsideration does not stay PUC Order.
June Order properly dealt with Complainant’s allegation that North Carolina permits “opt-out.”
Complainant’s attempt to admit testimony from 3 other proceedings previously denied.

Cynthia Oduwole v. PGW

PM 2/28/19
F-2018-3001419

Complainant, who has an active PFA, seeks PAR on balance of $15,255.16 which consists of arrears from 2 separate service locations.

ALJ Guhl found the charges correct and dismissed the Complaint.

Joint Motion Place & Sweet
ID reversed; Complaint sustained
PGW did not properly credit account for payments totaling $383.67.
Complainant not responsible for the theft of service since she did not reside at property and had active gas service at another address.
6 year PAR directed due to active PFA.
PGW encouraged to discuss all assistance program the Complainant may be eligible.

Dissent Coleman
Complainant lived at property for much of the tampering period and benefited from service.
ALJ did not find Complainant’s testimony persuasive regarding her role with meter tampering.
Receipts had “gas” written on them but money orders contained no info re PGW account and not reflected in PGW payment records.
PAR is never appropriate when any arrears are related to theft of service.

James Wolfgang v. Penelec

PM 2/28/19
C-2017-2613989

Complainant objects to the installation of smart meter due to health, safety, and environmental concerns and disputes termination. Penelec asserts that it is required to install smart meter and no “opt out” provision and Complainant was subject to termination due to refusal to permit smart meter installation. Penelec filed PO that its actions were consistent with Act 129.

ALJ Watson denied the PO but granted Penelec’s Motion to Compel to discovery requests and issued 3 Orders requiring compliance. Penelec filed Motion to Dismiss for Complainant’s failure to comply with the ALJ’s Orders.

ALJ Watson granted Motion to Dismiss.

Motion Brown
Remand; ID reversed.
Complainant requested a secure method to transmit medical documentation and received no guidance.
Complainant cautioned to respond to motions and orders or Complaint will be dismissed.

Statement Coleman
Complaint should be dismissed due to Complainant’s non-compliance.
Complainant’s raised confidentiality issue does not justify non-compliance.

Given lack of communication, Complainant should be given 20 days to inform PUC if he wishes to pursue his Complaint.

Shawn Mathis v. PECO

PM 2/28/19
C-2018-3001616

Complainant alleges foreign wiring at Service Location, and requests PUC PAR. PECO denied material allegations.

ALJ Johnson dismissed the Complaint, with prejudice, for failure to appear.

Complainant filed Exceptions requesting the hearing be rescheduled stating he could not attend because he recently obtained new employment. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
It is within the sound discretion of ALJ to decide whether the Complainant’s failure to appear was unavoidable and whether permitting a hearing after a “no show” would prejudice the public interest or the interest of the other party.
Complainant did not provide proof of new employment.
Complaint dismissed with prejudice; Complainant is barred from filing another complaint with PUC raising the same issues or claims as raised in dismissed complaint.

Chalmers A. Simpson Jr. v. PPL

PM 2/28/19
C-2017-2605855

Complainant disputed final bill from prior Service Location and requested PAR. PPL denied material allegations.

ALJ Buckley found the bill correct as rendered.

Complainant filed Motion for Continuance to File Exceptions, which was treated as a Petition for Rescission, requesting additional time to respond due to a vehicular accident.

Petition denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
§ 5.572(d) grants PUC authority to amend or rescind prior order. Duick.
Complainant did not state a date of injury to substantiate a time extension.
No reason to rescind the ID.

Janice Denito Branagh v. PECO

PM 2/28/19
C-2016-2576738

Complainant objects to the installation of smart meter against her wishes due to health concerns. PECO asserts that it is required to install smart meter and no “opt out” provision. PECO filed PO that its actions were consistent with Act 129.

ALJs Heep and Pell sustained PO regarding Complainant’s opt-out request and scheduled a hearing to address if smart meter installation constituted reasonable service, considering Complainant’s health condition.

ALJ Heep sustained the Complaint regarding installation of the gas meter after the Complainant disputed the installation and never informed her that the Physician’s letter was deficient. A civil penalty for violation of 1501 was assessed.

Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing her position. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Remand.

Matter remanded to address whether PECO’s attorney was admitted to practice in PA or sought pro hac vice.

Jacqueline Ruskey v. Penelec

PM 2/7/19
C-2018-3003153

Complainant alleged service was subject to termination and requested affordable PAR. Penelec admitted service was subject to termination and denied Complainant eligible for 2nd PUC PAR.

ALJ Johnson found Complainant eligible for PUC PAR for non-PCAP arrears finding the prior PAR did not become final due to CSAT.

Motion Sweet
ID Reversed.
BCS PAR was timely appealed but resolved with CSAT.
Terms of BCS PAR did not change, merely that terms would be enforced by utility which did not alter the terms of the PUC PAR
Appeal timely despite improper procedure; filed Formal instead of returning Review Forms.
Timely appeal of BCS PAR acts as an automatic stay of PAR terms.
BCS PAR becomes PUC PAR if: (1) not timely appealed; or (20) withdrawal of formal that appealed BCS PAR.
Arrearage subject to prior PUC PA so Complainant not eligible for new PUC PAR per Section 1405(d).

Dymtro V. Bova v. PGW

PM 2/7/19
C-2018-3002149

Complainant alleged service was subject to termination and disputed foreign wiring. Penelec admitted service was subject to termination due to foreign wiring.

ALJ Pell dismissed for failure to appear.

Complainant filed Exceptions requesting a new hearing and enclosed medical documentation excusing his failure to appear. PGW filed Reply Exceptions in support of rescheduling the hearing.

Exceptions granted; ID reversed; Remand.

Complainant’s letter to the Secretary’s Bureau explaining his absence was a good faith attempt to contact ALJ prior to the close of record.

Talitha Bradley v. PPL

PM 2/7/19
C-2017-2619994

Complainant alleged service was subject to termination and incorrect charges from a prior address. PPL denied material allegations.

ALJ Long found bills were correct as rendered and high balance due to Complainant’s poor payment history.

Complainant filed Exceptions requesting new hearing. PPL filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
PPL should work with Complainant to determine OnTrack eligibility since income requirement rules recently changed.
Record evidence supports finding that Complainant is responsible for balance.
No new or novel argument for another hearing; due process satisfied.

Bernice Wallace v. PECO

PM 2/7/19
C-2016-2552460

Complainant alleged service was subject to termination and requested a PAR. PECO denied all material allegations.

ALJ Vero found Complainant ineligible for 2nd PUC PAR because she defaulted on her prior PUC PAR.

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging there was an agreed upon PAR that was not honored. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Complainant defaulted on prior Company and PUC PARs.
No CII or SCIC.
No proof of agreed upon PAR.

Kimberly Parrish v. Penn Power

PM 1/17/19
F-2018-3000956

Complainant alleged threat of termination and requested a more affordable PAR. Penn Power denied material allegations and argues Complainant defaulted on prior PUC PAR.

ALJ Johnson found termination notice was proper and Complainant was not eligible for a new PAR because she did not experience a decrease in income.

Motion Brown
ID reversed; Complaint sustained in part.
PUC PAR was based on a 3 member household.
At time of hearing, Complainant alleged 4 person household due to residence of her Mother-in-law.
Mother-in-law is included within the meaning of dependent under Section 1403.
Dependent does not have to be “legal dependent.”
SCIC valid since number of dependents in household increased.
PAR reinstated and extended for 6 months.

Lekawa v. Penelec and Titan

PM 1/17/19
F-2017-2629733

Complainant alleged her account was slammed, incorrect charges and requested a PAR. Penelec argued PUC cannot direct PUC PAR since active Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

Titan denied slamming the account.

ALJ Barnes dismissed the complaint finding usage was consistent with seasonal changes; Complainant was not slammed because WPP correctly notified her of EGS change and her identity was verified. ALJ further found Complainant ineligible for PAR due to active Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding.

ID adopted.

James Rich v. PGW

PM 1/17/19
F-2018-3002258

Complainant requests PAR and a med cert hold on his account. PGW argues 3 med certs were presented.

ALJ Brandy found Complainant not eligible to receive a PUC PAR per Section 1405(d) or hold for med cert.

Complainant filed Exceptions requesting a new hearing because he was unable to fully participate due to a death in the family. PGW filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Complainant did present testimony and exhibits at hearing.
Complainant defaulted on prior PUC PAR.
CII or SCIC not valid.
Company not required to accept 4th med cert.

William Reviello v. PPL

PM 1/17/19
F-2017-2636807

Complainant disputes responsibility for tenant’s balance due to foreign wiring. PPL argues that its actions were consistent with Section 1529.1 and PUC precedent.

ALJ Calvelli found Complainant responsible for foreign load charges and PPL did not delay verifying correction.

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging the foreign wiring was limited to one light bulb and PPL delayed in verifying the correction.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Record evidence did not support request to modify ID that foreign wiring was limited to a single light bulb.
There is no de minimus exception to Section 1529.1.
No judicial latitude to consider equity or fairness when determining foreign load.
No delay of PPL because no electricity was used from verification to correction of foreign wiring.

Adam Kessler v. PECO

PM 1/17/19
C-2017-2630792

Complainant alleged inability to pay and meter inaccuracy. PECO contends Complainant has pending Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding so not eligible for PUC PAR.

Complainant emailed PECO a request to withdraw Formal Complaint, which was forwarded to ALJ Guhl.

ALJ Guhl granted Complainant’s request to withdraw.

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging his request to withdraw was based on a misrepresentation that PECO would offer a Company PAR. PECO filed Reply Exceptions denying the misrepresentation arguing a Company PAR could not be entered into due to active Chapter 13 Petition.

Exceptions granted; ID reversed; Remand.
PUC ignored the defects of the Petition that did not comply with Section 5.94.

Factual dispute exists regarding basis for petition to withdraw.

Loneda Allen v. PGW

PM 1/17/19
C-2017-2627743

Complainant requested a subsequent PAR or an extension of current PAR. PGW argued the Complainant is not entitled to either under Section 1405.

ALJ Brandy found Complainant was not entitled to a new PUC PAR or extension as she did not experience CII or SCIC.

Complainant filed a Petition for Rescission rearguing her position that she only defaulted on PUC PAR due to unexpected expenses for daughter beginning college.

Petition denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
PUC lacks discretion to waive Section 1405(d).
PUC lack of discretion does not equate to indifference.

Statement Brown
Expense for college does not qualify as CII or SCIC.
Utilities asked to work with customers when possible.

Statement Place
Customer exhibited a good faith payment history and Company should work with her to have her pay incrementally to fully satisfy the arrearage.

Victor Oliver v. Penelec

PM 1/17/19
F-2017-2595557

Complainant timely requested a more affordable PAR. Penelec denies 2nd PUC PAR permitted.

ALJ Salapa denied PAR since balance includes CAP arrears.

Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing his position. Penelec filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Motion Brown
Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complainant dismissed.
Two hearings were held for this matter.
Exceptions contained no arguments or evidence to reverse ID.

Glenn DeHaven v. PECO

PM 1/17/19
C-2017-2585680

Complainant disputes responsibility for tenant’s balance due to foreign wiring. PECO verified foreign wiring and lawfully transferred correct balance.

ALJ Cheskis granted PO and dismissed the Complaint. Complainant filed Exceptions alleging part of the transferred balance was accrued by the tenant at another property. PUC granted Exceptions in part and directed remand to address Complainant’s allegation.

On Remand, ALJ Cheskis found Complainant was not responsible for $1,602.80 of the tenant’s balance which accrued at a different address.

PECO filed Exceptions arguing the transferred balance only related to charges while foreign load at Service Location.

Exceptions granted; ID reversed; Complaint dismissed.
PECO properly applied tenant’s payments for prior service under settlement rules and Section 56.24.
Transferred balance only contained charges from Service Location while foreign load existed.
PECO’s action consistent with Section 1529.1.
The operation of Section 1529.1, while punitive in nature, provides motivation for the owner to correct the foreign load situation resulting from the wiring, plumbing or piping for which the owner is responsible.

Kimberly Vohrer v. PECO

PM 12/20/18
C-2018-3001422

Complainant alleges threat of termination, disputes bills and requests PUC PAR. PECO denied material allegations.

ALJ Vero found Complainant’s bills correct, denied PUC PAR, and directed PGW credit late payment charges assessed while account was enrolled in CAP.

ID adopted.

Tyson Price v. PGW

PM 12/20/18
C-2018-3000263

Complainant alleges termination of service and requests PUC PAR. PGW denied service was terminated and PAR cannot be directed due to CAP arrears in delinquent balance.

ALJ Jones found Complainant not eligible for CAP due to mixed arrearage and poor payment history.

ID adopted.

Shenik Harvey v. PECO

PM 12/20/18
C-2018-3002514

Complainant alleges threat of termination and requests PUC PAR. PECO contends there are CAP arrears in delinquent balance.

SA Arnold dismissed Complaint with prejudice for failure to appear.

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging she was hospitalized during the initial hearing and requesting a new hearing. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID averring Complainant failed to provide medical documentation in support of her absence.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • Complainant had the responsibility to contact ALJ to explain absence before issuance of ID.
Amy Grainda v. Penelec

PM 12/20/18
C-2018-3000992

Complainant requests PUC PAR. Penelec denied PAR eligibility on mixed arrears due to poor payment history and multiple defaulted Company PARs.

ALJ Buckley dismissed Complaint with prejudice for failure to appear.

Complainant filed Exceptions requesting a new hearing, alleging she had the wrong phone number for the initial hearing. Penelec filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • Complainant had the responsibility to contact ALJ to explain absence before issuance of ID.
Peter Mimmo v. PECO

PM 12/20/18
C-2018-3000900

Complainant alleges reliability or safety problem. PECO denied material allegations.

ALJ Pell dismissed Complaint with prejudice for failure to appear.

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging violation of due process and that PECO misled him regarding the hearing. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • Complainant’s Exceptions alleged bad faith of PECO for the first time.
  • Complainant had a responsibility to contact presiding officer regarding absence prior to issuance of ID.
Mandy Botts v. PPL

PM 12/20/18
F-2017-2620661

Complainant requests 2nd PUC PAR due to change in income. PPL averred Complainant had the most advantageous PAR to which she was entitled.

ALJ Dunderdale granted 2nd CII PUC PAR. ALJ issued an Errata Notice correcting Complainant’s income calculation to exclude spousal support.

PPL filed Exceptions averring child and spousal supports should be included in the household income calculation for PUC PAR.

Exceptions granted in Part; ID revised; Complaint sustained.

  • Income of minor child from SSI and state assistance are not part of household income for calculating PUC PAR.
  • Level 1 PUC PAR directed.
Vilma Mary Demarco v. PECO

PM 12/20/18
C-2017-2613087

Complainant disputes foreign wiring charges. PECO denied material allegations.

ALJ Cavelli dismissed Complaint with prejudice for failure to appear.

Complainant filed a Petition for Reconsideration seeking 2nd hearing.

Petition denied.

  • Complainant did not provide explanations for why she prematurely terminated the call with the ALJ and did not provide support for her alleged health conditions.
Audrey McKee Orr v. Peoples

PM 12/20/18
C-2017-2583759

Complainant alleges damage to her property due to a gas main replacement project and inadequate notification regarding the project and meter replacement. Peoples denied all material allegations.

ALJ Haas found the gas main replacement did not impact Complainant, so Peoples was not responsible for damages and notification was not required. ALJ further found Peoples violated § 59.18(a)(2) for failure to notify Complainant in writing of meter exchange.

Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing her position. Peoples filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions granted in part; ID modified; Complaint sustained in part.

  • When service will be interrupted, affected customers must be notified consistent with § 59.12.
  • Verbal notice satisfies § 59.12(b).
  • Peoples violated § 59.18(a)(2) for failure to notify Complainant in writing of the of meter replacement.
  • Fine not warranted for technical violation.
Kenneth McClean v. PGW

PM 12/20/18
C-2016-2539492

Complainant filed Petition seeking to nullify PUC Order entered 11/13/17 alleging (1) lack of due process; (2) lack of sufficient evidence; (3) violation of the FCRA; and (4) PGW failed to rebut Complainant was a nomad. PGW responded in support of the Order.

Petition denied.

  • Complainant did not meet Duick standard.
  • ALJ properly addressed inaudible moments during the hearing.
Brackleyautowerks v. WPP

PM 12/6/18
C-2018-3002467

Complainant alleged incorrect charges from EGS. WPP denied material allegations and averred that the customer was a corporation and required to have an attorney representation in adversarial proceeding.

ALJ Johnson dismissed the Complaint due to the Customer’s failure to appear at the hearing noting the request of a non-attorney for a rescheduled hearing noting that the request must be made by licensed attorney.

ID adopted.

Victor Ruffin v. PGW

PM 12/6/18
F-2018-2646481

Complainant alleged he was not responsible for unauthorized gas usage for the period October 2004 to June 2014. PGW contends service was terminated for nonpayment in 2017, and found a meter bypass when Complainant requested restoration and billed the Complainant based on the historical usage from 2004-2017.

ALJ Pell found Complainant purchased the property January 24, 2007 and was responsible for unauthorized usage charges from 2007-2014, but not responsible for prior charges. Complainant’s presence at the Service Location is insufficient to attach financial responsibility for theft of service charges. A property owner, having dominion and control over a service address is responsible to have known, or should have known, of tampering and theft of service occurring at the property.

ID adopted.

Phyllis Maddox v. PGW

PM 12/6/18
F-2017-2636304

Complainant disputes responsibility for tenant’s balance due to foreign wiring and requests PAR. PGW denied material allegations and averred it verified foreign load at the Service Location.

ALJ Guhl found PGW properly billed Complainant after the discovery of the foreign load. Complainant is a level 4 customer and 6-month PAR directed.

ID adopted.

Kimbrell Francis v. PGW

PM 12/6/18
F-2017-2622398

Complainant alleges incorrect charges arguing the bills for the 3 separately metered units are excessive and do not make sense. PGW denied material allegations.

  • ALJ Buckley found Waldron test not met. Billing correct and the varied square footage and appliances within each unit is the reason for billing differentials.
  • A termination notice is not an appropriate method to determine if a customer needs service.

ID adopted.

Christy McGriff v. DQE

PM 12/6/18
F-2017-2613135

Complainant alleges company miscalculated the household income, charges too much for electric service and threatened to termite her service. DQE denied all material allegations.

ALJ Dunderdale ALJ reopened the record before issuing the ID to obtain evidence regarding CAP percentage calculation, CAP percentage application to the Complainant, and Complainant’s income. She found Complainant’s CAP arrearage was accurate and DQE appropriately reduced required monthly payments when Complainant informed it about reduction in household size.

Complainant filed Exceptions in support of her position. DQE filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

NOTE: No Entered Order On PUC Website

Otis Johnson v. PGW

PM 12/6/18
C-2017-2605672

Complainant alleges incorrect billing. PGW denied all material allegations.

ALJ Vero granted Complainant’s Motion to Withdraw his Complaint after successful settlement discussions. Complainant specifically testified that he no longer wished to file a complaint.

Complainant filed Exceptions simply stating he was “not satisfied with the outcome or manner in which it was conducted.” PGW filed Reply Exceptions averring that Complainant’s Exceptions state no error of fact or law and that the public interest would not be served by reopening the record.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • Exceptions do not provide PUC with any specific info on which to evaluate his position and he failed to identify any error of fact or law to support a new hearing.
  • PUC regulations permit a party to withdraw pleadings by permission of the presiding officer.
  • No argument presented to reopen the record.
Clyde Wenger v. Source Power

PM 12/6/18
C-2017-2601754

Complainant alleges his account was slammed by Source, fraudulent misrepresentation and requested EGS contract termination without fees. Source denied material allegations and specifically averred that Complainant was a non–residential account.

ALJ Barnes found the Complainant was a residential customer, met his burden of proof, and could terminate EGS contract without fees. ALJ directed a civil penalty of $2,000.

Source filed Exceptions averring (1) the representative that spoke to Complainant was from a different EGS; (2) Complainant signed a contract for a non-residential entity; (3) ALJ did not allow it to enter evidence regarding the civil penalty. Source agreed to terminate the EGS contract without fees.

Motion Sweet

Exceptions granted in part; ID reversed in part; Complaint dismissed.

  • The dispute is settled because Source terminated the contract without fees, which is the remedy Complainant was seeking.
  • Complaint is satisfied, eliminating the assessment of a civil penalty.
Frederick Altland v. Met-Ed

PM 12/6/18
C-2017-2582828

Complainant alleges unreliable service, incorrect charges, and budget billing illegality. Met-Ed denied all material allegations.

ALJ Johnson found Complainant did not meet his burden of proof and abruptly adjourned the hearing due to Complainant’s contemptuous conduct.

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging denial of due process and PUC bias. Met-Ed filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • All participants in the low income program must be enrolled in budget billing.
  • ALJ can exclude a participant for contemptuous conduct under 52 Pa. Code § 1.26(a).
  • Complainant displayed disrespectfulness for the proceeding and continuously interrupted testimony of Met-Ed.
KA at Fairless Hills LLC v. PECO

PM 11/8/18
C-2017-2592335

Complainant alleges PECO violated Section 1303 of the Code for failing to bill at the most advantageous rate. PECO denies all material allegations.

ALJ Vero found PECO violated §§ 1501 and 1303 when the Company did not allow Complainant to choose the most advantageous rate for its service. ALJ directed refund of $22,000 to the Complainant and a fine of $4,000.

PECO filed Exceptions averring it had a duty to assist Complainant in making rate decisions once it was notified of the change in service conditions.

Motion Sweet

Exceptions granted, in part: ID reversed; Complaint sustained in part.

  • Customer has duty to inform utility when circumstances change and to seek review of appropriate rate schedule.
  • Once contact is made, the utility has duty to address the situation as quickly as possible by providing the rate most advantageous to the customer. Where the rate change can be made quickly and easily, it should be done.
  • PECO’s actions were consistent with its tariff and its obligations under the Code until July 2016, when it should have applied a separate rate schedule upon request of customer.
  • PECO to reimburse or credit Complainant the difference between the Rate HT and Rate GS for the time period July 13, 2016 to the application of the Rate GS.
Thomas Baker v. PECO

PM 11/8/18
C-2016-2573166

Complainant alleges inadequate service when PECO responded to a hot socket alarm at the Service Location and disputes the billed security deposit. PECO denies all material allegations and avers that PECO personnel responded appropriately to the alarm.

ALJ Pell found PECO personnel acted appropriately while communicating about and investigating the alarm and security deposit was lawful.

Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing his position and alleging bias. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Motion Coleman

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • Complainant security deposit was not unreasonable service.
Richard Wendell v. DQE

PM 10/25/18
C-2018-3002839

Complainant alleges DQE’s base rate case did not include an environmental component and requested DQE amend its vegetation management plan. DQE denied all material allegations. DQE filed PO averring Complainant lacks standing and its vegetation management plan was approved by the PUC.

ALJ Dunderdale granted PO finding Complainant did not have standing and did not allege a code violation.

Motion Sweet

ID suspended.

  • Complainant has 30 days to inform PUC if he wishes to prosecute his Complaint as a standalone case.
  • Complainant must show standing as a ratepayer or property owner.
Richard Enstrom v. Penelec

PM 10/25/18
F-2015-2520981

Complainant alleges high billing for August and inadequate customer service. Penelec denies all material allegations.

ALJ Watson found billing was proper but found Penelec violated 1501 and assessed a $500 fine for failure to provide adequate customer service when Complainant contacted Penelec about high billing and for failure to notify customer of meter removal and test results.

Penelec filed Exceptions averring that it adequately responded to Complainant’s inquiries and Complainant’s testimony was not credible. Penelec argued the fine should be reversed because the finding of inadequate service was not based on record evidence. Complainant’s Wife filed Reply Exceptions reiterating Complainant’s position and arguing that his testimony was credible.

Motion Sweet

Exceptions denied in part; ID vacated; Remand.

  • Month to month usage comparison is insufficient, must be of one two-month period to an identical period in other years.
  • Penelec must perform a high bill investigation to be included in the record.
  • Penelec should have the opportunity to fully address meter replacement.
Lydia Jackson v PGW

PM 10/4/18
F-2018-2646638

Complainant seeks PUC PAR to restore service. PGW seeks full balance of $17,047.75 since Complainant defaulted on 2 PARs.

ALJ Brady found $876.74 was CAP arrears and denied request for PAR based on poor payment history, inability to pay and/or likeliness to default. Only 3 payments since 2015.

ID adopted.

Dissent Statement Place

  • The 3 payments equate to $30 monthly based on very limited income (76% of FPG).
  • Payment made after termination further shows good faith effort.
  • PUC cannot prejudge whether complainant will stay current with a PAR and should not be a deciding factor in whether to direct a PUC PAR.
  • In this case, Complainant has never had PUC PAR and should be granted one to restore service prior to upcoming winter heating season.
Nidza Megron v PGW

PM 10/4/18
C-2017-2637116

Complainant alleged that PGW agreed to restore service for payment of $489.23. She seeks PUC PAR to restore service. PGW argues that full account balance of $12,252.64 is required consistent with Section 1407.

ALJ Pell denied request for PUC PAR finding that the only payments made in 2017 was returned for non-sufficient funds and she defaulted on 3 Company PARs and unlikely she could honor a 36-month PAR based on limited income.

ID adopted.

Statement Place

  • Inability to pay or likeliness of default is not standards that guide how PUC rules on PUC PAR requests.
  • PUC cannot prejudge whether complainant will stay current with a PAR and should not be a deciding factor in whether to direct a PUC PAR.
  • In this case, Complainant has not established a good faith effort, which is current standard on deciding whether PUC PAR is warranted where termination has already occurred.
Mossette Mason v PGW

PM 10/4/18
C-2017-2613650

Complainant requests PUC PAR on mixed arrears ($7,172 non-CAP; $4,124 CAP).

ALJ Guhl denied PUC PAR on non-CAP arrears based on payment history.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing her LIHEAP grants shows good faith effort to pay bill and food stamps should not be included in income. PGW asserts Complainant defaulted on prior Company PARs and had not made a customer payment since 2013.

Exceptions granted in part; ID modified; Complaint dismissed.
Six payments, regardless of whether customer or LIHEAP, over 39 months does not reflect good faith effort to make payments.
Food stamps are not included in calculation of gross household income.
PUC has discretion to deny PAR for non-CAP arrears based on Complainant’s poor payment history.

Dissent Statement of Place

  • LIHEAP payments (more than $800 in 2 years) reflect good faith to pay down balance.
  • PUC should have granted PUC PAR on non-CAP arrears.
James Elliott v Penelec

PM 10/4/18
F-2017-2597039

Complainant alleged Penelec refused to provide him with results of its meter testing and wanted meter to be tested by an independent company and adjustment to his bill. He also claimed that the meter readers are taught to turn up meters so they record more usage at customer’s homes. Penelec denied allegations; meter was removed and tested meter and results were sent to him.

ALJ Hoyer found the Complainant not meet burden and found his testimony not credible.

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging his due process rights were violated, accuses the ALJ of treating him unfairly and discrimination based on his race and his disabilities. He also raises new issue that Penelec terminated the employment of its meter reader because she provided info to Complainant about turning up the meters. Penelec filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Complainant did not present sufficient evidence to support allegation that meter was not accurate or that Penelec “turns up” its meters.
Meter was removed and tested and results were within Penelec’s and PUC accuracy guidelines.
Penelec’s testing facilities and meter testing are in compliance with PUC regs.
No record support that Penelec turns up its meters.
Complainant only offered assertions and unsubstantiated opinion.
Penelec’s expert witness testified it is not possible to adjust a smart meter because they have a non-adjustable calibration that con only be set by the manufacturer at the factory.
Record has no mention of Complainant’s race or disability.

  • No record evidence that Penelec’s counsel intimidated him over the phone.
Nancy Colbert vs. PECO

PM 10/4/18
C-2016-2561993

Complainant seeks reconsideration of prior order granting PECO the authority to install a smart meter at her residence. Prior Order dismissed Complaint without hearing on allegations that installation of smart meters cause adverse effects to her health, safety and privacy rights.

Petition granted; Prior Order rescinded; remand for hearing
Prior Order entered prior to Commonwealth Court decision in Romeo v Pa PUC.
Remand for hearing to permit customer to offer evidence in support of her allegations that the installation of a smart meter will cause adverse effects to her health, safety and privacy rights.

Calvin E. Hayes v PGW

PM 9/20/2018
C-2017-2634526

Complainant alleges incorrect charges and seeks 2nd PUC PAR.

ALJ Pell dismissed incorrect charges and denied 2nd PUC PAR.

Motion Sweet

ID modified

  • Dismissal of incorrect charges affirmed.
  • SCIC is appropriate since HH size increased.
  • Affirmed no CII
  • 6-month extension of PUC PAR warranted.
Robert Kuhn Jr. v DQE

PM 9/20/18
C-2017-2610584

Complainant objects to reasonableness of removing tree, voltage on line, challenged the width of the ROW and requested environmental assessment. DQE argued PUC lacked jurisdiction regarding property rights.

ALJ Salapa dismissed matter.

Complainant filed Exceptions and DQE filed Reply Exceptions restating positions.

Motion Sweet

Exceptions granted in part, ID reversed in part; remand to OALJ

  • Remand to determine safety impact of the proposed tree removal, including erosion of soil and sedimentation, safety hazards and steps DQE proposed to implement in order to comply with Section 1501.
Raymond Kochis v. DQE

PM 9/20/18
C-2017-2601038

Complainant alleges incorrect charges and the newly installed meter caused his furnace to turn on when he was out of town increasing his usage.

ALJ Dunderdale dismissed matter finding Waldron test not met; disputed charges were not unreasonably high ($2.16 difference) when compared to prior 12 months.

Complaint late-filed exceptions, which were treated as petition for Reconsideration.

Petition denied.

  • Duick Standard not met.
  • Raises same claims dismissed by ALJ in ID.
Robert Mattu v WPP

PM 9/20/18
C-2016-2547322

WPP filed Petition for Reconsideration of PUC Order converting complaint into petition for relief, which prohibited WPP from using herbicides at Complainant’s property.

Joint Motion Sweet and Place

Petition granted; Order revised to sustain complaint

  • Mr. Mattu carried his burden of proving that the risk of herbicides ending up in his drinking water if WPP used those herbicides on the ROW crossing his land was too great to permit.
  • WPP plan to clear-to-clear the ROW crossing is a violation of Section 1501.

Joint Dissent Coleman and Kennard

  • Duick standard met.
  • Majority fail to explain how the work plan was unreasonable based on the record evidence or why the opinion testimony of layperson outweighs the testimony of multiple expert witnesses.
  • Joint Motion does not satisfy Section 703(e) that requires findings of facts based on record evidence.
  • Majority unclear what the minimum, safe distance the PUC deems appropriate before herbicides can be used.
  • Not aware of any legal prohibitions on the use of herbicides as proposed by WPP.
  • PUC should develop rules for the use of herbicides by public utilities through rulemaking as opposed to individual customer complaints.
Marlene Broman v WPP

PM 9/20/18
C-2015-2485454

Complainant objects to the removal of trees in the Company’s ROW.

ALJ Watson dismissed the objections but found WPP violated Section 1501 and assessed a $5,000 fine.

Both parties filed Exceptions restating their respective positions.

Motion Sweet

WPP Exceptions granted in part; ID reversed; Complaint dismissed

  • Issue is the actions of WPP in subsequent treatment of the Complainant.
  • WPP witness did not have or see WPP policy and instead relied on the contractor specification book for the tree removal.
  • Uncertainty was caused by inconsistent info in WPP brochure and statements of employees.
  • WPP brochure inconsistent with statements re: width of ROW and vegetation is controlled.
  • WPP failure to provide consistent, clear plan to be followed violates Section 1501.
  • Utility communication must be clear and the work plan reasonable.
  • Fine eliminated as WPP violations were not egregious or serious violation.

Dissent Statement Coleman

  • Complaint should have been dismissed based on res judicata since present complaint raises same issues as 2013 Formal.
Tim Schweitzer v PPL

PM 8/23/18
F-2017-2633996

Complainant requests PUC PAR and alleges incorrect charges and a reliability, safety, or quality problem with his electric service. PPL argued account had been enrolled in CPA.

ALJ Johnson denied request for PUC PAR on non-CAP arrears due to poor payment history. He found load potential supported usage. A momentary voltage drop when AC was started does not affect amount of power a customer consumes.

ID adopted.

Whaumbush v PECO

PM 8/23/18
C-2017-2622269

Complainant alleges PECO is threatening to terminate service and requests PUC PAR. He also alleges the account is his deceased wife’s account and he is not responsible. PECO contends Complainant defaulted on 3 Company PARs and 1 PUC PAR and the Complainant resided at property and benefited from service.

The Complainant did not appear at the scheduled hearing. An hour after the hearing ended, the Complainant called the ALJ stating he could not attend the hearing due to his lack of heat and that his condition at the time of the hearing resulted from the low temperature, prevented him from taking part in the hearing.

ALJ Johnson dismissed the Complaint, with prejudice, for failure to appear.

Complainant filed Exceptions requesting the hearing be rescheduled stating he could not attend because of personal medical emergency with his 94 year old mother-in-law. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
It is within the sound discretion of ALJ to decide whether the Complainant’s failure to appear was unavoidable and whether permitting a hearing after a “no show” would prejudice the public interest or the interest of the other party.
Complainant offered conflicting reasons why he could not attend the hearing.
Complaint dismissed with prejudice; Complainant is barred from filing another complaint with PUC raising the same issues or claims as raised in dismissed complaint.
If a complainant’s failure to appear was unavoidable or if the complainant made a good faith attempt to appear, PUC has acknowledged that the public interest is better served when all litigants, particularly pro se litigants, are afforded a meaningful opportunity to be heard.

Jerry Reed v West Penn

PM 8/23/18
C-2017-2616261

Complainant alleges he was overcharges in comparison to his actual usage and the Company PAR was unaffordable. West Penn contends Complainant not entitled to another PUC PAR having defaulted on prior PAR.

ALJ Salapa dismissed the Complaint finding the Complainant failed to produce any evidence that his bills were incorrect and not entitled to PUC PAR consistent with 1405(d). He also found the decrease in income was less than 10% and no significant change in circumstances.

Complainant late filed Exceptions, which were treated as Petition for Reconsideration stating that he was filing exceptions due to unforeseen circumstances and change in income. West Penn filed reply ion support of ID.

Petition denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Petition fails to meet Duick standard for reconsideration.
Section 1405(d) prohibits 2nd PUC PAR since no demonstrated change in income or significant change of circumstances.

Maxwell v PGW

PM 8/23/18
C-2017-2607397

Complainant requests an affordable PAR. PGW argues balance contains CAP arrears.

ALJ Vero found Complainant did not qualify for PUC PAR for non-PCAP based on her horrendous payment history.

Complainant filed Exceptions restating her contention that she is unable to make payments and requests a PAR.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Section 1405(a) authorizes but does not require the PUC to issue a PAR.
Issuance of PUC PAR is exercise of PUC discretion.
PUC exercises discretion judiciously, particularly in mixed arrears cases, out of concern for the rate burden to be borne by other customers due to a utility’s uncollectible expense resulting from unpaid customer arrearages.
Last customer payment was in 2008; beyond applying for grants, Complainant exercised little good faith effort to pay for her gas service.
Complainant has evaded PGW’s collection activities by filing numerous informal and formal complaints entering into PARs and settlement agreements with out any intention of honoring them and by submitting a series of bad checks in lieu of payments.

Statement Place

  • SSI payments to minors are not to be considered part of the household income consistent with Section 1403 definition of household income.
Wade De Loe v PECO

PM 8/23/18
F-2016-2581905

Complainant alleges unlawful termination because PECO sent notices to service address and not mailing address. PECO denied the allegation and contends the Complainant created the situation by not permitting the exchange of the meter.

ALJ Dunderdale found PECO violated the notice provisions of Section 1406 and did not timely restore service. A $5,000 fine was assessed.

PECO filed Exceptions arguing the Complainant knew of the reason for the termination, 3 day notice was posted and PECO was justified in not restoring service service until the Complainant arranged for the meter exchange.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint sustained.
Complainant was not properly notified consistent with Section 1406 since notice was not sent to mailing address.
5-month delay in restoring service was unreasonable service especially since service was unlawfully terminated.
Fine affirmed to prevent future violations from occurring.

Amber Cozart v. PGW

PM 8/2/18
C-2018-2646671

Complainant untimely appealed BCS decision seeking 2nd PUC PAR. PGW asserts Complainant defaulted on prior PUC PAR.

Special Agent Arnold denied request based on CII or SCIC.

Motion Place

Remand: ID vacated.

  • Not enough record information re “bedbug infestation which could qualify as SCIC is premise sustained catastrophic damage.”
  • Record unclear if SSI for minor was included in determining gross household income.
  • Question if PGW correctly calculated CAP payment amount.
Kelvin E. Thomas v. PGW

PM 8/2/18
F-2017-2611788
C-2017-2621275

PGW appealed BCS Decision, which reduced theft of service charges. Customer appealed subsequent BCS Decision alleging incorrect charges.

ALJ Guhl granted PGW’s Complaint and dismissed Complaint with prejudice for failure to appear at the consolidated hearing.

Motion Sweet

Remand; ID vacated.

  • Timely appeal of BCS determination is de novo.
  • Discussion that PGW met its burden of proof is unnecessary and inaccurate since no part of informal proceedings can be relied upon.
  • BCS decision does not stand if timely appealed and not prosecuted.
  • Multiple attempts of service to Mr. Thomas were returned as undeliverable.
  • Remand to OALJ to start proceedings over.
Jackson v. Met-Ed

PM 8/2/18
C-2015-2477998

Complainant alleged unreasonable service regarding vegetation management, harassment based on race and requested damages. Met-Ed denied violation of Code or regulations.

ALJ Buckley issued First Interim Order directing a prehearing conference, where he determined the case was not read to be heard. ALJ’s Second Interim Order clarified the PUC authority and directed Complainant to file an amended complaint. ALJ’s Third Interim Order included potential consequences of failure to respond to discovery requests and comply with Orders. ALJ’s Fourth Interim Order directed Met-Ed to file its motion to dismiss.

Met-Ed filed a Motion to Dismiss for failure to comply with PUC Orders or respond to discovery requests. Complainant did not respond to Motion.

Motion Brown Remand; ID reversed. Second Interim Order misstates PUC authority to resolve allegations of harassment due to race.

  • § 1502 prohibits utilities from subjecting any person to “unreasonable prejudice or disadvantage.”
  • Pro se litigants cannot be expected to plead their case or respond to counsel like an attorney.
  • Complainant cautioned he would be better served if he produces requested information to the best of his ability.

Statement Place

  • PUC has jurisdiction to adjudicate complaints alleging discrimination.
Nancy Ziebari v. PECO

PM 8/2/18
C-2017-2617281

Complainant refused smart meter installation alleging health and privacy concerns. PECO denied material allegations and asserted it was required to install smart meters.

Complainant submitted request to withdraw. ALJ Heep granted the request after holding a telephonic hearing.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing typographical errors and requesting PECO be directed not to install a smart meter at the Service Location. PECO filed Reply Exceptions arguing Exceptions were attempt to circumvent process by requesting judgment without hearing which violated PECO’s due process rights.

Exceptions granted in part; ID modified; Complaint dismissed.

  • Exceptions re: typographical errors granted.
  • PECO’s due process rights would be violated by granting Exceptions to preclude the Company from installing a smart meter at the Service Location.
  • Dismiss without prejudice, which holds open the opportunity to refile should her situation and health permit.
Wonda Howell v. PGW

PM 8/2/18
C-2015-2477998

Complainant alleged payments were not properly applied. PGW averred that Complainant’s prior balance was lawfully transferred to her account, she was enrolled in CAP, broke the CAP agreement and service was terminated.

ALJ Heep found Complainant’s payments were lawfully applied to her account.

Late-filed exceptions treated as Petition for Rescission; Complainant disputes responsibility for prior balance, CAP agreement and violation of due process rights.

Petition denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • § 703(g) grants PUC authority to amend or rescind prior order. Duick.
  • ALJ properly developed record showing payments posted during applicable periods in dispute.
April Jackson v. DQE

PM 7/12/18
C-2018-2644080

Complainant simply checked the box “incorrect charges” on her Complaint. DQE filed PO for insufficient specificity under § 5.101(a)(3).

ALJ Salapa granted PO and ordered Complainant to file an amended complaint within 20 days. ALJ issued 2nd Order that failure to file comply with the Order would result in dismissal of the Complaint.

ALJ dismissed the Complaint for failure to comply with ALJ Order.

ID adopted.

Dissent Brown

  • Company billing records provide sufficient information for a Company to respond to a Complaint. Elliot.
  • ALJ relies on recent cases which provide that a Complaint can be dismissed if the Complainant ignores ALJ’s order to file an amended complaint.
  • The revised PUC Complaint instructions and recent cases do not reverse the decision in Elliot.
  • No precedent tantamount to strict liability authorizing dismissal when customer checks box but fails to provide exacting and detailed information.
  • Dismissal without hearing is harsh request for pro se litigant.
Alexandre Foursevitch v. Met-Ed

PM 7/12/18
C-2017-2623270

Complainant alleged health complications due to smart meter installation and requested the meter be replaced with an analog meter. Met-Ed denied material allegations.

ALJ Cavelli granted Met-Ed’s Motion to Compel and ordered Complainant to file discovery responses. ALJ issued a second Order directing the parties to provide witness information.

Met-Ed filed its first Motion to Dismiss for Complainant’s failure to comply with ALJ’s order. ALJ granted the Motion in part and directed the Complainant to provide the information previously ordered.

ALJ granted Met-Ed’s second Motion to Dismiss for Complainant’s failure to comply with ALJ’s Order and dismissed the Complaint with prejudice.

ID adopted.

PGW v. William Madison

PM 7/12/18
F-2017-2611805

PGW appeals BCS decision, which reduced charges due to theft of service.

ALJ Gulh found there was meter tampering, unauthorized use dated back before the timeframe provided by BCS and PGW’s leak survey would not have discovered tampering at an earlier date.

ID adopted.

Concurrence Brown

  • PGW strongly recommended to establish internal policy to monitor dormant accounts.
  • Theft of service hurts utility and ratepayers financially but also poses danger to the public due to likelihood of gas leaks.
Robert Strydio v. PPL

PM 7/12/18
C-2017-2633043

Complainant alleges service is being threatened with termination, PPL employees refused to respond to account inquiries and requests a PAR. PPL averred a termination notice was sent, prior PAR was issued and requested PUC deny the Complaint.

ALJ Salapa dismissed with prejudice for failure to appear.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that he was unable to attend the hearing due to medical emergency and requested a new hearing. PPL filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed with prejudice.

Joint Motion Sweet and Kennard

  • Complainant did not present a reason why he failed to contact the OALJ to explain his absence or seek continuance.
  • Commission can excuse absence if unavoidable; Complainant did not express an unavoidable excuse.

Dissent Brown

  • Complainant Exceptions should be granted because his medical emergency was an unavoidable absence.
Alice Anderson v. PECO

PM 7/12/18
F-2017-2614241

Complainant alleges service is being threatened with termination, incorrect charges and high bill. PECO denied material allegations.

ALJ Heep dismissed with prejudice for failure to appear.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that she was unable to attend the hearing due to hospitalization and requested a new hearing. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.
Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed with prejudice.
Joint Motion Sweet and Kennard

  • Complainant did not present a reason why she failed to contact the OALJ to explain her absence or seek continuance.
  • Commission can excuse absence if unavoidable; Complainant did not express an unavoidable excuse.

Dissent Brown

  • Complainant should have 10 days to submit proof of her absence due to hospitalization to prove it was unavoidable.
Clem Marable v. PGW

PM 7/12/18
C-2017-2609460

Complainant alleges incorrect charges on his bill, PGW improperly placed the account in his name, and requests PUC PAR. PGW admitted Complainant eligible for PUC PAR, account was put in Complainant’s name at his request, and denied incorrect charges.

ALJ Myers dismissed with prejudice for failure to appear.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that he was unable to attend the hearing due to hospitalization and requested a new hearing. PGW filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed with prejudice.

Joint Motion Sweet and Kennard

  • Complainant did not present a reason why he failed to contact the OALJ to explain his absence or seek continuance.
  • Commission can excuse absence if unavoidable; Complainant did not express an unavoidable excuse.

Dissent Brown

  • Complainant should have 10 days to submit proof of his absence due to hospitalization to prove it was unavoidable.
Simmons, et al v. UGI

PM 7/12/18
C-2017-2605783

Complainants alleged service was terminated, incorrect charges and requested PUC PAR. UGI admitted that service was terminated due to meter tampering.

ALJ found termination was proper, evidence of bypass, correctly charged the Complainants lawfully restoration fee, and denied PAR since no evidence of household income.

Complainants filed Exceptions restating their position and arguing immaterial errors of the record. UGI filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions granted in part; ID modified; Complaint dismissed.

  • PUC PAR not appropriate when charges due to tampering and theft.
  • Property owners are responsible to monitor tampering or theft of service at the property. Fassett.
  • Complainant, not police or utility, is responsible for unauthorized use and cost to renew service.
Binelli v. Met-Ed

PM 7/12/18
C-2017-2597097

Complainant disputed responsibility for tenant balance and argued he should only be responsible for a de minimus amount of the balance. Met-Ed denied material allegations.

Met-Ed filed PO arguing legal insufficiency because Complainant admitted to foreign wiring and MetEd appropriately transferred tenant’s balance to account in Complainant’s name.

ALJ Myers sustained the PO and dismissed the Complaint.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing Met-Ed’s actions increased the final balance, Met-Ed had an obligation to determine if foreign wiring existed and PUC interpretation of § 1529.1 is contrary to legislative intent. Met-Ed filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID and noted Complainant waited to notify the Company of corrected wiring.

Exceptions granted in part; ID modified; Remand.

  • Remand to determine timing of when verification of foreign wiring was corrected and when service was taken out of owner’s name.
  • § 1529.1 protects tenants from loss of service due to another customer’s termination.
  • § 1529.1 provides an incentive for a landlord to correct foreign wiring.
  • There is no de minimus exception to § 1529.1. Ace Check Cashing.
  • MetEd has no obligation to provide a property owner an opportunity to remediate foreign wiring before an investigation.
  • Complainant has an affirmative duty under § 1529.1 to notify the Company of corrected wiring.
  • The Company has no responsibilities for customers’ facilities beyond the service point. § 57.28.
  • §§ 1521-1533 do not allow the PUC to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants.
  • “Not individually metered” has long been interpreted by PUC.
  • Question of fact so dismissal without hearing not appropriate.
Benjamin Saggese v. Penelec

PM 7/12/18
C-2017-2592357

Complainant alleged service was subject to termination and incorrect charges. Penelec denied material allegations.

ALJ Watson dismissed the Complaint with prejudice for failure to appear.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing he mistakenly waited for ALJ to call him. Penelec filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
It is within the sound discretion of the ALJ to decide whether the Complainant’s failure to appear was unavoidable and whether permitting a hearing after such a “no-show” would prejudice the public interest or the interest of the other party.
Absent the record showing that the Complainant was provided clear notice and instruction to advise the ALJ before the close of the record if the Complainant’s failure to appear at the hearing was due to an unavoidable circumstance, the filing of exceptions would appear to be the proper procedural vehicle for the Complainant to explain why he missed the hearing. 52 Pa. Code § 5.533.
The statements in the Complainant’s Exceptions, on their face, do not show the occurrence of an emergency medical situation or other exigent circumstance, but rather a lack of diligence.
The Complainant’s effort in waiting to be called by the presiding officer on the day of the hearing does not amount to a “good faith” effort to attend the hearing.
He was provided clear, step-by-step instructions to call into the telephonic hearing and a clear warning that the ALJ would not call him directly.
The rules, which ensure notice and due process, must be followed by all complainants, whether or not they have counsel.
Showing up for a hearing is among the most basic of the Commission’s requirements. Geary.

Statement Brown-concur in result only

  • Complainant absence was not unavoidable.
  • Complaint should be dismissed without prejudice because Complainant is pro se.
Sherry and Lenny Trocki v. UGI

PM 7/12/18
F-2016-2574307
C-2016-2578856

Complainants alleged service was terminated and requested a PUC PAR. UGI admitted that service was terminated and averred Complainants were not eligible for a new PAR.

Special Agent Waldemar granted second PUC PAR. UGI filed Exceptions asserting the Complainants did not satisfy the balance of the prior PAR, they are applicants for service, and they failed to appear at a previous hearing.

Exceptions granted; ID reversed; Complaint dismissed.

  • Crawford appropriate when customer seeks PUC PAR under Section 1407 to restore service.
  • Complainants did not demonstrate a change in income or SCIC to justify a second PUC PAR.
  • Complainants failed to appear at a prior case and Final Order considered conclusive evidence that they are not entitled to PUC PAR. Howell.
Eartha Page v. PECO

PM 7/12/18
F-2016-2571178

Complainant alleged her service was terminated and requested PAR. PECO admitted termination and denied material allegations.

Complainant requested a continuance the day of the hearing due to a flat tire. ALJ Guhl granted continuance.

ALJ Guhl dismissed the Complaint with prejudice for failure to appear at the continued hearing. Complainant contacted ALJ after the hearing concluded to indicate she was in the lobby at the time of the hearing.

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging she was in the PUC lobby at the time of the hearing. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID and denying that anyone was in the lobby at the time of the hearing.

  • Remand appropriate due to lack of specific instruction for being admitted into the hearing room in both Hearing Notices but was stated in the PHO.
  • Complainant appeared in building but was mistaken as to the hearing location like Wiggins and Yomari Then.

Dissent Coleman

  • Remand for 3rd hearing is prejudicial to PECO’s interest and the public.
  • Complainant’s absence was not unavoidable.
Debbie Hughey v. PGW

PM 7/12/18
C-2016-2567445

Complainant alleged incorrect charges, high bill and reliability issues. PGW filed Answer and PO denying material allegations and averring the PUC lacks jurisdiction.

ALJ Salapa sustained the PO in part, dismissing claims prior to 2013 and claims concerning liens on the property.

ALJ Pell found Complainant’s testimony not credible that PGW tampered with meter, proper termination, lawful billing and reliable service.

Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing her position. PGW filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • ALJ appropriately found Complainant’s credibility doubtful because she refused to answer questions to which she knew the answer.
  • Large balance due to nonpayment and increased usage.
  • Exceptions attempt to introduce extra-record evidence after record closed.
  • PGW’s actions in establishing service, installing meter, responding to 2 gas leak calls and termination were appropriate.
John McGee v. PPL

PM 7/12/18
C-2016-2549952

Complainant disputes responsibility for tenants’ balance due to foreign wiring. PPL averred that its actions were consistent with § 1529.1 and PUC precedent.

ALJ Johnson dismissed the Complaint finding Complainant’s testimony not credible and balance transfer proper.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing a typographical error of the ALJ, he sent PPL the foreign wiring correction form, could not get an evicted tenant to sign the form and should not be responsible for the tenant’s balance. PPL filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • Tenant affirmation of foreign load correction is not required. Franckowiak.
  • Company should follow foreign load policy from Ace Check Cashing.
  • Company’s six month delay notifying the Complainant of its foreign load discovery was too long and potentially prejudicial to owner.
  • Fine not considered since Complainant did not carry burden.
  • Lack of timeliness did not relieve owner of financial responsibility.
Pearce Yost v. Penelec

PM 6/14/18
C-2017-2633652
C-2016-2535253

Complainant disputed responsibility for prior account balance that was previously disputed in a prior Complaint. Penelec averred the prior proceeding was dismissed with prejudice, Complainant’s Exceptions were denied, and Final Order was entered. Penelec filed Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings arguing res judicata.

ALJ Hoyer granted Motion finding the issues had already been adjudicated.

Statement Sweet

  • Prior Complaint was dismissed for failure to appear.
  • Section 316 supports the dismissal of a second Complaint on the same subject matter because PUC order remains “conclusive upon all parties affected thereby, unless set aside, annulled or modified on judicial review.” Howell v. PGW.

Statement Brown - Dissent

  • Res judicata should not apply if Complainant failed to appear.
  • Section 316 cannot sustain decision because no facts were presented to create prima facie evidence.
  • Complaint raises additional allegations separate from first Complaint.
Jerome Hardison v. Penelec

PM 6/14/18
F-2017-2624561

Complainant alleged incorrect charges due to malfunctioning meter. Penelec denied material allegations.

Complainant’s wife requested a continuance the day prior to the hearing due to work obligation. A legal assist spoke with Complainant before the hearing and Complainant stated his wife could attend. Neither Complainant nor his wife appeared at hearing.

ALJ Dunderdale dismissed with prejudice for failure to appear.

Statement Coleman

  • Non-participation is excusable if non-attendance is unavoidable and interests of the public and other parties would not be prejudiced.
  • Dismissing without prejudice or remanding when those conditions are not met goes against statutory interpretation.
  • It was reasonable to rely on Complainant’s representation that his wife would appear.

Statement Brown - Dissent

  • Complaint should be dismissed without prejudice.
  • Work conflict qualifies as good cause for continuance.

Statement Sweet

  • PUC should consider developing guidelines for determining legitimate excuses for seeking a continuance.
Maria Morales v. PGW

PM 6/14/18
F-2017-2623492

Complaint alleges PGW removed meter and disputed billing. PGW alleged meter was removed due to meter tampering and Complainant was billed bypass charge.

ALJ Brady found Complainant’s meter was tampered and bypass charges were appropriate.

Motion Sweet

  • The total amount of estimated usage should be calculated from February 2016 at the CRP rate.
  • PGW’s failure to investigate zero usage for 3 years constitutes unreasonable service.
  • Complainant made CAP payment for 23 months after meter stopped recording.
Loretta M. Ferguson v. PGW

PM 6/14/18
C-2017-2591174

Complainant disputes responsibility for tenant’s balance due to foreign wiring. PGW averred that foreign wiring was discovered on August 5, 2016.

ALJ Heep found the Complainant responsible for the foreign load charges from October 2015 through March 2016. ALJ found the Complainant is not responsible for the charges after March 2016 when the tenant took full control of the property.

Complainant filed Exceptions disputing tenant as a customer of record; alleging improper notice of the foreign inspection, lack of notice of landlord’s obligation, the landlord cooperation program prevents responsibility of tenant’s bill; and requesting an explanation of charges. PGW filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID and noted the existence of foreign load.

Exceptions denied; ID modified; Complaint dismissed.

  • Complainant responsible for foreign load charges from October 2015 through September 2016, when tenant changed residences.
  • Utility is not required to obtain a copy of a lease or deed from applicant.
  • Complainant created mixed metering situation by leasing restricted residential access of a portion of the building, while the other portion was used to run a separate commercial business.
  • ALJ misapplied Drogaris to find foreign load did not exist in August 2016 because tenant had full control over the building. The unit where the tenant resided was their residential unit.
  • The utility is not responsible for educating property owners on tenant’s rights.
  • Complainant’s bill explanation claim is dismissed without prejudice.
Ross E. Schell v. PPL

PM 6/14/18
C-2017-2592821

Complainant alleged reliability issue with service and requested 17 years of bill payback for unreliable service. PPL denied material allegations.

Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing his position. PPL filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • ALJ limited Complaint to reliability issues after March 8, 2017, date docket closed for last formal Complaint.
  • Neither party provided evidence of outage after March 8, 2017.
  • Section 1501 does not require perfect service.
Ross E. Schell v. PPL

PM 6/14/18
C-2016-2566320

Complainant alleged reliability issue with service and requested 17 years of bill payback for unreliable service. PPL denied material allegations.

ALJ Watson dismissed Complaint finding the 4 momentary interruptions did not constitute unreasonable or inadequate service.

Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing his position, alleging the ALJ of bias, and alleging PPL’s witness of lying. PPL filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • Section 1501 does not require perfect service.
  • Interruption of service and variation in supply can occur and not every interruption, outage or variation is per se a violation of Code.
  • Complainant declined volt recording meter installation.
  • Complainant did not report alleged momentary interruptions.
Eric Hudson v. PECO

PM 6/14/18
C-2016-2555083

Complainant alleges incorrect charges and requests PUC PAR. PECO denied material allegations and averred dismissal on the grounds of res judicata.

ALJ Heep dismissed with prejudice for failure to appear.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that he was unable to attend the hearing due his daughter’s medical issue and requested a new hearing. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Motion Coleman

  • Exceptions denied; ID affirmed; Complaint dismissed with prejudice.
  • Commission will excuse absence if it was unavoidable; absence was not unavoidable.
  • Further delay is prejudicial to the Company and the public.

Statement Brown

  • Complaint should be dismissed with prejudice.
  • No prehearing order issued by OALJ; prehearing order not required but deviation from prehearing order process.
Mary Paul v. PECO

PM 6/14/18
C-2015-2475355

Complainant objects to installation of smart meter alleging they are unsafe and unreasonable. The Complaint included questions to the Company regarding smart meter installation. PECO asserts it is required to install smart meter and no “opt-out” provision.

Prior Order remanded for hearing on Section 1501 allegations. ALJ Heep found smart meter installation safe, reasonable, and there is no “opt-out” provision.

Complainant filed Exceptions disputing the disallowance of the First Amended Complaint, exclusion of Dr. Marino’s extra-record testimony, evidentiary weight of Dr. Talmor’s testimony, and ALJ’s failure to consider harmful effects of an AMI meter on her property. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • Complainant failed to meet burden of proof.
  • Smart meter installation is not unreasonable or unsafe.
  • PECO acted in accordance with Act 129 and there is no “opt-out” provision.
  • Well-settled that when a customer refuses a utility access to its meter, the utility may terminate service after required notice is provided.
  • Company’s use of unlicensed technicians to install AMI meters is reasonable.
  • There is a difference between a biological effect and a health effect.
AG/OCA v. BPE

PM 6/14/18
C-2014-2427655

Complainants alleged Blue Pilot (1) failed to provide accurate pricing information; (2) pricing did not conform to disclosure statement; (3) made misleading and deceptive promises on savings; (4) lacked good faith in handling complaints; (5) failed to comply with Telemarketer Registration Act. The Complainants request refunds for the relevant customers and civil penalties. Blue Pilot denied material allegations and argued the disclosure statement was an updated version of the PUC approved disclosure.

ALJs directed a civil penalty of $2,554,000 and remit $2,508,449 into a Refund Pool, where Administrator shall distribute funds within 180 days of receiving funds. The company’s EGS license is revoked permanently.

Blue Pilot filed Exceptions averring the PUC (1) exceeded their statutory authority; (2) violated constitutional protections of Blue Pilot; (3) violated their due process rights; and (4) ignored the requisite evidentiary standard. RESA filed a Petition to Intervene and Exceptions. Reply Exceptions were filed by the Joint Complainants in support of the ID.

Motion Coleman

  • Exceptions granted in part; ID reversed, in part; Complaint sustained in part.
  • ALJs correctly finds Blue Pilot disclosure statement did not comply with PUC regulations 54.5(c), 54.43(1), and 111.12(d)(5).
  • The disclosure language similar to the language in Enrico Partners, not the language in DuBois Manor.
  • Price charged by Blue Pilot was not consistent with PJM market conditions.
  • PUC has authority to regulate some aspects of EGS. HIKO v. PUC.
  • PUC Regulations impose requirements on EGS dispute procedure.
  • Section 111.7 allows a supplier to verbally enroll customers.
  • ID requirement of a “wet” signature is not supported by the Telemarketer Registration Act.
  • Penalty is disproportionate to the civil penalty in other polar vortex complaints.
  • The license revocation is overbroad.
  • This is not considered a class action lawsuit.
  • Blue Pilot should prioritize payment of refund pool over civil penalty.
Tyrone Brown vs. PGW

PM 5/17/18
F-2018-2641015

Complainant disputes his responsibility for gas charges incurred in 2009. PGW filed PO arguing the Complainant is barred by the SOL and PUC is divested of jurisdiction if the action is brought more than 3 years from the date the liability arose.

ALJ Salapa granted PO finding the Complaint raises issues that are outside the subject matter jurisdiction of the PUC. ALJ treated PO as Motion for Summary Judgment.

ID adopted.

Ron Richards vs. DQE

PM 5/17/18
C-2017-2616828

Complainant alleged incorrect charges from the transfer of charges incurred at a prior residence for service in wife’s name. Complainant requests PUC PAR. DQE filed an Answer denying all material allegations.

ALJ Buckley found the balance transfer was proper and denied PUC PAR.

Complainant filed Exceptions claiming he enrolled in CAP post-hearing. DQE filed Reply Exceptions contending the Exceptions rely on inadmissible offers of settlement and non-record evidence.

Exceptions denied; ID granted; Complaint dismissed.

  • Complainant does not dispute he resided at property while charges incurred on wife’s account.
  • Complainant previously defaulted on 3 PUC PARs. Complainant is not entitled to another PAR as there was no change of income.
K & J Pizza vs. PECO

PM 5/17/18
C-2015-2501838

Complainant alleged their service was being threatened and improper billing for service. PECO denied material allegations averring the Complainant, as a Corporation, must be represented by counsel. PECO filed a Motion for Judgement on the Pleadings rearguing Complainant’s need for Counsel. The hearing was continued and counsel was obtained. Complainant filed an Amended Complaint alleging (1) numerous estimated bills; (2) high bills; (3) improper billing for service not rendered; (4) improper withholding of security deposit; and (5) improper late payment charges. PECO filed an Answer denying material allegations.

ALJ Vero found service was inadequate due to numerous estimated bills and dismissed the Complaint regarding all other claims.

Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing his position. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.M

Exceptions denied; ID modified; Complaint sustained in part.

  • PECO fined $2,000 for providing inadequate service in failing to timely correct communication issue with meter resulting in estimated reads for more than 15 months.
  • ALJ correctly found the charges incurred from service at another business were properly transferred because the businesses were affiliated.
  • ALJ misapplied Section 3314 of Code, barring the Complaint because not brought within 3 year SOL. Under Section 1312, 4 year SOL applies in a refund proceeding.
  • LPC and SD were lawfully billed.
  • Complainant had potential for load; billing correct.
Catherine J. Frompovich v. PECO

PM 5/3/18
C-2015-2474602

Complainant objects to installation of smart meter due to potential medical impact, fire hazard, and reliability issues. PECO asserts it is required to install smart meter and no “opt-out” provision.

Prior Order remanded for hearing on Section 1501 allegations. ALJ Heep found smart meter installation safe, reasonable, and there is no “opt-out” provision.

Complainant filed Exceptions disputing evidentiary rulings and findings of fact, alleging ALJ Barnes was biased, the record should be reopened, and that smart meters produce “dirty electricity.” PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID and disputing allegations of bias.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • Complainant failed to meet burden of proof.
  • Complainant qualified as an expert in nutrition, natural healing, and cancer treatment from that perspective.
  • Smart meter installation is not unreasonable or unsafe. PECO acted in accordance with 129 and there is no “opt-out” provision.
  • Well-settled that when a customer refuses a utility access to its meter, the utility may terminate service after required notice is provided.
  • Some of the emissions of concern do not emanate from AMI meters and any emissions are miniscule, harmless, and measure significantly less than those to which an average person is exposed daily.
Eugene A. Haygood v. PGW

PM 5/3/18
C-2017-2614769

Complainant alleged PGW threatened to terminate service and requested a PUC PAR. PGW denied incorrect charges arguing that the accumulated balance had been transferred between the Complainant and joint owner of the property multiple times.

ALJ Pell denied request for PUC PAR based on poor payment history and dismissed the Complaint for failure to carry burden, specifically finding PGW issued required termination notices.

ID adopted.

Abergel v. PGW

PM 4/19/18
F-2016-2547528

Complainants admit that the gas line in rental property was disconnected from the meter during renovating and a bypass was installed but disputes the amount of usage billed. PGW based usage on potential load at property.

ALJ Jones found the Complainant’s testimony credible that the gas heater was installed right before PGW discovered the bypass and he used electric space heaters. She directed PGW to reduce theft bill from $695.10 to $19.76.

PGW filed Exceptions arguing that the Complainant did not produced electric bills during time period in question and his testimony was inconsistent that meter stopped registering usage in March 2015.

Exceptions granted; ID reversed; Complaint dismissed.
Motion Sweet

  • Complainant’s evidence amounts to a collection of bald assertions.
  • Record contains no evidence when gas furnace was installed or became operational.
  • PGW found a meter bypass and properly billed the customer for the estimated usage based on appliances present during time meter did not register usage.
  • PGW provided reasonable service consistent with its tariff.
  • Ordinarily hesitant to overrule judgment of an ALJ in matters regarding credibility of witnesses, but in this instance, justice demands it.
Vertis Dillon v. UGI

PM 4/19/18
C-2017-2583960

Complainant challenges the transfer of an arrearage for service to prior address to current address because the arrearage arose due to identity theft to accrue improper charges while Complainant was incarcerated. UGI alleged Complainant applied for gas service at another location and failed to prove improper use of identity.

ALJ Dunderdale received notice that Complainant would not be able to appear due to incarceration. Hearing was continued in order to provide accommodations. Respondent filed Motion to Dismiss. Complainant did not properly respond and did not appear at hearing. ALJ dismissed Complaint for failure to appear.

Remand; ID reversed.
Motion Brown
Dismissal with prejudice for failure to appear in inapplicable if the failure to appear is unavoidable.
Record fails to explain whether the ALJ’s limited continuance timeline coincided with Complainant’s ability to be present or heard on the matter.
Record does not establish the Complainant’s current incarceration status or location.
OALJ schedulers know how to coordinate the hearing date and time with the counselor assigned to an inmate at the State Correctional Institution prior to issuing a hearing notice.
Remand for OALJ to make reasonable attempt to locate the Complainant.
If successful, a hearing can be scheduled; if not, ALJ can issue ID on Remand to dismiss.

Dissent Sweet
Motion glosses over the attempts made by ALJ to accommodate the Complainant upon learning he was incarcerated.
Complainant chose not to avail himself of this opportunity.
Motion presumes Complainant could not make phone calls without record evidence and appears contrary to the policy of the PA Department of Corrections.
Motion requires docket to be held open for indeterminate amount of time that could be decades in the future, if ever, depending on the length of incarceration and provides no clear path forth for OALJ.
Notable that no PUC correspondence was returned as undeliverable which results in presumption that service was effective.

JYF Partners v. PECO

PM 4/5/18
C-2017-2628546

Complainant disputes responsibility for tenant’s balance due to foreign load. PECO filed PO alleging it followed Code.

ALJ Haas dismissed Complaint finding PECO’s actions were lawful.

Remand; ID reversed.

Joint Motion Brown and Coleman

  • PECO found foreign load based on detached shed at Service Location, which is connected to tenant’s meter in single-family property.
  • Legal question if Service Location is a residential building consistent with Section 1521 and subject to Section 1529.1.
  • Section 1529.1 establishes bright line rule placing financial responsibility on landlords for foreign load even when the landlord may not have been the original party responsible for the situation or if load in question is “de minimus.”

Sweet dissent

Locks v. Met-Ed

PM 4/5/18
C-2017-2619974

Complainant alleged unlawful termination, incorrect charges from 2013, and requested PAR. Met-Ed denied material allegations and asserted 2013 claim barred by Statute of Limitations.

ALJ granted Met-Ed motion in limine and dismissed claims from 2013. Hearing continued due to technical issue. ALJ denied Complainant’s request for continuance and dismissed Complaint for failure to appear at continued hearing.

Remand; ID reversed.

Motion Brown

  • Factual issue of whether Complainant timely received Company exhibits.
  • Complainant made good faith effort to appear at the first hearing and continuance should have been granted.
  • Complainant’s income should not include food stamp benefits and child disability payments.
Weston v. PGW

PM 4/5/18
C-2016-2524994

Complainant alleged unlawful termination and incorrect charges. PGW denied material allegations.

ALJ Guhl found Complainant was not responsible for charges for the period she did not reside at the Service Location.

Complaint dismissed; ID reversed.

Motion Coleman

  • Undisputed that Complainant, owner of Service Location, was hospitalized and never returned to Service Location.
  • Neither Complainant nor authorized party contacted PGW to request suspension or termination of service contrary to Section 56.266.
  • For service related complaint to be sustained, utility must have been found to have violated its duty under Section 1501 to the customer.
  • Customers do receive benefit of service even if not occupying service location.
  • Physical occupancy is not a precondition for billing of services.
Carballo v. PPL

PM 4/5/18
C-2017-2615246

Complainant alleged service was being threatened with termination and seeks PUC PAR. PPL contends Complainant is not entitled to PAR on mixed arrears due to poor payment history and defaulting on Company PAR.

ALJ Brady denied PUC PAR finding no good faith effort to make payments.

Complainant filed Exceptions disputing amount owed, amount he could pay, and asserting good faith effort. PPL filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied in part; ID reversed; Complaint sustained in part.

Motion Sweet and Place

  • Account was billed based on actual reads transmitted by AMI meter.
  • Arrears were reduced from $9,087.07 to $1,571.32 while enrolled in CAP, which shows good faith effort.
  • Entitled to Level 1 PUC PAR for non-CAP arrears per Hewitt noting record of defaulting on Company PAR difficult to ignore.
Liberty Towers v. PGW

PM 4/5/18
C-2017-2582869

Complainant, a corporation, alleged incorrect charges. ALJ Guhl issued PHO directing Complainant to have attorney file an EOA. No attorney entered appearance and Complaint was dismissed for failure to adhere to PHO. Final Order issued; attorney filed EOA 14 days later and requested rehearing.

Petition for Rehearing denied

  • Rehearing not warranted.
  • Reasons for not complying with PHO are without merit and do not show good cause.
Chambers v. PGW

PM 4/5/18
C-2016-2538724

Complainant alleged service is being threatened with termination and seeks PUC PAR. PGW alleged Complainant defaulted on prior PUC PAR.

ALJ Guhl found Complainant defaulted on prior PUC PAR and was not eligible for another PAR.

Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing her position. PGW filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID modified; Complaint dismissed.

  • No valid CII or SCIC.
  • Food stamps are not included in gross household income.
Purnell v. PECO

PM 4/5/18
F-2015-2513799

Complainant alleged she was having reliability, safety, or quality problems with her service and that PECO would not provide her with a termination notice. PECO argued Complaint was pending so no termination notice could be issued and they completed a high bill investigation.

ALJ Heep found no evidence that Complainant was overbilled and high bills were due to usage not estimated billing errors. ALJ found unreasonable service in PECO not sending letter to LIHEAP. She assessed fine for PECO under Section 1501 because Company would not give Complainant a letter advising her that she was behind on her payments and subject to termination absent the pending dispute.

PECO filed Exceptions disputing fine for not issuing a termination notice.

Exceptions granted; ID modified; Complaint dismissed.
PECO mails notices to delinquent low-income customers in early February so that they may demonstrate hardship and obtain a Crisis Grant during LIHEAP winter session.
LIHEAP requires that service termination either has occurred or is imminent.
Section 56.99 prohibits issuance of notice during winter moratorium and Section 56.141 prohibits issuance of notice if dispute pending.
PECO may be able to obtain clarification from LIHEAP if advisory letter would suffice.
Matter referred to BCS and Law Bureau.
Section 1501 violation and fine reversed.

James Elliot Jr. v. Penelec

PM 3/15/18
F-2017-2597039

Complainant alleged reliability issues with service. Penelec denied allegations.

ALJ Hoyer dismissed the Complaint finding Complainant’s testimony not credible.

ID adopted; Final Order issued.

Parties informed PUC that they never received the ID. Eservice to the Complainant was unsuccessful.

Final order rescinded.

  • ID will be re-served on both parties.
  • Exceptions period established to satisfy due process.
Marta Abrantes v. PGW

PM 3/15/18
F-2017-2613845

Complainant alleges incorrect charges due to a reported gas leak. PGW contends technician made necessary repairs and bill is correct. Complainant notified ALJ the night before hearing of conflict.

ALJ Pell dismissed with prejudice for Complainant’s failure to appear.

Motion: Brown

  • ID modified; dismissal without prejudice
  • Complaint, if verified, raises serious safety concerns
  • Matter referred to BIE.

Concurring Statement: Place

  • Complainant’s changed circumstances should be respected and considered since many individuals do not know their work schedules 5 days in advance.

Dissent: Kennard

  • Investment of time, money, and effort by everyone involved created duty for Complainant to appear or give appropriate notice of unavailability.
  • Complainant never filed Exceptions to dismissal with prejudice.
  • Leaving VM after hours without any subsequent follow-up is not reasonable.
Ryan Ingham v. PECO

PM 3/15/18
C-2016-2579564

Complainant objects to the installation of smart meter and seeks to postpone termination for failure to provide access for meter exchange. PECO asserts that it is required to install smart meter and no “opt out” provision. PECO filed PO that its actions were consistent with Act 129.

ALJ Heep granted PO noting that there is no “opt out” of smart meter installment.

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging insufficient service of PECO’s pleadings. PECO filed a Motion to file Reply Exceptions Nunc Pro Tunc with Replies to Exceptions contending insufficient service of Complainant’s Exceptions and denying improper service to the Complainant.

Motion: Sweet

  • PUC did not serve ID on the Complainant.
  • Remand to where the earliest disputed failure of service occurred, i.e., service of Answer and PO.
  • ID reversed
  • Complainant has 10 days to response to PO.
Allen v. Penn Power

PM 3/1/18
F-2017-2604939

Complainant timely appealed BCS PAR and request re-enrollment into CAP Program.

ALJ Cheskis directed Level 1 PAR and found Complainant was not eligible for CAP until account balance is zero. Prior pre-CAP arrears were discharged in Bankruptcy and Complainant is not entitled to 2nd deferral of additional arrears.

ID adopted.

Rich v. PGW

PM 3/1/18
C-2017-2599266

Complainant requests PUC PAR. PGW contends already defaulted on 2 PUC PAR

ALJ Pell found household income increased since last PUC PAR so no CII to permit 2nd PUC PAR. no evidence of SCIC to extend defaulted PUC PAR.

ID adopted.

Scheaffer v. PPL

PM 3/1/18
F-2016-2577647

Complainant appeared at hearing on behalf of late father. She requested outstanding balance be considered paid in full.

ALJ Myers treated Complainant as customer because she lived with father but dismissed Complaint.

Complainant filed Exceptions; PPL filed Reply Exceptions.

Sweet Motion

  • A user without contract might have standing to maintain action depending on facts (i.e. denial of service).
  • Complainant is not legal representative of father’s estate or license attorney.
  • Absence of licensed attorney where one is required actually deprives PUC of jurisdiction to adjudicate matter.
Schell: e-filing privileges

PM 3/1/18
P-2017-2602601

Secretary’s Office revoked the Complainant’s e-filing privileges. He filed Petition for Reconsideration arguing his due process rights were being violated.

Petition denied.

  • 25 Formals were filed in 15 months.
  • 246 filings were rejected in 15 months as duplicate issue, already adjudicated or simply a copy.
  • Section 1.32 permits PUC action if deemed abusive.
  • Due process satisfied since he can still be heard by mailing his filings.
  • No evidence Complainant cannot use mail option as he has done in past.
Schell v. Suez Water

PM 3/1/18
C-2016-2551544
C-2016-2588244
C-2016-2559741
C-2016-2563040

Complainant raises reliability, safety, and quality issues alleging the water in toilet tank is dirty; no notice provided to boil water due to main break; ground vibrations caused him to be billed more than used and Company has not obtained an actual read since 1999. Suez alleged never called to report “dirty water,” readings obtained by AMR, boil notice did occur and meter not affected by ground vibrations.

ALJ Watson dismissed the Complaint finding het did not carry burden of proof.

Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing his position. Suez filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • Service line to toilet likely is old and corroded.
  • Toilet not appropriate sampling location; no evidence of other problem areas.
  • AMR in meter pit provides actual reads.
  • Notice provided to public via website, mass media and automated system.
  • No evidence to support finding that heavy trucks caused vibrations, which caused meter to advance.
Mitchell v. PGW

PM 3/1/18
F-2016-2548959

Complainant disputes responsibility of other person’s balance; request credit to her account and lien stricken. PGW contends balance of Calvin Johnson transferred as condition of service when her account was established.

ALJ Barnes dismissed for failure to appear at continued Hearing. Final Order entered.

Complainant filed Petition arguing due to health issue (hearing & sight), sending new hearing notice by certified mail was not appropriate.

Petition granted: ID reversed: removed

  • Complainant attempted to comply.
  • Remand for hearing on issues alleged.
Horwith v PPL

PM 3/1/18
C-2016-2528323

Complainant alleges PPL improperly removed trees and in some instances pushed trees over and did not cut. Complainant claims cannot maintain area because of stumps and PPL did not properly fill in holes. PPL denied any wrongdoing.

ALJ Cheskis found PPL complied with Chapter 57 and submitted photos show property is located in heavily forested and rural area. No evidence PPL preformed work inconsistent with its VMP.

Complainant filed Exception disputing PPL’s actions. PPL filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions granted in part, ID modified, Complaint sustained in part.

  • PUC precedent holds that reasonable service under Section 1501 includes restoring a customer’s property “to a condition similar to that in which the property was before the utility engaged in the earth disturbing activity.” Christmas v. PECO.
  • PPL must remedy holes within 60 days at sole cost.
  • PPL did not cut outside its utility ROW.
  • No evidence trees were pushed over rather photos show trees were cut.
  • Where the removed trees were left is outside the record and cannot be considered.
Enigwe v PGW

PM 2/8/18
F-2016-2551964

Complainant requested PUC PAR and alleged PGW is responsible for loss of $1500 grant because PGW rescinded shut off notice.

ALJ Calvelli directed 36-month PAR and found PGW acted properly.

Jean Thoma v PPL

PM 2/8/18
C-2016-2549949

Complainant alleges she experienced electrical surges over a long period of time. PPL contends it timely replaced her wire service the same day she reported a voltage issue.

ALJ Heep found PPL violated Section 1501 and assessed a $1,000 fine.

PPL filed Exceptions alleging ALJ finding not based on record evidence.

Exceptions granted in part; ID modified; Complaint sustained in part.
Complainant proved she experienced voltage problems caused by PPL facilities over a period exceeding 2 months.
Fine reversed.
Matter referred to BIE for further review.

Bronwyn Fischer v PPL

PM 2/8/18
C-2016-2532893

Complainant alleges PPL failed to perform adequate tree trimming which resulted in power surge. PPL contends damage caused by act of nature.

ALJ Buckley found tree that caused outage was not within PPL’s ROW and power surge was due to the displacement of a neutral bushing from the transformer that feeds the Complainant’s home when tree hit the customer service line.

Complainant filed Exceptions that PPL crew informed her that her property had a wrong reconnection. PPL filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • PPL credibly demonstrated that the power surge was responsible for damage when tree fell on line knocking neutral bushing from transformer.
  • Complainant’s residence did not have a working neutral bushing or working ground, which is the Complainant’s responsibility.
  • Power surge did not occur when service was restored but when neutral bushing was dislodged.
Adam R. Berman vs. UGI

PM 1/18/18
C-2017-2617915

Complainant requested PUC PAR. UGI contends he already defaulted on PUC PAR and no change in income.

ALJ Haas dismissed the Complaint due to the Complainant’s failure to appear at the hearing. ALJ noted hearing notice was returned as undeliverable and Complainant’s responsibility to update address with PUC

ID adopted.

Christine Castro v. PGW

PM 1/18/18
F-2017-2606743

Complainant alleges incorrect charges and request PUC PAR on balance in excess of $30,515. PGW presented evidence last customer payment was April 2010 and a single intervening LIHEAP payment on January 2014.

ALJ denied request for PUC PAR based on almost non-existent payment history.

ID adopted.

Statement Brown

  • No record explanation why PGW allowed arrearages to grow to such insurmountable amount.
  • Encouraged utilities to step up marketing efforts on universal service programs, budget billing and energy efficiency to prevent customer arrears from becoming unmanageable.

Statement Sweet

When a balance for a low income family reaches this point, there are 3 points to be made:

  • There are bigger issues than utility bills and unfortunately, beyond PUC ability or capacity to resolve;
  • PUC PAR makes no sense since PAR payment alone would be $500.00 before budget/consumption factored in, and;
  • PGW was asleep at the switch in allowing balance to climb so high.
  • Utilities have affirmative duty to collect payment on overdue accounts under Chapter 14.
  • Level of arrears is simply not acceptable.
James E. Elliott v. Penelec

PM 1/18/18
F-2017-2597039

Complainant alleged company “turns up” its meter and he requested his meter be tested by an independent company. Penelec removed and tested the meter, which was within PUC regulations.

ALJ Hoyer dismissed the Complaint for failure to carry burden, specifically finding the Complainant did not identify any specific bill as being extraordinarily high and his testimony that Penelec meter readers set meters to run fast was not credible.

ID adopted

Statement Brown

  • Encouraged Penelec to inform Complainant of any options available to the extent eligible to assist in reduction of electric consumption.
Ross E. Schell vs. PPL

PM 1/18/18
C-2016-2565671
C-2016-2565235
C-2016-2565236

Complainant filed 3 separate Complaints regarding 3 instances of momentary interruption seeking $150,000.00 penalty and forgiveness of outstanding balance. PPL presented evidence that protective devices operated as designed and interruption was no longer than 10 seconds.

ALJ Watson dismissed the Complaint finding 3 momentary interruptions did not constitute unreasonable or inadequate service. He found Company is not required to provide perfect service and momentary outage could not have been prevented and PPL timely addressed issues.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing he has been experiencing outages for 17 years and PPL admitted event but did provide reason. Complainant alleged PPL witness lied about tree trimming and animal guards. PPL filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaints dismissed.

  • Section 1501 does not require perfect service;
  • Interruption of service and variation in supply can occur and not every interruption, outage or variation is per se a violation of Code;
  • No evidence that interruption was due to intentional actions by PPL or could have been prevented.
Nancy Lee v. PGW

PM 1/18/18
C-2016-2541136

Complainant alleges she was victim of identity theft and not responsible for gas charges. PGW contends Complainant requested restoration of service and made several in person visits to PGW to make payments.

ALJ Pell dismissed Complaint finding record evidence demonstrated not only that Complainant requested service but made payments and actually monitored the account.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing she was not able to hire attorney and son was not permitted to represent her at hearing. PGW filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • Record evidence supports finding that Complainant called to restore service, requested enrollment into budget billing and made payments from her checking account.
  • ALJ correct that son cannot act as her attorney even though has signed power of attorney.
  • Record evidence shows son did testify and was asked no questions by the Complainant.
  • Documents attached to Exceptions were not considered since not part of record and no reason to reopen record.
Patrice Harris vs. PECO

PM 1/18/18
F-2016-2537039

Complainant alleges foreign load on her meter and PECO provided inadequate service when investigating her billing concerns. PECO contends meter mix situation and account was corrected, noting 2nd meter mix confirmed in November 2015 and Complainant was not rebilled for the under billed usage.

ALJ Pell dismissed Complaint finding PECO properly investigated and while Complainant was dissatisfied since investigation failed to yield reduced bill she hoped for, actions did not constitute unreasonable service.

Complainant filed Exceptions disputing the finding that there was no shared metering. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Motion: Place
Exceptions granted in part; ID modified; Complaint sustained in part.

  • PECO’s actions constitute unreasonable service when advised meter mix corrected in April only to be confirmed again in November 2015.
  • AMR did not report data from May 2014 – February 2015 in violation of Section 56.12
  • PECO should have immediately investigated and not issued 10 consecutive bills based on estimated readings.
  • $500.00 fine imposed.

Oral Dissent Statement Sweet (Kennard associated)

Ivan Yotov vs. DQE

PM 11/8/17
C-2016-2558226

Complainant alleges that DQE would not remove a “hazardous” tree on his property next to DQE’s electric line. DQE argues that the Complainant seeks to re-litigate the same issues dismissed in his 2015 Formal and filed Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings.

ALJ Salapa granted Motion based on doctrine of res judicata.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that since the PUC in its Order dismissing the 2015 Complaint did not consider his letter, dated 4/14/16, res judicata is “ungrounded.”

Motion Sweet
ID adopted; request to reopen 2015 Complaint denied; Complaint dismissed.
In the present complaint, the Complainant seeks to provide additional info, specifically unsupported hearsay.
The four elements of res judicata are present.
No genuine issue of material fact with respect to the DQE’s obligation to remove the tree on the Complainant’s property.
Request to reopen record for 1st Complaint to submit 2 photos is not new evidence and barred by Section 316 of the Code.
Final Order referred to BIE, Division of Electric Safety, for any action deemed appropriate.

Robin Callahan vs. PECO

PM 11/8/17
C-2016-2535479

Complainant requests subsequent PUC PAR on arrears of $4,476.63 arguing that her prior PUC PAR was “satisfied” when PECO debt of $10,401.35 was discharged by Bankruptcy Court.

ALJ Vero denied request for another PUC PAR finding PUC lacked authority under under Sections 1403 and 1405(d) to direct a subsequent Commission PAR since household income increased, not decreased as required.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing she has better job (can now keep any PAR) and has paid current bills since filing the complaint. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Household income exceeds 300% of the FPL (Level 4).
The household income has increased, not decreased, since last PUC PAR directed.
SCII does not apply to Level 4 customers.

Statement Sweet
Customer had multiple PARs but only two were directed by PUC.
A discharge in bankruptcy does not have effect of erasing the customer’s default on prior PUC PAR.
PUC is barred from directing additional PARs if customer defaults on PUC PAR.

Kevin Wilson vs. PGW

PM 10/26/17
C-2016-2571197

Complainant seeks Commission PAR and requested documentation from PGW regarding an alleged repaired gas leak located in or near a property adjacent to the service location. Complainant filed Amended Complaint alleging his landlord is not adequately addressing the “hot water leak within the heating system”, that Philly L&I documented violations regarding the placement of his mailbox, and that he has not received any PGW bills/notices or PUC paperwork, as he does not have adequate mailbox.

ALJ Jones dismissed the Complaint with prejudice when the Complainant did not appear at the hearing. No Exceptions were filed and Final Order was entered.

The Complainant filed Petition for Reconsideration. PGW filed Answer.

Petition denied; ID modified; Complaint dismissed without prejudice.
Complainant did not make good faith attempt to attend hearing.
Because Amended Complaint alleged he was not receiving correspondence, it is reasonable to conclude that the Complainant may not have received notice of hearing.
Complaint dismissed without prejudice.

John F. Carmody vs. PPL

PM 10/26/17
C-2016-2559799

Complainant disputes his responsibility for his tenant’s balance due to shared metering arguing he depreciates half of the value of the detached shed in support that the tenants have “shared use” of the detached shed.

ALJ Cheskis found regardless of whether the Complainant depreciates half the detached shed because the tenants have shared use of the area, the two wires that ran from the tenants’ circuit breaker to the shared use shed created the foreign load and that PPL appropriately transferred the account to the Complainant’s name.

Complainant late-filed Exceptions, which were treated as a Petition for Reconsideration. PPL’s Reply Exceptions were treated as Answer to the Petition.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed
Under Duick, no new and novel argument or considerations that were overlooked or not addressed by the PUC in prior Order were presented.
Complainant reiterates the arguments he made throughout the proceeding.

McLean v. PGW

PM 10/26/17
C-2016-2539492

Complainant alleged PGW improperly transferred his mother’s balance arguing he was homeless and did not reside at Service Location. PGW denied incorrect charges and relied on its records and a credit report to establish Complainant’s residence during the disputed period.

ALJ Long partially sustained the Complaint finding the Complainant responsible for the portion of the bill that accrued during the period of time he admitted he lived at the Service Location. ALJ Long admitted the business records into the record but found the statements contained in the records were hearsay since the witness did not have personal knowledge of the entry.

PGW filed Exceptions arguing that the ALJ improperly shifted the burden of proof. The Complainant filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Motion Sweet

The Complainant always has the burden of proof. Only if the Complainant carries that burden initially does the burden of persuasion (i.e., the burden of going forward with the evidence) shifts to the utility to defend its actions.
Other than his testimony, the Complainant did not produce any documentation to support contention that he did not live at the property when the charges were incurred.
Even if Complainant had produced documentation, PGW refuted that evidence with Company’s customer contact report and Experian credit report that the Complaint was not associated with any other address during the time period in question.

Dissenting Statement Place
From the outset of the hearing, there were significant concerns that the Complainant could not be heard by the ALJ and court reporter.
Several instances where the Complainant was simply inaudible.
Complainant alleges he did not timely receive PGW’s proposed exhibits. ALJ should have granted PGW request for additional hearing to be held.
ALJ should have recessed the hearing to determine when the exhibits were sent by PGW and if the Complainant wanted an in-person hearing.

McSorley v. PECO

PM 10/5/17
C-2016-2565864

Complainant disputes responsibility for tenant’s balance due to foreign load/ shared metering situation. Complainant alleged she lowered tenant’s rent to account for foreign wiring. PECO contends it followed Code once foreign load verified. PECO filed PO for legal insufficiency since no allegation that PECO violated Code, regs or PUC order.

ALJ Salapa granted PO for legal insufficiency since PECO followed Code noting that a lease cannot supersede the Code.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • Landlord cannot have tenant, through lease, pay charges where foreign load exists.
  • Complainant is responsible for balance due to foreign wiring being verified.
  • Service can be placed in tenant’s name once foreign load is corrected and verified by PECO.
Wesley-Lewis v. Peoples

PM 10/5/17
C-2016-2552262

Complainant alleged service is being threatened with termination and seeks PUC PAR arguing and that Peoples advised she satisfied PUC PAR. Peoples allege Complainant defaulted on prior PUC PAR.

Special Agent Waldemar found Complainant defaulted on prior PUC PAR and was not eligible for another PAR (no CII or SCIC).

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging she experienced change in income based on her divorce.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • Complainant’s payment pattern was good faith attempt to keep current on PUC PAR.
  • Complaint dismissed without prejudice.
  • Record silent if med cert situation existed in home due to Complainant's mentally incapacitated daughter.
Wooden v. PGW

PM 10/5/17
C-2016-2548462

Complainant alleged inability to pay and requested a PAR. PGW admitted sending a termination notice and accessing Late Payment Charges.

Special Agent Waldemar sustained the Complaint to extent of granting Level 3 PUC PAR.

Complainant filed Exceptions expressing potential inability to pay PAR in winter months. PGW filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • Level 3 PAR consistent with Code.
  • PGW encouraged to work with Complainant during winter months if Complainant demonstrates responsible payment pattern during PAR period.
Meena v. PECO

PM 10/5/17
F-2016-2523604

Complainant timely appealed BCS Decision alleging incorrect charges and requesting PAR.

ALJ Haas found charges were correct and granted Complainant a Level 2 PUC PAR.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing her billing was incorrect. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • Complainant did not meet Waldron standard for high bill.
  • Usage reflects baseboard heating.
  • Household had load potential for recorded usage.
  • Level 2 PUC PAR confirmed.
Ren v. PGW

PM 9/21/17
C-2016-2540645
F-2016-2545083

PGW appealed the BCS Decision that found the gas meter was not bypassed for the period November 29, 2011 to February 4, 2016 and that the Complainant was not responsible for the unbilled gas charges in the amount of $3,286.75. The Complainant filed a separate Complaint alleging his service was terminated in error and the account was not correctly billed.

ALJ Jones found the meter was tampered with prior to February 4, 2016 and determined the unauthorized usage began February 2015. She ordered PGW to calculate usage for the four appliances for the period February 2015 to February 2016.

Motion Sweet

  • ID revised.
  • Before PGW is required to restore service, the Complainant must pay the recalculated unbilled usage.
Ren v. PGW

PM 9/21/17
C-2016-2540645
F-2016-2545083

PGW appealed the BCS Decision that found the gas meter was not bypassed for the period November 29, 2011 to February 4, 2016 and that the Complainant was not responsible for the unbilled gas charges in the amount of $3,286.75. The Complainant filed a separate Complaint alleging his service was terminated in error and the account was not correctly billed.

ALJ Jones found the meter was tampered with prior to February 4, 2016 and determined the unauthorized usage began February 2015. She ordered PGW to calculate usage for the four appliances for the period February 2015 to February 2016.

Motion Sweet

  • ID revised.
  • Before PGW is required to restore service, the Complainant must pay the recalculated unbilled usage.
Jackson v. Penelec

PM 8/31/17
C-2017-2600495

Complainant objects to Company’s installation of a smart meter at his residence. Penelec filed PO since customers cannot opt out and Penelec is required to install smart meters throughout its service territory per Act 129.

ALJ Salapa granted PO since no allegation of a violation of Code, regulation, or order. Penelec can terminate service if Complainant refuses access to exchange meter.

ID adopted.

Kossman v. PECO

PM 8/31/17
C-2017-2583425

Complainant seeks PUC PAR for charges which are part of Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding.

ALJ Salapa dismissed since PUC lacks jurisdiction over debt owed to PECO. PUC cannot direct PAR on those charges or past petition arrears since all of the debtor’s estate is subject to the exclusive control of bankruptcy trustee.

ID adopted.

Thomas v. PGW

PM 8/31/17
C-2016-2566493

Complainant dropped off call before hearing began. ALJ Buckley attempted to reach Complainant without success and dismissed matter for not prosecuting Complaint. Complainant called next business day to explain issue with her phone and requested new hearing.

Motion Brown

  • Complainant made good faith attempt to appear at the hearing.
  • Complaint dismissed without prejudice.
Kelly v. PGW

PM 8/31/17
C-2016-2530214

Complainant alleges service terminated, incorrect charges on his account, and requests PUC PAR. PGW asserts theft of service and rebilled the account over $22,000 for unbilled gas service.

ALJ Calvelli granted portion of Complaint that requested recalculation of unbilled usage charge for gas heater beginning 2009; PUC PAR request denied since theft of service.

ID adopted.

Statement Sweet-Dissent

  • Recalculation for gas heater barred by SOL.
  • Complainant responsible for full make-up bill for theft of service.
Wapensky v. PPL

PM 8/31/17
C-2015-2476806

Complainant seeks PUC PAR. Prior to the ALJ bringing PPL on the call to begin telephonic hearing, the Complainant advised ALJ Buckley that an agreement had been reached and counsel for PPL did not need to be contacted and disconnected the call. ALJ contacted PPL counsel who stated no agreement was reached and moved to dismiss the Complaint.

ALJ Buckley dismissed Complaint for Complainant’s failure to appear and participate in hearing.

Motion Brown

  • Complainant’s actions should be treated as withdrawal of Complaint.
  • Grant of withdraw by tentative order to permit parties to file objection within 20 days.

Statement Coleman-Dissent

  • Complainant is very familiar with PUC process (since 4/20/02, 7 formals and 45 defaulted PARs).
  • ID should be adopted.
Herring v. Met-Ed

PM 8/31/17
F-2016-2540875

Complainant alleged Met-Ed was using wrong meter to calculate her bills, which are excessive. Met-Ed did 3 site visits verifying correct meter was assigned to Complainant’s account; meter also tested within PUC guidelines.

ALJ Salapa found Complainant failed to prove Met-Ed overbilled her and dismissed the Complaint.

Complainant filed Exceptions disagreeing with ALJ decision and requested her landlady be investigated. Met-Ed filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • No meter mix and bills are accurate.
  • Meter tested within PUC guidelines.
  • Load analysis supports billed usage.
  • Company PAR requires Account be enrolled in budget billing.
  • Extra record evidence (disputes bills issues after hearing) cannot be considered.
Sherry Dixon v. PECO

PM 8/31/17
C-2015-2513652

Complainant filed Petition for Reconsideration of Final Order dismissing Complaint that alleged discrimination by PECO.

ALJ Haas found that PECO’s refusal to enter into Company PAR for CAP arrears is not discrimination and the LIHEAP Crisis Grant would not have reduced balance to prevent termination.

Petition denied.

  • Considering payment history (20 in 4 years) and apparent inability to comply with prior PARs (4 defaulted), ALJ properly declined to issue PUC PAR for non-CAP arrears.
Schell v. Suez Water PA

PM 8/3/17
C-2016-2566398

Complainant alleges reliability, safety, or quality problems with his water service and requested damages. Suez filed PO for legal and factual insufficiency; multiple pending proceedings on the same issue; and lack of jurisdiction to award monetary damages.

ALJ Watson granted PO for legal insufficiency, factual insufficiency and lack of jurisdiction.

Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing his position. Suez filed Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID modified; Complaint dismissed.

  • Dismissal of complaint is more appropriate under pendency of prior proceedings rather than lack of jurisdiction, insufficient specificity, or legal insufficiency.
  • Complainant will have full opportunity to be heard in another docket where he raises the same issues raised in present proceedings.
Yost v. Penelec

PM 8/3/17
C-2016-2535253

Complainant disputes the transfer of the unpaid balance of his account for different address, contending the usage at previous address was higher when compared to usage at Service Location. Penelec contends prior address was all-electric and usage is irrelevant to Service Location usage, which is non-electric heat.

ALJ Haas dismissed Complaint for the Complainant’s failure to appear at the hearing.

Complainant filed Exceptions agreeing to pay balance for current Service Location but not the transferred balance for prior address. Penelec filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • No good faith attempt to attend hearing.
  • Complainant had adequate notice of hearing.
Shari Buske v. Penelec

PM 8/3/17
F-2015-2491561

Complainant timely appealed BCS Decision disputing her responsibility for the outstanding balance of another customer at same Service Location. Penelec filed Answer arguing that Complainant was listed on financial records for the other customer and benefited from the service, and she specifically accepted, as a condition to establish service, responsibility for that balance.

ALJ Hass found Complainant resided at Service Location and, consistent with Section 56.35 and the tariff, she is responsible for outstanding balance of another customer service. She did not produce evidence that she resided elsewhere when the charges accrued.

Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing position. Penelec filed Reply Exceptions in support of the PO.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed in part.

  • Exceptions do not identify or dispute any finding.
  • Level 1 PUC PAR directed for balance.
Staci Stiffler v. Met-Ed

PM 7/12/17
C-2016-2553324

Complainant alleged incorrect charges and requested a PUC PAR. Met-Ed asserts that the bills are correct and Complainant is not entitled to a PAR per 1405(d).

ALJ found, due to active PFA, Complainant is entitled to Level 1 PUC PAR, despite defaulting on prior PUC PAR.

ALJ dismissed high bill complaint but directed 5-year PUC PAR based on household income.

Complaint dismissed in part; 10-year PUC PAR directed.

Motion Place

  • Level 1 PAR per Chapter 14 is unaffordable and inappropriate in this case.
  • 10-year PAR appropriate for Complainant.
  • Met-Ed directed to conduct LIURP audit, weatherization and energy-efficiency services for Complainant.
  • Met-Ed directed to connect Complainant with CARES representative and Hardship Fund.
LeRoy James Watters III vs. PECO

PM 7/12/17
C-2016-2533996

Complainant filed Complaint in his capacity as the Chairman of the West Norriton Environmental Advisory Council alleging issues “throughout West Norriton Township.” West Norriton Township filed a Notice to Withdraw. Complainant then filed Amended Complaint in his name only and alleged issues “throughout West Norriton Township” because PECO was not completing pole work. PECO filed Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings asserting the Complainant lacked standing.

ALJ Calvelli granted Motion and dismissed Amended Complaint.

Motion Brown

  • MJP will only be granted if the pleadings show there is no genuine issue as to a material fact and the moving party’s right to prevail is so clear that a hearing would be a fruitless exercise.
  • Doubt exists regarding whether pro se Complainant has standing.
  • While being a PECO customer is germane but conclusive as to standing.
  • Hearing required to establish if the poles pose a risk to Complainant’s property or his safety or risk to electric grid.
  • Remand for hearing.
Robert E. Schell vs. PLL

PM 7/12/17
C-2016-2552834

Complainant filed a Petition objecting to the Secretary’s requirements that he must serve all parties with all filings as evidenced by a certificate of service.

Petition denied.

  • Petition untimely since not filed within 20 days of staff’s action. 52 Pa. Code § 5.44.
  • Petition considered Petition for Amendment or Rescission.
  • Petition did not raise “new and novel” arguments not previously heard or considerations that were overlooked or not addressed by PUC.
Alfred Ottaviano vs. PECO

PM 7/12/17
F-2016-2542081

Complainant alleged that he is being harassed and threatened with termination for refusing installation a smart meter based on his health and safety concerns. PECO filed PO that there is no “opt out” of Act 129.

ALJs Heep and Pell sustained the PO and dismissed the Complaint finding Complainant cannot personally testify to the health and safety issues allegedly caused by the installation of a smart meter.

Complainant filed Exceptions reiterating his argument and requesting that the Commission delay his smart meter installation. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of PO.

Exceptions granted, in part; ID reversed; Complaint sustained in part; remand for hearing.

  • Commonwealth Court held in Romeo just because customer cannot personally testify as to health and safety effect does not mean complaint is legally insufficient.
  • Complainant can prove his claim through evidence and testimony of others.
Robert P. Mangieri vs. PPL

PM 7/12/17
C-2015-2493094

Complainant alleged incorrect charges on his bill. PPL asserts that the Complainant was charged for actual usage consumed.

ALJ Cheskis dismissed Complaint finding that the increase in amount he paid, despite decreased usage, is directly related to his EGS variable rate during same period.

Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing his position. PPL filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID affirmed; Complaint dismissed.

  • An EGS may charge variable rate so long as consistent with the terms of service.
  • Complainant enrollment with two EGSs explains the discrepancy in his monthly bills, not any action of PPL
Deree J. Norman vs. PGW

PM 7/12/17
C-2015-2489503

Complainant alleged that PGW “double billed” him, “misappropriated” LIHEAP credits, improperly billed him under CRP and challenged PGW’s gas usage charge.

ALJ Buckley found that the Complainant was billed appropriately, LIHEAP funds were applied correctly, and that the gas usage charge was accurate. ALJ further found that Complainant’s perception of mis-billing is tied to the different treatment accorded to an amount in the CRP versus one not in CRP.

Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing his position. He also contends that the ALJ failed to rule on his In Forma Paupers Petition and that he was denied access to the transcript of the hearing at the PUC’s Philly office. PGW filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID affirmed; Complaint dismissed.

  • Commission Regulations do not provide for in forma pauperis proceedings which would allow transcript for free.
  • PUC’s reporting contract requires transcripts be ordered directly from reporting company.
  • PUC intends to meet with the responsible bureaus to discuss access to transcript without charge.
Deree J. Norman vs. PECO

PM 7/12/17
C-2015-2472605

Complainant alleged that there were incorrect charges on his bill and that his smart meter was not recording usage accurately. PECO contends that a smart meter had not yet been installed at the Service Location. Complainant filed a Petition to proceed In Forma Pauperis and to be relieved of paying costs for a transcript that was dismissed in Interim Order.

Initial Hearing converted to Prehearing so Complainant could hire an independent engineer to advise him. ALJ Long found the Complainant did not prove his theory that PECO is manipulating the information from his meter to generate fraudulent or incorrect consumption data. ALJ found the AMR meter is only capable of sending info to PECO; not capable of receiving any info or instruction from PECO or any other source.

Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing his position. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID affirmed; Complaint dismissed.

  • ALJ accorded proper consideration of the evidence.
  • No record evidence that PECO manipulated his consumption data to create the allegedly high bills he received.
  • Complainant agreed that PECO did not violate the permissible range of billing periods (26-35 days)
  • Commission cannot authorize waiver of transcript costs.
Tomko v DQE

PM 6/14/17
C-2016-2577571

Complainant filed Complaint on behalf of residents of Development and Plum Borough seeking order requiring DQE to install underground street lighting. DQE filed PO challenging Complainant’s standing to bring claims on behalf of others.

ALJ Calvelli granted PO and dismissed the Complaint since the Complainant lacked the legal authority to bring Complaint on behalf of other residents or Plum Borough.

Motion Sweet
Matter remanded for further hearings.
ALJ correctly dismissed Complainant’s claim that he represents others since he is not a licensed PA attorney.
Complainant’s standing to claim on his own behalf is fact in dispute.
Complainant should be given opportunity to establish he has standing to prosecute his claim on his own behalf.

Mattu v WPP

PM 6/14/17
C-2016-2547322

Complainant objects to the use of herbicides on ROW across his property alleging herbicides are not safe and may contaminate his water supply and he has no access to municipal; or public water service. He requests PUC direct WPP not to use herbicides on ROW. WPP presented expert witness that use and method of application of EPA approved herbicides is safe and not a threat to his water supply.

ALJ Dunderdale dismissed the Complaint finding the opinion testimony of the Complainant was outweighed by WPP’s expert witness that the use of herbicides is safe and consistent with industry best practices and its PUC approved vegetation management plan. ALJ found that WPP did not violate the Code, regs or PUC order.

Joint Motion Brown and Sweet

ID reversed in part; Complaint sustained

  • ID adopted to extent that WPP did not violate a statue, reg or order of PUC.
  • A finding that the herbicides are consistent with WPP’s vegetation maintenance plan is insufficient to provide a fair result in present case.
  • There are exceptions to a utility’s preferred method of keeping ROW clear.
  • There is a point where the use of herbicides is simply not consistent with the landowner’s ability to fully utilize the property, especially where the source of water is shallow wells close to the ROW.
  • Landowners should file petition for relief rather than a complaint and PUC has history of treating pleadings by what is reflected in their content instead of what they are labeled.
  • Mattu Complaint treated as petition for relief.
  • Due process satisfied since both parties were given notice and opportunity to be heard; burden does not change as a result of converting to petition.
  • Use of herbicides is by their very nature hazardous and can be used in some circumstances.
  • Complainant established that his circumstances require more care in choosing and applying vegetation management methods than many other landowners.
  • Given unique fact patterns, use of herbicides would be unreasonable.
  • Because treated as petition, order will be tentative to provide public advocates 30 days to intervene and request additional proceedings.

Joint Dissent Coleman and Powelson

  • Agree that ALJ applied the appropriate PUC case precedent and committed no error of law or fact in reaching conclusion to dismiss the Complaint.
  • WPP’s actions and proposed actions are consistent with PUC approved electric facilities Inspection and Maintenance Plan.
  • No violation of Section 1501 which governs the safety and reliability of utility service which is the basis for PUC jurisdiction to hear dispute.
  • Unaware of any existing statutory authority or case precedent that allows PUC to impose a higher standard than Section 1501 by which to decide such cases.
  • PUC is not super board of directors and WPP has the discretion to provide service as it sees fit and PUC should not micromanage certain practices of WPP.
  • Proper action would be for PUC to initiate rulemaking if it feels Section 1501 does not adequately delineate what a utility’s safety and reliability obligations may be consistent with Section 2802 of the Code.
  • Complainant, who was represented by counsel, did not introduce any exhibits and merely testified as to his general concern that herbicides would leach into his well water and pond.
  • WPP presented 2 expert witnesses to address the incompatible vegetation and herbicide application, modes of herbicide action, environmental impacts and safety.
  • Proposed herbicides were approved by US EPA for use in vegetation management on utility ROWs.
  • Stump cutting alone in the unmaintained area would result is more negative ecological impact to the ROW than an integrated program that uses both stump cutting and individual herbicide application.
  • PUC less than a year ago held that the proposed methods of herbicide application were reasonable.
  • New process to achieve a “fair result” based on totality of circumstances provides little if any certainty to an EDS and conflicts with General Assembly’s preference that EDCs adhere to recognized industry standards.
  • Majority ruling is in direct conflict with long standing applicable Commonwealth Court case precedent that without a violation of Section 1501, the PUC does not have authority, when acting on a customer’s complaint, to require any action by the utility.
  • Without addressing court and PUC precedents, questionable if order satisfied stare decisis and Section 703(e) of the Code.
  • Majority changed the standard of review to be applied after record closed and ID issued and results in a procedural denial of WPP’s due process rights.
  • New process affects all EDCs and Majority has done so with any consultation with stakeholders in an open and transparent process.
Keller Memorial Assoc. v PPL

PM 5/18/17
C-2016-2568272

Complainant alleges PPL improperly removed trees outside ROW and beyond what is required to protect lines from hazards that affected property. PPL contends all trees were within ROW and presented danger to its system.

ALJ Cheskis dismissed Complaint finding easement gave utility right to cut, trim or remove trees that presented danger to its system “in their judgment.” Easement was part of record and no evidence that PPL’s actions were unreasonable given very rural and heavily forested property and obligation to provide adequate and safe service.

ID adopted.

Statement Brown
Removal of trees were reasonable but PPL urged to meet with Complainant to find ways to address vegetation management going forward in light of public interest in scouting service by property.

Cofer v PGW

PM 5/18/17
C-2016-2562266

Complainant alleges PGW is requiring full payment before reconnecting service and requests 1407 PAR to restore service. PGW contends Complainant defaulted on 2 company PARs and Section 1407(c)(2)(i) permits it to require full payment of balance.

ALJ Meyers found that the 2nd company PAR (May 2015) defaulted when Complainant cancelled service in June 2015; Complainant did not “cancel 2nd PAR.” Based on Crawford, Complainant has not demonstrated good faith to pay his bills (only 2 payments in last 2 years).

ID adopted.

Statement Brown-dissent
Majority should remand to determine lump sum payment and PAR as preconditions to restoring service.
With increased income, more likely that Complainant will pay down arrears that will otherwise be borne by other ratepayers.

Perez v PECO

PM 5/18/17
C-2016-2551605

Complainant alleges part of her arrears is part of her bankruptcy case. Parties resolved all issues except whether Complainant is eligible for PUC PAR.

ALJ Buckley dismissed finding PUC lacks jurisdiction over post petition arrears as a result of Chapter 13 filing since all of the debtor’s assets are included in the estate for disposition whether the assets were acquired before or after filing of Chapter 13 (unlike Chapter 7 where PUC can issue PUC PAR on post petition dollars).

ID adopted.

Watson v PGW

PM 5/18/17
C-2016-2526096

Complainant disputed responsibility for 3rd party charges accrued after service was discontinued in father’s name in July 2013. Complainant alleges 3rd party was not authorized to live at property and PGW did not have authorization to take service out of father’s name. PGW asserts that 3rd party presented “valid” lease and POA.

ALJ Haas dismissed complaint finding the Complainant bear a share of responsibility for the accrual of unauthorized charges for failure to discontinue service when father went to nursing home or to check on property after discovering back door had been removed.
ALJ assessed fine of $250 for unreasonable service finding that PGW should have investigated whether 3rd party was authorized to reside at property since nothing in PGW records linking either 3rd party or person who signed lease and POA.

Ross E. Schell v. PPL

PM 5/18/17
C-2016-2557856
C-2016-2557858
C-2016-2557863
C-2016-2558239

Complainant filed 4 formals in 3 days that were consolidated, alleging reliability of service and requested a PAR based on his correct wages and seeking refund of overpayments for last 10 years.

ALJ Watson dismissed Complaint for failure to appear. Final Order entered.

Complainant filed Exceptions (with no docket number) alleging that hearing was improper because PPL has listed wrong docket number on proposed exhibits and ALJ was prejudiced against him.

Final Order rescinded; Exceptions denied; IDs adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Request for continuance filed with Secretary’s Office but not served on ALJ or PPL.
No good cause to continue or excuse absence from hearing.
Complainant had full opportunity to be heard in 3 other complaint proceedings.

Ross E. Schell vs. PPL

PM 5/18/17
C-2016-2535220
C-2016-2538023
C-2016-2539969

Complainant filed 3 complaints in 3 weeks seeking PUC PAR and challenging accuracy of meter/bills.

ALJ Watson sustained Complaint solely to direct a Level 3 PUC PAR on balance.

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging that the company PAR was unaffordable and that he was provided unreasonable service due to the numerous outages. PPL filed Replies to Exceptions alleging that the interruptions were momentary and that the meter tested within PUC guidelines.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Momentary outages cannot cause meter to run faster/slower.
Meter test results permitted under business records exception.
PPL accelerated tree trimming in Complainant’s general vicinity based on his allegation of interruptions.
Section 1501 requires reasonable, not perfect, service.
Level 3 PUC PAR warranted.

Wasneuski vs. Borough of Ephrata

PM 5/18/17
C-2016-2522689

Complainant alleged that Borough was operating as a de facto electric utility and was suppressing his right to shop for generation. Respondent filed PO that PUC does not have jurisdiction since Borough is not operating outside of its limits.

ALJ Colwell granted PO finding PUC lacked jurisdiction over the Borough.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing PUC is funded exclusively through assessments of utilities it regulates and funded from income taxes collected from all citizens. He claims his right to shop for generation is being withheld by Borough. The Borough filed Reply to Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; PO granted; Complaint dismissed.
PUC has limited jurisdiction over municipal corporations—can only regulate rates charges beyond corporate limits.
The Code permits a borough to prohibit an EGS from serving end-use customers within its border limits.
Complainant receives service from Borough within its corporate limits.
Hearing not necessary since complaint legally insufficient (PUC lacks subject matter jurisdiction).

Ronald Abrams vs. PECO

PM 5/18/17
F-2015-2513806

Complainant alleged incorrect bills and unreasonable service by not blocking his info from being provided to EGSs. PECO contends it properly applied LIHEAP credits when received and did remove info from EGS list and that it took a few months for solicitations to stop.

ALJ Heep found (1) LIHEAP funds are sent directly to PECO and were correctly applied and surplus grant was applied as credit to account; (2) reps spoke to Complainant on several occasions and no evidence that PECO did not timely respond in reasonable manner; (3) participants in CAP must be on budget billing which is reviewed and adjusted quarterly and (4) removal from EGS list noted in March and calls stopped in May.

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging that ALJ did not address his issues and rearguing his position. PECO filed Reply to Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
CAP participants must be enrolled in budget billing which is reviewed and adjusted quarterly.
Surplus LIHEAP funds were credited to Complainant’s account and PUC has little jurisdiction over LIHEAP fund distribution.
PECO timely updated account with “release no info.”

McCauley v Penelec

PM 5/4/17
C-2016-2559946

Complainant alleges she experiences excessive intermittent interruptions of service. Penelec contends the reclosers operated as designed and the operations are outside of its control.

ALJ Long imposed fine of $5,000 for violating prior PUC order and persistent interruptions (sustained and monetary).

Motion Sweet and Powelson

  • The cause of the momentary outages is unclear.
  • The Complainant denied the company access to the property to explore why additional outages may have occurred thereby preventing both a possible solution and a possible defense for the Company to her allegations.
  • The Complainant did not carry burden regarding the momentary outages and she is strongly encouraged to permit company access to explore causes of outages.
  • Fine reduced to $2,000 since the Complainant did not prove violation for persistent interruptions.
  • TUS to monitor circuit providing service to Complainant.
Richman v Respond/Major Energy

PM 5/4/17
C-2016-2553262

Complainant alleges the 2 EGSs misrepresented pricing to him, informing him that he would save money if he switched his service and he did not save money ALI Johnson dismissed Complaint finding Complainant did not carry his burden noting that his rates were slightly higher than the PTC and the Complainant specifically knew that he signed up for variable rate with no guarantee that he would realize a savings every month.

Statement Brown

  • It is irrelevant to the Complaint that part of the disputed charges were paid by third party (LIHEAP).
  • The Complainant's failure to review his electric bill likely resulted in the exhaustion of the subsidy dollars quicker than if he had known his supply charges or resulted in an increase in the universal service program costs for the utility.
  • Electric and gas distribution companies encouraged to continually consider polices that provide cost-effective universal service programs which do not unduly harm the state's retail energy supply market.
  • PA residents are encouraged to review all retail supplier enrollment materials and to monitor utility bills on a routine basis in effort to make sure bills match customer's expectations for both retail supplier and utility service.
Mandeville v PPL

PM 5/4/17
C-2015-2512838

Complainant alleges incorrect charges after PPL conditioned Company PAR to restore service in 2013 that included balance billed before 2006.

ALJ Johnson found that conditioning a PAR on a balance that includes charges for service more than 4 years old violated Section 56.35 and PPL did not present evidence as to when the stale charges accrued or at what address. ALJ imposed fine of $2,000 for unreasonable service.

PPL filed Exceptions stating FOFs were based on vague timeframe of when Complainant lived in PA and he refused to complete a fraud packet that he was billed for service fraudulently. The Complainant filed Replies to Exceptions.

Motion Sweet

  • Complainant did not include details in Complaint but testified that arrearage in question was discharged in bankruptcy and he did not live in PPL service territory for 5-6 years prior to transferred balance and PPL did not present evidence when the transferred charges accrued or at what address so record is not adequate to render decision on arrears.
  • Face of complaint raised only 2 issues: asked to pay someone else's bill and service in danger of termination.
  • No problem allowing customers to testify beyond 4 corners of complaint but utility must be given a full and fair opportunity to address the new allegations even if it requires additional hearings.
  • ALJ wrongly denied PPL’s request to provide clarifying evidence on the bankruptcy claim.
  • ALJ requested PPL provide information on the charges before he wrote ID but then closed record without giving PPL opportunity to submit that information.
  • Matter remanded to give PPL opportunity to present an informed response to the testimony provided by Complainant at hearing.
Maguire v Penelec & Colton v Penelec

PM 5/4/17
F-2015-2504132 Maguire v Penelec
C-2016-2528457 Colton v Penelec

Complainants object to being held responsible for tenant's balance due to shared metering. They also allege a high bill after tenant was evicted and Penelec provided unreasonable service by sending correspondence to wrong address.

ALJ Long dismissed high bill allegation and found owner is responsible for tenant's balance once shared metering is verified. She also fined Penelec $1,100 for Section 1501 violations.

Penelec filed Exceptions disputing that it provided unreasonable service and the fine. Complainants filed "Exceptions" to Penelec's Exceptions, which the company requested, be stricken.

Exceptions denied; Motion to Strike granted; ID adopted. Complaint sustained in part.

  • Law is clear that owner responsible for tenant's balance once shared metering is verified.
  • Record evidence does not support incorrect charges allegation; meter tested and operating correctly.
  • Based on totality of circumstances under which Penelec interacted with both Complainants during investigation, company provided unreasonable service by:
    • Sending account statement of another customer to Maguire;
    • Sending notice to Maguire in FL instead of PA;
    • Maguire account opened and closed without proper explanation;
    • Company was aware of relationship between Maguire and Colton and should not have refunded Maguire's payment for Colton's account.
  • Fine of $1,100 appropriate.
Susan Kreider v PECO

PM 5/4/17
C-2015-2469655

Complainant removed the smart meter installed by PECO. She alleges adverse health effects caused by smart meter and PECO will not accept, for billing purposes, the readings from the Complainant's meter she had installed in lieu of PECO’s smart meter.

ALJs Pell and Heep found that Complainant failed to establish that the existence of the smart meter in her home was the cause of her illness.

Complainant filed Exceptions and PECO filed Replies to Exceptions. While Exceptions were pending, the Complainant died.

Motion of Brown and Coleman

  • Nothing in Code, regs, or case law to address circumstances where complainant dies following the filing of exceptions.
  • In civil actions, death of a party divests court of subject matter jurisdiction until deceased's personal rep is substituted in action.
  • PUC does not have subject matter jurisdiction to rule on merits of complaint, absent a personal rep substituting for the Complainant, which has not occurred in this proceeding.
  • Tentative order dismissing complaint is appropriate and will provide personal rep notice and time (45 days) to substitute for the Complainant.

Statement Sweet and Powelson-Dissent

  • With death of Complainant, the Complaint is moot since no longer a case in controversy and no claim remains for which the executor can be substituted.
Enrico Partners v Blue Pilot

PM 5/4/17
C-2014-2432979

Complainant alleged EGS violated contract re: factors to be used in calculating change in variable rate charged for its service. EGS asserted plain language of contract was clear that intro rate was good for 60 days then based on wholesale market prices.

ALI Cheskis found 2 sentences unclear and ambiguous when read together and directed refund of $27,168.48 and $2,000 fine for violating PUC regs at Sections 54.43 and 111.12 and Chapter 28 of Code.

EGS filed Exceptions contending PUC does not have jurisdiction over private contract and improperly seeks to regulate or limit prices charged by EGS. Complainant filed Replies to Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied, in part; ID modified; Complaint sustained.

  • Obligation to comply with plain language requirements and to render bills consistent with required disclosure documents are distinct responsibilities and regulatory requirements.
  • PUC is not interpreting a private contract but enforcing plain language obligations of Section 54.43(1).
  • No record evidence to refute ALJ calculation of overbilling.
  • PUC retains inherent authority under Section 501 of Code to direct refund of overcharges under appropriate circumstances.
  • Billing adjustment necessary where EGS fails to bill a customer in accordance with disclosure statement.
  • Service Agreement (contract) is ambiguous in wording that purported to explain factors for changes in variable rate.
  • EGS claim that it was not aware that disclosure statement was at issue in case and therefore denied due process was rejected based on record evidence (including cross of EGS counsel).
  • Fine reduced to $1,000 since EGS action were not intentional.
Howell v PGW

PM 4/6/27
C-2016-2568426

Complainant did not appear at hearing in prior case and raised the same issue in present complaint. PGW filed for Summary Judgment relying on res judicata to support request to dismiss present complaint.

ALJ Heep granted PGW Motion.

Motion Sweet

  • Dismissal based on res judicata is appropriate when there is a ruling on merits.
  • Section 316 of Code is a bar to relitigating the issues in prior complaint.
  • PUC Order dismissing 1st complaint remains a bar unless set aside by PUC or modified on judicial review.
  • ALJ analysis of res judicata unnecessary by application of Section 316.
  • Doctrine of judicial efficiency, whereby a case can be disposed of in the least invasive way, supports dismissal under Section 316.

Statement Brown-Dissent

Supports dismissal for failure to appear, but citing Jefferson v UGI, dismissal should not with prejudice absent showing of an abuse of process.
Different factual allegations and claims are presented so res judicata cannot apply as a matter of law.
PUC precedent that it is in the public interest that all litigants, particularly pro se litigants, be afforded a meaningful opportunity to be heard. Williams v PECO (2011).
No record evidence other than failure to appear. Since no facts to create prima facie evidence under Section 316, it cannot sustain majority decision.

Senesie v PECO

PM 4/6/27
F-2016-2551332

Complainant alleges incorrect charges and seeks 2nd PUC PAR. PECO asserts bills reflected usual increase in winter heating costs.

ALJ Heep dismissed complaint and found household income increased so 2nd PUC PAR was not permitted.

ID adopted.

Zied v PECO

PM 4/6/27
F-2015-2511403
P-2015-2520474

Complainant filed Petition seeking renewed disability accommodation request stating they have disabilities that include communication difficulties and want only paper proceeding. In alternative, request that PUC certify question to Commonwealth Court for review.

Petition denied; Motion denied.
Complaint proceeding is a contested proceeding and due process requires hearing to permit utility to conduct cross-examination.
PUC has offered reasonable accommodation by permitting telephonic hearing and submission of pre-filed written documents.
No new or novel argument to rescind prior Orders.
Motion was well after 10-day timeframe and PUC cannot entertain a late certification request because to do so would be at odds with the intent and purpose of permitting interlocutory review of an order—to materially advance the ultimate termination of the matter.

Gorondo v PECO

PM 4/6/27
C-2015-2511403

Complainant alleged unlawful termination and incorrect charges. PECO argues that the amount subject to termination stated on 2nd 10-day was not satisfied and account balance consists of CAP arrears.

ALJ Fordham dismissed that PECO properly complied with Section 1406 and partial payment did not satisfy the amount stated on 2nd 10-day notice. She also dismissed incorrect charges finding recent calculation of budget resulted in lowest amount since enrolled which was supported by the reduction in usage.

Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing his position. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Business records confirm that 2nd 10-day was issued and not returned as undeliverable.
Complainant enrolled in CAP and defaulted on several Company PARs.
PECO complied with notice requirements of Section 1406.

Mialynn Medina v. PGW

PM 3/16/17
C-2016-2568822

Complainant challenged charged from 2010. PGW filed PO since claim was outside SOL.

ALJ Salapa granted PO since PUC is divested of subject matter jurisdiction for claims more than 3 years from date liability arose.

ID adopted.

Floyd Tillman v. PGW

PM 3/16/17
C-2014-2445229

Complainant disputes rebilling of commercial account due to faulty meter. PGW contends customer is corporation and must be represented by counsel.

ALJ Buckley granted continuance for Complainant to obtain representation. At continued hearing, PGW asserted their same bill had been subject of another Complaint.

Dismissed for non-prosecution. ALJ dismissed for failure to prosecute. Commission reversed and remanded so Complainant could have opportunity to further articulate claims.

ID on Remand dismissed since sole issue was rebilling; Complainant lacked capacity to bring Complaint in his name. ALJ Also found Complainant did not testify credibly.

ID adopted.

Billy Wilburn v. PECO

PM 3/16/17
F-2015-2516708

Complainant appealed Level 4 BCS PAR. PECO contends BCS PAR consistent with Code.

ALJ Fordham dismissed for failure to appear. She denied 2nd request for continuance.

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging he had “work commitment” which prevented him from attending hearing. PECO filed Reply Exceptions asserting Complainant was abusing the process to avoid termination (filed 4 formals and 12 informals).

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Complainant chose not to participate in hearing.
Request for new hearing not warranted since no material changes of fact or law and not in public interest.
Complainant never explained why circumstances made appearance at hearing unavoidable.

Robert Kramer v DQE

PM 3/16/17
F-2015-2499181

The Complainant alleges he was overbilled since 2000 because there was a more advantageous rate (residential add-on heat pump). DQE contends that per its Tariff, once notified of a change to the connected load and verified, the account was billed under the add-on heat pump rate.

ALJ Dunderdale sustained the Complaint finding the Complainant was overcharged for over 4 years. A fine of $10,000 was assessed for failure to provide reasonable and adequate service (Section 1501) and to compute billing statements under rate most advantageous (Section 1303).

DQE filed Exceptions contending the ALJ erred by imposing liability for actions in 2000 and not providing reasonable service by inquiring as to the heat source when service was initiated.

Exceptions granted; ID reversed; Complaint dismissed
ALJ erred in concluding that DQE provided unreasonable service by failing to inquire into the existing electric consuming appliances operating at Service Location when service established in 2000.
DQE was unaware of the add-on heat pump until the Complainant informed the Company of its existence in December 2014.
DQE immediately investigated and promptly initiated billing at the lower rate.
ALJ’s conclusions of Section 1303 violation directly conflicts with the precedent in Springfield, Ferguson and Victory.
Case law is clear--utility has no affirmative duty to inquire as to changes in service conditions.
ALJ’s finding of unreasonable service lacks merit under undisputed facts and existing case law.
Commission precedent clearly places responsibility on the customer to provide notice to utility when conditions of use change.

Statement Place

Tariff provisions may be difficult for customers to locate which becomes a barrier to informing utility of any changed conditions to ensure the most advantageous residential rate is applied to their account.

DQE encouraged to increase its efforts to provide additional information to customers concerning residential heating rates and the significance of informing the Company of their heating sources.

DQE encouraged to consider changes in the application process as another avenue to ensure residential customer are aware of the applicable rate options.

Joint Statement Brown and Coleman
Case law clearly stands for proposition that a utility has no obligation to compute the most favorable rate for its customer unless it has actual knowledge of the service conditions.
The first question must be what is the utility’s obligation with regard to educating its customers that there is more than one rate available.
Section 1501 requires a utility to inform a new customer if there is more than one rate available in that customer’s rate class.
Mauro v DQE stands for proposition the utility has a basic duty to notify a customer of the availability of new or existing rates.
It is not logical or reasonable under Section 1501 for utility to impute a previous customer’s rate to a new applicant who has no idea what information the prior occupant may or may not have conveyed to the utility.
DQE is correct that PUC cannot impose liability beyond statue of limitations.
If SOL had not been an issue, may have been inclined to find DQE violated Section 1501.
Request that utilities review whether they are asking new customers salient questions during the service enrollment process and whether sufficient customer education is provided to customers.
Lack of customer education about rate options can cause customers to spend more than necessary for utility service.
DQE encouraged to strongly consider issuing a partial refund (1 year) for difference of what was charged and what could have been charged.

Darius Chavis v. PECO

PM 3/16/17
F-2015-2477249

Complainant disputes responsibility for tenant’s balance due to foreign using alleging tenant was a squatter and PECO should not have established service in his name. PECO contends foreign using confirmed in September 2011 and balance transferred of $125.95. Complainant made payments and enrolled in CAP.

ALJ Vero dismissed Complaint finding PECO acted properly under the CODE and Complainant allowed a balance of over $12,000 to accumulate.

Complainant filed Exception asserting he requested PECO terminate the service that was refused. He also alleged permitting service to be established without authorization is unreasonable. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
PECO’s practice concerning verification of an applicant’s utility did not violate Code, Rep, Order or tariff.
Utilities are not required to obtain lease or deed as condition of service.
PECO followed mandate of Section 1529.1.
Landlord responsible for balance even if person occupying unit is not a party to the lease.
Utility cannot terminate service in Complainant’s name without verification that foreign usage connected or that property was vacant.
Complainant chose not to correct foreign usage.

Famille S. Trust v. Duquesne Light Co.

PM 3/16/17
C-2014-2440650

Complainant filed Petition for Rescission of PUC Order entered 3/17/16 that adopted the ID of ALJ Dunderdale and dismissed Complaint for failure to have counsel represented by counsel. Complainant alleges that Trust was represented by counsel and should not have been dismissed for failure to prosecute.

Petition denied
Merits of Petition not considered because Trust failed to have counsel enter an appearance.
Petition was not filed by counsel.
No reason to disturb determination of March Order.

Slaughter v. PGW

PM 3/2/17
C-2016-2541771

Complainant disputes bill dating back to 2007, requests removal of charges and re-installment into CAP Program. PGW filed PO asserting SOL.

ALJ Johnson granted PO in part (SOL) but found hearing necessary because genuine issue of material facts. After hearing, ALJ denied PUC PAR finding mixed arrears and no good faith payment history per Crawford v. NFG

Motion Coleman

ID modified; Complaint dismissed

  • Crawford appropriate when customer seeks PUC PAR to restore service.
  • Hewlitt appropriate when service is active.
  • Record reflects 2 payments in last 36 months and 2 defaulted company PARs.
  • Request for PUC PAR denied per Hewlitt.
Schell v. PPL

PM 3/2/17
P-2016-2567976

Complainant objects to having to serve company with pleadings since he using efiling and PUC Secretary should email to other parties.

Petition Denied

  • No justification offered to deviate from procedural ruled excusing Certificate of Service that other parties were served.
Ballard v. PPL

PM 3/2/17
F-2015-2521323

Complainant alleged incorrect charges. PPL contend mix meter situation and rebilled account correctly.

ALJ Barnes dismissed Complaint but fined PPL for not conducting meter mix in timely fashion (8 months).

Complainant filed Exceptions requesting rehearing because she disagrees with ID. PPL filed Reply Exceptions that accurate meter correctly recorded usage and rebilling was correct.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • Rebilling was correct.
  • Since PPL did not except to $250 fine, ALJ recommended fine was appropriate.
Reese v. PGW

PM 3/2/17
F-2015-2508207

Complainant alleged service terminated and inability to pay. Complainant did not appear at hearing.

ALJ Heep dismissed for failure to appear. ID returned as undeliverable. PUC extended period to file exceptions; none filed. Final Order issued.

Complainant late-filed Exceptions were treated as Petition for Reconsideration. She alleged did not appear at hearing due to age and failing health; requested balance of $25,000 be expunged, service restored and PAR for new service going forward.

Motion Coleman

Petition denied

  • No new or novel argument to excuse obligation to attend hearing.
  • No explanation why she did not attend.
  • PUC has process permitting telephonic hearing.
  • Substantial prejudice to interest of public, including other customers and utilities, in the final resolution of disputes in establishing precedent that excuses chronically ill, elderly or retired from participating in scheduled hearing.
  • No evidence of good faith to attend hearing.
  • Duick permits PUC to consider “any matter” but must be exercised prudently.
  • Complainant is level 3 income.

Statement Place

  • Record does not reflect efforts of PGW to work with Complainant to address significant arrears when they began to accrue.
  • Record does not contain evidence of how she could have been helped by CAP or available social services.
  • PGW to brief PUC on their efforts to mitigate high arrearages and to assist customers who struggle to pay for service.
Centro Park vs. UGI

PM 2/9/17
C-20152516051
C-20162530475

UGI filed Petition for Interlocutory Review of ALJ denial of PO that Complainants are requesting that PUC impose new rules and standards concerning meter locations for historic defects. UGI argues cannot impose new rules through complain proceedings. The Complainants filed response arguing natural facts in dispute and hearing in necessary based on PUC final rulemaking that directed utility to obtain approval before obtaining prevent to relocate meter in historic district.

Petition to answer material questions declined; Remand
Motion for expedited relief moot.
No compelling reason why interlocutory review will prevent substantial prejudice or expedite hearing.
Not appropriate to limit scope of possible relief or to predetermine relief at this stage of proceedings.
Within ALJ discretion to determine what remedy to recommend in event there is a finding of violation of Code, PUC order or regulation after full evidentiary hearing.
No indication of any error or prejudice that cannot be cured during PUC review process.

Kopanycrd vs. PECO

PM 2/9/16
C-20162526619

Complainant alleged PECO is billing him for past due amounts and seeks PAR. PECO contends Complainant is not entitled to PUC PAR.

ALJ Heep dismissed for failure to appear.

Complainant filed Exceptions seeking to withdraw Complaint and requesting mediation PECO opposed withdrawal.

Exceptions denied; ID affirmed; Complaint dismissed.
Motion Sweet
Dismissal with prejudice is reversed on rare occasions where record showed that the complainant had made a good faith effort to participate in hearing.
Withdrawal permitted when no sign of abuse of PUC processes.
Complainant very familiar with PUC proceedings (6 informal and 7 formal complaints).
Petition to withdraw made 1 day before hearing and basis was request for mediation.
Complainant seeks to change the manner in which it would be brought to resolution.
Complainant requests substantive resolution of PAR request;
PUC rules do not permit simultaneous request to withdraw and mediation.
Granting request to withdraw converts ID to dismissal without prejudice which is prejudicial to PECO’s interest.
Permitting withdrawal on eve of hearing creates precedent whereby parties could game system to indefinitely delay decision on merits to the actual prejudice of other parties and PUC.

Mayo vs. PGW

PM 2/9/16
C-20152562263

Complainant disputes responsibility for charges in 2004. PGW filed PO based on SOL.

ALJ Salapa granted PO since claims arose before August 2013.

Remand
Motion Brown and Sweet

  • Complaint also appears to request PAR for any arrears which may or may not be subject to SOL.
  • Hearing is required to determine if any amount is eligible for a PUC PAR.
Benedict vs. Columbia

PM 2/9/16
C-20152494976

Complainant alleged Company is improperly applying 2 multipliers to volumes of gas consumed. Columbia filed PO that it was authorized to apply multiplier.

ALJ Salapa granted PO and dismissed complaint for failure to state claim on which relief could be granted.

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging she had no notice of 2 multipliers. Columbia filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Issues regarding multipliers previously addressed by PUC.
2 multipliers: Weather normalization adjustment and therm (heat value of gas)
Weather normalization multiplier authorized in Columbia’s tariff
Therm multiplier authorized in 2011 Rate Order
Columbia properly applying both multipliers
Columbia did provide notice of rate changes.

Silvert Valley/Vianello vs. PPL

PM 1/26/17
C-20152510119

Complainant alleged PPL erred in closing his account and request original account number be reactivated. PPL argues an applicant erroneously provided wrong address which resulted in move out for Complainant.

ALJ Jandebeur dismissed the Complaint finding the closing of the Complainant’s account was an honest mistake and PPL’s billing system did not allow the closed account to be reactivated.

The Complainant filed Exceptions contending the changing of his account number was unreasonable service and PPL admitted the error. PPL filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions granted in part; ID reversed; Complaint sustained in part; $500 fine assessed.
While honest mistakes are made in course of the multitudinous interactions between utility and customers; record must support Section 1501 standards.
No record explanation why Complainant’s account number was changed other than cursory conclusion of “honest mistake.”
Erroneous transfer of service and subsequent issuance of new account governed by Sections 56.37 and 56.16.
PUC precedent supports finding of Section 1501 violation. Kashmer v. PPL
PPL did not verify that move in was accurate.
PPL did not issue confirmation letter of move out.
Period of error was 56 days.
PUC cannot over look erroneous albeit inadvertent terminations.
Honest mistake does not refute Complainant’s evidence.
Complainant must be credited with EGS rate for period not enrolled as a result of erroneous move out.
PPL not ordered to restore prior account number.
PPL fined $500; no evidence that PPL changed its internal procedure to prevent further “honest mistakes”.

Statement – Sweet

  • PPL did not have opportunity to implement changes per Kashmer since ID issued before PUC order.
  • PPL must implement safeguards.
  • Fine is meaningless.
  • PPL should advise PUC of improvements and associated processes to prevent future types of error.
Lisa Tucker-Phillips v. PGW

PM 1/19/17
F-2016-2547165

Complainant requested PUC PAR alleging because of being unemployed in 2015, she fell behind on her payments. PGW opposed the request arguing she had broken 4 Company PARs and CAP arrears in balance.

ALJ Pell denied the request finding $728.05 were CAP arrears of the balance of $7,305.20 and her failure to pay her bill accrued well before she became unemployed.

ID adopted.

Dissent Place and Brown

  • Complainant demonstrated good faith by making some payments given her meager income.
  • CAP arrears were only 9% of balance.
  • Company PARs may have been unaffordable which cause her to default.
  • Lack of utility service may lead to unsafe living conditions and homelessness.
Jermaine Walker v. PECO

PM 1/19/17
C-2015-2472503

Complainant disputes responsibility for balance accrued by his mother. A CSAT was filed. Complainant filed objection to the CSAT and hearing was scheduled.

Complainant did not appear at the hearing.

ALJ Jones dismissed Complaint for failure to appear.

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging he was not called on date of hearing and requests new hearing. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID. Complainant filed Petition to Withdraw Complaint because he reached an agreement with PECO. Answer to Petition was filed by PECO who did not oppose the Petition.

Petition granted.

  • Granting Petition will terminate further litigation and save PUC and parties further costs.
Debra Vitale v. Penelec

PM 1/19/17
F-2015-2463308

Complainant disputes usage for winter 2014 alleging house was vacant and usage was greater than prior 2 winters. Penelec argued meter tested within PUC guidelines and offered expert witness who provided explanation for higher usage and load potential for house.

ALJ Dunderdale sustained the Complaint finding Penelec did not explain what the polar vortex was when it accrued, impact on electric usage, and did not provide impact of degree days during polar vortex. ALJ ruled Penelec did not rebut sufficiently the evidence produced by the Complainant.

Penelec filed Exceptions disputing Complainant carried her burden of proof or that it had not sufficiently rebutted the Complainant’s evidence.

Exceptions granted: ID reversed; Complaint dismissed

Motion Sweet

  • Complainant had no actual knowledge of the temperature of house or lights used by real estate agent showing house since she lived out of state.
  • House had 11 thermostats which controlled individual baseboard heaters.
  • Thermal integrity of the house was poor with large air infiltration gaps.
  • Living room window had gap between window and storm window.
  • Side door did not seal well with frame.
  • Gap around entire electric service wire entrance.
  • Basement was uninsulated concrete block.
  • Polar vortex is so widely acknowledged that no expert testimony necessary to recognize strong effect on temperature and electric usage.
  • House had load potential for recorded usage.
  • Meter tested within PUC guidelines.
  • Vacant property does not benefit from energy produced by occupants and cooking.
Lisa Tucker-Phillips v. PGW

PM 1/19/17
F-2016-2547165

Complainant requested PUC PAR alleging because of being unemployed in 2015, she fell behind on her payments. PGW opposed the request arguing she had broken 4 Company PARs and CAP arrears in balance.

ALJ Pell denied the request finding $728.05 were CAP arrears of the balance of $7,305.20 and her failure to pay her bill accrued well before she became unemployed.

ID adopted.

Dissent Place and Brown

  • Complainant demonstrated good faith by making some payments given her meager income.
  • CAP arrears were only 9% of balance.
  • Company PARs may have been unaffordable which cause her to default.
  • Lack of utility service may lead to unsafe living conditions and homelessness.
Jermaine Walker v. PECO

PM 1/19/17
C-2015-2472503

Complainant disputes responsibility for balance accrued by his mother. A CSAT was filed. Complainant filed objection to the CSAT and hearing was scheduled. Complainant did not appear at the hearing.

ALJ Jones dismissed Complaint for failure to appear.

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging he was not called on date of hearing and requests new hearing. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID. Complainant filed Petition to Withdraw Complaint because he reached an agreement with PECO. Answer to Petition was filed by PECO who did not oppose the Petition.

Petition granted.

  • Granting Petition will terminate further litigation and save PUC and parties further costs.
Debra Vitale v. Penelec

PM 1/19/17
F-2015-2463308

Complainant disputes usage for winter 2014 alleging house was vacant and usage was greater than prior 2 winters. Penelec argued meter tested within PUC guidelines and offered expert witness who provided explanation for higher usage and load potential for house.

ALJ Dunderdale sustained the Complaint finding Penelec did not explain what the polar vortex was when it accrued, impact on electric usage, and did not provide impact of degree days during polar vortex. ALJ ruled Penelec did not rebut sufficiently the evidence produced by the Complainant.

Penelec filed Exceptions disputing Complainant carried her burden of proof or that it had not sufficiently rebutted the Complainant’s evidence.

Exceptions granted: ID reversed; Complaint dismissed

Motion Sweet

  • Complainant had no actual knowledge of the temperature of house or lights used by real estate agent showing house since she lived out of state.
  • House had 11 thermostats which controlled individual baseboard heaters.
  • Thermal integrity of the house was poor with large air infiltration gaps.
  • Living room window had gap between window and storm window.
  • Side door did not seal well with frame.
  • Gap around entire electric service wire entrance.
  • Basement was uninsulated concrete block .
  • Polar vortex is so widely acknowledged that no expert testimony necessary to recognize strong effect on temperature and electric usage.
  • House had load potential for recorded usage.
  • Meter tested within PUC guidelines.
  • Vacant property does not benefit from energy produced by occupants and cooking.
Kimekia Mayo v PGW

PM 12/22/16
C-2016-2562263

The Complainant disputes her responsibility for gas charges incurred in 2004 alleging she was a ward of the state. PGW filed PO arguing the Complaint is barred by the statute of limitation and PUC is divested of jurisdiction if the action is brought more that 3 years from the date the liability arose.

Judge Salapa granted the PO finding the complaint raises issues that are outside the subject matter jurisdiction of the PUC.

ID adopted.

Esther Lenzner v PGW

PM 12/22/16
F-2015-2491223

Complainant alleged that PGW terminated her gas service after she made a payment and was charged a reconnection fee. PGW avers the payment was not sufficient to satisfy the delinquent charges and termination was lawful.

ALJ Fordham dismissed the Complaint with prejudice because the Complainant failed to appear and prosecute the case.

The Complainant filed Exceptions explaining that a medical condition prevented her from appearing at the hearing.

Motion Brown
Exceptions granted; ID modified; Complaint dismissed without prejudice.
Medical condition, if verified, would be a justifiable excuse for permitting a second complaint on the same subject.
Dismissal should be without prejudice, which protects the Complainant’s due process rights while respecting the Commission’s administrative process.

Dissenting Joint Statement Coleman and Powelson
Complainant did not present any information in her Exceptions supporting her explanation of her medical condition (alleges severe memory problem due to fall and does not remember receiving the Hearing Notice or PHO).
The missed hearing was the second scheduled hearing and shows the Complainant understood the PUC’s process for obtaining a continuance.
Facts do not warrant a departure from PUC practice of dismissal with prejudice when a continuance is not requested and/or no good faith attempt to attend the hearing.

Hatchigan v PECO

PM 12/8/16
C-2015-2477321

Complainant alleges incorrect charges and subject to termination. PECO asserts pre-bankruptcy petition balance of $313.91 was properly transferred after bankruptcy petition was dismissed.

ALJ Vero dismissed complaint due to Complainant’s failure to appear at hearing.

ID adopted.

Hatchigan v PECO

PM 12/8/16
C-2015-2477321

Complainant objects to PECO requiring electrical inspection for rental property because service was off for more than 6 months. PECO argues policy is in PUC approved tariff.

ALJ Fordham found it reasonable for PECO to be concerned with the safety of the service, the property and public. PECO presented evidence that it followed its tariff and inspection request was based on safety.

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging the lack of exception or waiver provision in tariff is unreasonable. He requests remand to consider whether reasonable exception is implied in the tariff. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID and noted no record evidence that property was consistent with national electric code or that energizing service would not cause hazard or safety issue.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
PECO policy is reasonable and appropriate.
Safety of electric distribution is of paramount importance.

John Rounce v PECO

PPM 11/9/16
C-2015-2506941

Complainant alleges reliability, safety or quality problem with his electric service. Specifically he alleges he has experienced numerous outages, surges, spikes and brownouts that have persisted over 30 years. PECO testified as to the series of improvements made to improve reliability and that many of the outages were outside the control of the company to predict or prevent.

ALJ Vero dismissed the Complaint finding the Complainant failed to carry burden of proof.

Motion Sweet

Although PECO made improvements, customer did not receive reasonably continuous service as required by Section 1501 of the Code.
Number of sustained outages on customer’s circuit in last 5 years is simply too high to dismiss out of hand and merits further review.
Record evidence reflects that PECO has taken complaint seriously and had engaged in numerous efforts to upgrade service but efforts have fallen short of achieving level of service expected by PECO customers and required by Section 1501 of the Code.
Outage issues referred to TUS for further review.
Inadequate service issues referred to BIE for whatever action is warranted.
Civil penalty not appropriate.

Ross Schell v PPL

PPM 11/9/16
C-2016-2535220
C-2016-2538023
C-2016-2539969

Complainant alleged his bills are incorrect, questioned accuracy of meter and wants PUC PAR. At telephonic hearing, ALJ Watson admitted meter test over Complainant’s objection that exhibit does not reflect who did test or where it was performed.

The Complainant filed Petition for Interlocutory Review alleging the admission of the meter test could prejudice Judge Watson in favor of finding that his meter and bills are correct.

Material question declined; remand to ALJ for issuance of ID.
Petition does not support necessity for interlocutory review in order to prevent substantial prejudice or to expedite the conduct of the proceedings.
Admissibility of evidence or testimony does not constitute ruling which warrant interlocutory review.
Any objection to exhibit can be cured during the normal Commission review process.
Answering the material question will not expedite the proceeding; little grounds for an expediency argument at this late stage of the proceeding.

Gatto v Columbia

PPM 10/27/16
C-2016-254363
F-2015-2539314

Complainant’s Complaints were consolidated; she alleged the utility erroneously sent a termination notice during the winter moratorium and billed her in accordance with an invalid PAR. Columbia alleges that termination notice was valid since shut off date was after March 31 and Complainant billed per the BCS PAR which had same terms that Columbia offered.

ALJ Barnes dismissed the consolidated Complaints finding as of the date of hearing, the account was current and a PUC PAR was no longer requested. ALJ also found 10-day notice is valid for 60 days and no prohibition that a utility cannot mail a shut off notice during winter moratorium to Level 1 customer so long as the termination could not have occurred prior to April 1. ALJ noted that 3 days prior to actual termination date, the utility is required to attempt contact which is a further consumer protection safeguard.

ID adopted.

Keets v UGI

PPM 10/27/16
C-2016-2541626

Complainant filed Complaint against UGI and PECO; only UGI served. Complainant requested a PUC PAR on her UGI balance. UGI contends Complainant is no longer customer so a PUC PAR is not permitted and filed PO.

ALJ Guhl treated Complaint as an untimely appeal of BCS Decision. Complaint was dismissed without prejudice since there is no allegation that UGI failed to comply with Code, regulations or orders. Complainant should file complaint against PECO.

Motion Sweet

ID reversed; matter remanded.
Complainant filed informal complaint against UGI but filed formal complaint against PECO (and UGI) where she is currently a customer.
ALJ should not have granted PO since utility cannot rely on its own facts to support.
UGI should have filed motion for judgment on the pleadings.
Review of PUC records reflect Complainant has filed complaint against PECO and she should not have to do so again.
Returning case to its origins and requiring service of the Complaint on PECO will cure procedural defects that occurred.
Service of PUC Order will notify PECO that the Complaint will be filed, thus curing the failure to contact PECO prior to the service of the formal complaint as required by Section 1410.

Dorsey v PECO

PPM 10/27/16
F-2016-2523527

Complainant seeks PUC PAR to prevent termination of services. PECO contends Complainant not entitled to a 2nd PUC PAR under Section 1405(d).

ALJ Heep dismissed Complaint finding, consistent with PUC precedent, a PUC PAR for the non-CAP balance was not in the Complainant’s best interest since she is likely to default. Turner v PGW. Even if PUC PAR for non-CAP portion directed, the Complainant would still be subject to termination on the CAP balance per Section 56.51.

ID adopted.

Knapp v Penelec

PPM 10/27/16
C-2015-2511723

Complainant filed untimely appeal of BCS PAR and requested either be placed back in CAP or given affordable PAR. Penelec denied that Complainant was entitled to another PUC PAR or eligible to re-enroll in CAP until entire balance was satisfied.

ALJ Long dismissed Complaint when Complainant did not appear at the scheduled hearing.

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging she never received a hearing notice and that Penelec sent her a termination notice before the ID was issued. Penelec filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID and averred that the issue of the termination notice was outside the record and any request to re-open should be denied.

Exceptions granted; ID vacated; matter remanded for hearing.
Allegation that termination notice was issued 3 days after ID issued suggest that there is reason to believe that conditions have changed and the record should be re-opened.
Dismissal of complaint deemed to be a severe sanction in light of pro se status.
Remand proceeding to address allegations in Complaint and the issuance of termination notice while dispute pending in potential violation of Section 56.92.

Statement Place
This case, as well as Kolar and Rago draw attention to the hardship and dire circumstances faced by persons who have profound difficulties paying for basic utility services.
No implication of a lack of concern or effort on the part of utilities through low-income programs.
More needs to be done to permit customers to maintain essential utility services.
Large lump sum payments required to reconnect essential utility services are all too often out of the reach for many low-income payment-troubled customers.
PUC’s Energy Burden Guidelines are antiquated, unsupported by sufficient analysis and fail to account for regional climatic heterogeneity.
Greater education and coordination efforts among all parties can assist in alleviating much of the existing hardship.

Rago v PGW

PPM 10/27/16
F-2015-2503606

Complainant alleged he was terminated and alleged incorrect charges. PGW averred that full balance required before restoration since 2 defaulted PARs.

ALJ Fordham dismissed Complaint and denied request for PUC PAR to restore service. ALJ noted that Complainant never paid bills while 2 med certs on account contrary to Section 56.116.

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging his gas bill was outrageously high due to a long-term water leak and he opined that his gas should be restored pending outcome of his Complaint since he is low-income and enrolled in PGW’s CAP program. PGW filed Reply Exception in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Based on the Complainant’s poor payment history, defaulted PUC and Company PARs, Section 1405(d) and Crawford v NFG, PUC PAR is not warranted to restore service.

Kolar v West Penn

PPM 10/27/16
C-2015-2493095

Complainants sought reasonable PUC PAR. West Penn contends PUC PAR not permitted since total balance consists of CAP arrears.

ALJ Haas dismissed complaint since PUC cannot direct PAR on CAP arrears.

Complainants filed Exceptions alleging they were unaware that enrolling in CAP program removed rights with PUC and was provided misleading information which led her to make decisions that later were determined not to be in their best interest. West Penn filed Reply Exceptions is support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID modified; Complaint dismissed.
Section 1405(c) prohibits PUC PAR on CAP arrears.
Allegation of misleading information raised for first time in Exceptions and will not be considered since failed to raise in hearing.
ID modified to revise dates in FOFs.

Tran v PECO

PPM 10/6/16
C-2016-2544868

Complainant contends PECO located service line for another customer on her property. PECO argues Complainant never provided any proof that she owns the portion of land in dispute.

ALJ Jones, sua sponte, dismissed complaint since PUC lacks jurisdiction to adjudicate property disputes.

ID adopted.

Statement Sweet

Parties reminded to use well-established prehearing pleadings practice (New Matter and Motion for Judgment on Pleadings).
Concern that due process rights could be impacted in certain situations since parties did not have ability to provide information that hearing required.
No harm since PUC lacks jurisdictions to adjudicate property disputes.

McKee v Peoples

PPM 10/6/16
C-2016-2539234

Complainant alleged 2 organizations paid to have gas restored and Peoples opened new account indicating credit but then service was terminated for non-payment.

ALJ Johnson dismissed Complaint when Complainant did not appear at hearing.

ID adopted.

Stempo/Sammy Jo’s Inc. v Met-Ed

PM 10/6/16
C-2016-2532581

Complainant filed Petition for Emergency Order on behalf of his business seeking restoration of commercial service in landlord’s name. Service was terminated for non-payment and landlord did not want service restored. Company denied service in name of Complainant based on balance accrued while business operated at Service Location.

ALJ Barnes denied Petition and certified Order for PUC review.

Motion Sweet
Petition denied; Order adopted.
Procedural motion to remove ordering paragraph to remand to OALJ since ID was already issued.

Zaliponi v Peoples

PM 10/6/16
F-2015-2481843

Complainant alleges incorrect charges on bills for February and March 2014 and disputes the accuracy of his meter. Peoples conducted high bill investigation and tested the meter.

ALJ Johnson dismissed the Complaint under Waldron since the usage pattern had changed due to additional occupant, potential load existed and meter tested within PUC regulations.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing ALJ incorrectly drew inference that (1) the presence of the additional occupant caused the increase in usage; (2) usage pattern had changed, and (3) the meter test was reliable since it was not sponsored by any witness.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Additional occupant could increase potential for energy utilization.
Occupant had no knowledge of prior usage pattern.
Temperatures for disputed period were higher than 2 preceding years (polar vortex).
Complainant did not meet burden under Waldron test.
Objection to meter test or admission as exhibits waived since not objected to during test or at hearing.

Perry Sherman vs. PPL

PM 9/15/16
C-2015-2499616

Complainant alleges the transmission line emanates unreasonable noise and request the noise be eliminated or that PPL purchase his home. PPL investigated the noise by visiting his property and performing an inspection of the line with a helicopter to ensure there was no abnormalities with the facilities.

ALJ dismissed the complaint for failure to prove that the utility violated the Code.

Motion Brown
ID adopted.
There was insufficient evidence regarding standards for transmission line noise or options for noise mitigation
Matter referred to TUS for further analysis and action as appropriate.

Alder Woods PA Inc. T/A & Hirsch Funeral Home vs. DQE

PM 9/15/16
P-2016-2541570 Alder Woods PA Inc. T/A
C-2016-2522634 Hirsch Funeral Home vs. DQE

Complainant filed a Petition for Interlocutor Review and Answer to Material Question seeking review of the ALJ’s denial of their PO to dismiss their own Complaint. Action filed in civil court and the trial court bifurcated the liability portion of the Complaint and transferred to the PUC. The Complainants seek an answer to the following two questions: (1) does PUC have jurisdiction to determine liability if there has never been an allegation that the utility violated Section 1501 of the Code; and (2) can the PUC adjudicate hypothetical question raised by the ALJ?

Motion Coleman
Review granted; material questions answered in the negative; matter remanded.
Complainant has not shown that granting review will prevent substantial prejudice or expedite the hearing. To the contrary, pursuing the view seems to have unnecessarily prolonged the proceeding as the two civil courts, on three separate occasions, have decided that the PUC has primary jurisdiction to determine the liability.
Denial of PO remains in effect.

Zied and Zied vs. PECO

PM 9/15/16
F-2015-2500342

Complainants allege incorrect charges on their bill, dispute the transfer of the balance from a prior address, PECO fail to honor a settlement regarding unmetered electric usage for three billing periods of $133.94, and contested the billed deposit. The Complainants alleged mental health disabilities which prevents participation in a telephonic hearing. PECO denied the material allegations. The Complainants filed an objection to the answer and moved for immediate judgment in their favor, which was denied by ALJ Jones on procedural grounds.

Complainants filed a Petition for Interlocutor Review and Answer to Material Question that an in- person hearing could be waived in compliance with the Americans with Disability Act. Petition was granted and in addition to the five options provided by Judge Jones provided an additional accommodation option: the parties could submit written testimony, exhibits including direct, and rebuttal testimony instead of presenting oral testimony at hearing. However, the prefiled testimony and exhibits would still be subject to the procedural rules regarding admissibility and cross-examination of the sponsoring witness. (April Order).

Complainants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment and requested that reasonable accommodations be made so that a decision could be based on written submittals or brief instead of an in-person or telephonic hearing. PECO responded stating that there were several genuine issues of material fact and that a hearing was required. Judge Jones denied the Motion.

Complainants submitted a written response stating the previously filed materials serve their written testimony. Judge Jones also determine that the paperwork previously submitted would not be admitted as evidence because there were exhibits and testimony that must first be established as reliable and verifiable. Judge Jones found that there was still a need for an evidentiary hearing and a telephonic hearing would be scheduled unless the Complainants preferred an in-person hearing.

The Complainants filed a Motion for the Recusal of Judge Jones based on bias which was denied. The Complainants filed the instant Petition for Interlocutor Review asking (1) whether the affidavit, which was presented as an exhibit to the recusal Motion should have been addressed and admitted into the record by the ALJ and (2) whether there was sufficient information in the recusal Motion to warrant the disqualification of Judge Jones. The Complainants contend that Judge Jones did not comply with the April Order.

Petition granted; material questions answered in the negative; matter remanded.
Interlocutor review for the limited purpose of clarifying the April Order was necessary since it would expedite the hearing and provide guidance to the parties.
No factual support to demonstrate personal bias or pre-judgment on the part of Judge Jones.
Judge Jones followed the accommodation procedure in the April Order and the PUC could not and did not eliminate a hearing altogether.
Any written testimony and exhibits submitted will still be subject to the procedural rules regarding admissibility and cross-examination of the witness.
Commission while protecting the rights of all the parties must also ensure due process and a fair hearing.

Brenda Smith vs. PECO

PM 9/15/16
C-2015-2493947

Complainant alleges her service was being threatened and that when she was placed on CAP, she was told her service would not be terminated and she would be given a PAR. PECO asserts that when she enrolled in CAP in 2013, pre-program arrears for possible forgiveness were isolated. When she was removed from CAP in 2015, she was advised her account was not eligible for a PAR and that she was required to pay 50% of the balance cannot be directed. Prior to the scheduled hearing, PECO filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings since the sole relief sought was a PUC PAR and a hearing was not necessary. The Complainant did not dispute that her entire balance is comprised of CAP arrears. The hearing was continued due to the Complainant’s illness. ALJ Heep granted PECO’s Motion and dismissed the Complaint without a hearing.

Complainant filed Exceptions protesting that instead of receiving a rescheduled hearing notice, she was served with the ID dismissing her Complaint. PECO filed Reply Exceptions arguing that the hearing was required since the matter was determined on the pleadings and the requested relief could not be granted as a matter of law.

Exceptions granted in part; ID modified; Motion granted in part; Complaint dismissed, in part: remand.
Based on the pleadings, it cannot be determined that the entire account balance consists entirely of CAP arrears.
PUC retains authority to issue a PAR on non-CAP arrears.
PECO Motion granted to the extent it dismisses the request for a PUC PAR on CAP arrears.
Remand granted on whether a PAR on the non-CAP arrears should be granted.

Rick Iadeluca v. Penelec

PM 9/15/16
F-2015-2482361

Complainant alleged that his service was threatened with termination, there were incorrect charges on his account, and he was unable to pay his bill at a local location. Penelec admitted that a termination notice for undisputed delinquent charges was sent, but denied that there were incorrect charges and provided the no-cost bill paying options. Penelec denied that it had any oversight over billing practices of third party vendors. ALJ Dunderdale dismissed the Complaint for failure to satisfy his burden of proof that Penelec did not provide reasonable and adequate service when it issued him a termination notice for failure to pay his monthly charges.

Complainant filed Exceptions and an Addendum to the Exceptions, which were treated as a Petition to Reopen. The Complainant contends that he was denied due process because he misunderstood the purpose of the initial hearing, which he thought would be a settlement hearing or discovery proceeding. He argued he was not prepared for the in-person hearing and his request for continuance should have been granted. He also objects to Penelec’s failure to send its proposed exhibits to him prior to the in-person hearing. The Complainant questioned why Penelec sent him 2 termination notices prior to the resolution of the complaint proceeding: a 3-day notice dated February 11, 2016 and a 10-day notice dated March 28, 2016.

Penelec filed an Answer that it attempted to discuss settlement with the Complainant, but he refused to speak with the company. Penelec explained that due to the change from telephonic to in-person hearing, it opted not to circulate the exhibits prior to the hearing. Finally, Penelec argued that the ALJ gave the Complainant ample opportunity to provide information or evidence in the form of late-filed exhibits after the hearing, but he failed to do so. Penelec argued that the issue of the termination notices received was outside the scope of the proceeding and that it had not been afforded basic due process regarding the new allegations.

Petition granted in part; ID modified; remand ordered.
Hearing notice provided all relevant information regarding the presentation of testimony and exhibits.
Complainant had the opportunity to submit late-filed exhibits after the hearing but before the close of the record, but failed to comply.
Complainant was afforded due process and could have requested a brief continuance in the hearing if he needed time to peruse Penelec’s exhibits, which he did not do.
The issuance of the termination notices prior to resolution of the complaint suggest that conditions of fact have changed requiring reopening of the record.
Record will be reopened solely to address the new allegations regarding the termination notices.
ID on remand will be issued.

Lavoris Mintz v. PGW

PM 9/15/16
F-2014-2460301

Complainant alleges incorrect charges on her bill, PGW terminated her service because she missed installment payments and did not properly credited payments to her balance. PGW contends that service was terminated for an outstanding balance of almost $18,000 and between 2002 and 2007, she filed 4 informal complaints, 2 formals were closed with CSATs, defaulted on 2 company PARs and used six med certs.

ALJ Long found that PGW failed to render reasonable service because it did not effectively explain the Complainant’s complicated account history to her. ALJ also found that the Complainant failed to make regular payments and a PUC PAR could not be directed for her service to be reinstated. According to the ALJ, PGW never explained how to read the monthly statement and why different balances are associated by different account and service agreement numbers. PGW was directed to recalculate the balance, including the payments recently made, and provide her with a consolidated statement of activity for the last three years that clearly show the account activity and include a clear statement of her current balance. A fine of $500 was assessed against PGW.

Both the Complainant and PGW filed Exceptions. The Complainant excepts to the transfer of her balance in 2007 to an account established in 2010. She also challenged how payments were applied and grants received. PGW filed Replies to Exceptions arguing that the Complainant failed to address any error in fact and law contained in the ID; she raised matters not alleged in her Complaint and asked how to get her gas service restored.

PGW filed Exceptions that it violated Section 1501 arguing that it discussed the Complainant’s account with her on at least seven occasions, met with her on three separate occasions and 4 phone calls with her, which explained her balance. PGW questions what the Complainant does not understand about her bill, given the lack of information from the Complainant regarding what she did not understand. PGW argued that a civil fine is not appropriate.

Exceptions of the Complainant denied; Exceptions of PGW granted; ID modified; Complaint dismissed.
The Complainant’s Exceptions lack merit.
PGW’s actions do not rise to the level of a Section 1501 violation.
PGW provided sufficient evidence illustrating that it discuss the Complainant’s account with her on several occasions, the account statements were provided to her on at least two occasions, and that the Complainant agreed to a PAR that included the amount transferred from her previous account.
PUC PAR is not appropriate, given the unpaid balance of almost $18,000 and broken Company PARs and poor payment history.
PGW not required to restore her gas service.

Anthony Cortez v. PECO

PM 9/15/16
C-2014-2410180

Complainant alleged there was foreign load at his residence and disputed a tampering fee charged to his account. PECO assessed the tampering fee based on a site visit that reported “jumpers found and meter booted from line to load.”

ALJ Heep concluded that there was foreign wiring at the Complainant’s apartment and that the Complainant was not responsible for some of the charges to his account. The meter-tampering fee was also found to be unsupported by the facts of the case.

PECO late-filed Exceptions, which were treated as a Petition for Reconsideration. PECO seeks reversal of the conclusion that the Complainant was not responsible for the tampering fee arguing that its tariff imposes a strict liability standard for tampering. PECO argued that even if the Complainant did not personally tamper with its equipment, he is liable for the fee because he benefited from the service. The Complainant filed an Answer stating that he was unaware of the possible tampering with the meter until PECO terminated his service.

Petition denied; ID adopted; Complaint sustained.
PECO’s argument does not raise any new or novel consideration and fails to meet the Duick standard.
Disposition regarding the tampering fee cannot be addressed without a determination as to whether there was foreign load on the Complainant’s account during the relevant period in dispute.
Substantial evidence supports a finding of foreign load at the service address from April 2013 to July 28, 2014.
The owner of the service address is responsible for charges between April 2013 and July 28, 2014, as well as any tampering fees. PECO, within 30 days of the order, must credit the Complainant for these charges and any fees for that period.

Andrew Starr v. PECO

PM 9/1/16
C-2015-2516061

Complainant wants PECO to cease and desist from its attempts to force the installation of a smart meter at his residence due to concerns about negative health effects. PECO filed PO that Act 129 requires the installation and there are no opt-out provisions for customers.

ALJ Haas granted the PO since the Code does not provide for exceptions to the smart meter installation requirement. He distinguished case from Kreider v PECO because in that case specific physical symptoms were alleged to have been caused by the installed smart meter.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that Act 129 does not mandate installation; PUC’s interpretation of Act 129 violates the PA constitution; PUC must accept his allegations of the adverse health effects for purpose of PO; and PECO has not acted in good faith by forcing smart meter installation. PECO filed Reply Exceptions that the issues raised in Exception are not pertinent to whether the Complainant has the ability to refuse the installation pursuant to state law or PECO violated the Code, PUC order or its tariff.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
PECO did not violate any statute, regulation or PUC order by pursuing the installation of a smart meter at the Complainant’s residence.
Complaint is legally deficient and inconsistent with prior PUC Orders.
Act 129 mandates the installation of smart meters.
Court precedent states that PUC need not accept as true unwarranted inferences from facts, argumentative allegations or expression of opinions.
Hearing not required.

Beth Trivelpiece v. PECO

PM 9/1/16
C-2015-2462644

Complainant alleged incorrect charges, disputes her balance of almost $16,000 and contends PECO would not provide explanation of the balance or enter into a reasonable PAR to re-establish her service. PECO contends that balance includes properly transferred balances from 5 prior addresses and 25% of balance was billed under CAP and Complainant not entitled to a PUC PAR.

ALJ Johnson sustained the Complaint finding PECO violated Section 1501 by its 19-day delay in responding to the application for service and 16-day delay in initiating service. He also found PECO violated Sections 56.36(b)(1) and 56.37 by requiring as a condition of service the payment of a cumulative balance that accrued more that 4 years. A fine of $6,000 was assessed.

PECO filed Exceptions that (1) incorrect billing from 2003 was not timely raised within the 3 year period; (2) the issue of processing time of the application was not part of the Complaint and the record was incomplete; (3) the charges may have been billed more than 4-years ago but were properly transferred within the 4-year period; (4) the denial of service notice was not defective and the Complainant never disputed any charge or transfer; (5) request for high bill investigation was never made to PECO; (6) PECO discussed at length the reinstatement of charges after the Complainant defaulted on the PAR; and (7) imposition of a civil fine was not warranted. The Complainant filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID and argued that by entering into subsequent PARs she did not know she was affirming old debt and had no choice but to enter into PAR since she needed electric service.

Motion Sweet

  • Exceptions granted in part; ID modified; Complaint sustained in part.
  • Issue of whether PECO processed the application was not properly before the ALJ for disposition. If ALJ wanted to consider, PECO had due process right for reasonable opportunity to respond. Violations of Sections 56.36(b)(1) and 56.37 reversed.
  • PECO violated Section 56.35 by requiring the Complainant to enter into a PAR to satisfy an outstanding balance that included amounts that had accrued more than 4 years prior to her new service application.
  • The act of transferring a balance from a prior account to a new account at a different address does not change the original accrual date of any individual component amounts of that total balance.
  • PECO cannot include in a PAR as a condition of service any amount originally billed more than 4 years prior to new service request.
  • Complainant still has obligation to pay that part of total balance that accrued 4 years prior to the new service request.
  • Section 56.35 does not prohibit a utility from holding a customer responsible for a total balance that includes amount over 4 years old—just cannot make it a condition of service.
  • Charges in the total balance were properly calculated and billed.
  • Complainant is time-barred from challenging balances subsequently transferred more than 3 years prior to filing the present Complaint. Complainant responsible for full balance of $16,128.37.
  • Service Denial Notice misrepresented amount required to pay to establish service by including $12,121.35 (billed more than 4 years) as condition of service.
  • Nothing in Complaint or in record which raised issue about incorrect usage or accurately of meter. High bill investigation was neither requested nor warranted under the circumstances.
  • No record support for ALJ conclusion that bills “were inordinately high for small mobile home.”
  • No record evidence for ALJ conclusion that usage reductions could have occurred earlier if PECO had conducted high bill investigation in December 2013. High bill investigation would have not likely result in reduction of usage but reduction due to the implementation of energy efficiency measures that were installed as part of LIURP.
  • No record evidence that PECO failed to provide clear or timely explanation. Complainant did not question the charges earlier in the process despite the length of time that passed since the Company began transferring the arrears as she moved from one address to another.
  • Utility must walk fine line between attempting to collect excessively high accounts and becoming too zealous in its attempts and running afoul of the Code and regulation, which could result in a civil fine. No evidence that PECO stayed from that fine line.
  • The Complainant’s lack of understanding that unpaid amounts from prior bills will continue to appear on present and future bills until they are paid cannot be attributed to PECO’s failure to explain it.
  • Nothing in Section 56.15 requires a utility to use a specific label or form of language to report past due amounts. PECO did not violate Section 56.15.
  • PUC PAR request denial was correct due to default of 2 Company PARs but ALJ was incorrect that PUC is “unauthorized to do so because of the current enrollment in CAP.” PUC retains jurisdiction to issue PUC PAR for non-CAP arrears when warranted.
  • ALJ incorrect that PUC regulations preclude PECO from billing CAP charges that are more than 4 years old and PECO may continue to require the Complainant to pay all CAP and non-CAP amounts that comprise her total account balance.
  • PECO can include LPCs based on charges more than 4 years old in PAR.
  • Violations of Section 56.35 and 56.36(b)(1) were not serious enough to warrant any civil penalty.

Dissent Brown

Civil penalty of $500 is merited for violation of Section 56.35(a) since it would have forced a payment challenged customer to pay an additional $4,563.68 for service outside 4-year period.

Tillman S. Tomlin vs. PECO

PM 8/11/16
C-2016-2526027

Complainant alleges PECO lost 2 payments that he mailed.

ALJ Heep dismissed due to failure to appear at hearing.

ID adopted.

AG & OCA v. Respond Power & BIE v. Respond

PM 8/11/16
C-2014-2427659
C-2014-2438640 - BIE v. Respond

Complainants alleged EGS used a variety of marketing and advertising mediums to solicit residential customers to enroll with variable rates making misleading and deceptive claims and providing inaccurate pricing information. Parties filed Joint Settlement Petition resolving all issues.

ALJs Barnes and Cheskis adopted Settlement Petition which provided for: (1) refund pool of $4.112M for residential and small commercial customers; (2) fine of $125,000; (3) $50,000 contribution to EDC hardship funds and (4) business modification to marketing and third party notification practice. ALJs found Settlement in public interest; fine and contribution appropriate under Rossi standard.

Settlement adopted.

James S Kashmer v. PPL

PM 8/11/16
F-2015-2487224

Complainant alleges his service was improperly subject to termination, scheduled for termination on less than 10 days’ notice; and no 3-day notice. PPL contends as a result of incorrect move-in, service was discontinued in Complainant’s name. When the applicant did not establish service, PPL issued an occupancy notice since user without contract situation occurred with no customer associated with usage/account.

ALJ Cheskis found term notice violated Section 1406 since shut off date was less than 10-days notice and incorrect move out violated Section 56.93; $250 fine for each.

PPL filed Exceptions disputing application of Section 1406 notice requirements since Section 56.2 specifically states 10–day notice not required when user without contract situation.

Motion: Place

  • PPL violated Section 1405 and Section 56.93 since shut off date was less than 10-days.
  • PPL violated Section 1501 when it initiated service at Complainant’s address on behalf of a third party that did not own or reside at the property.
  • Fine of $500 warranted.
  • Utilities encouraged to consider better ways to address service requests so all transactions are performed in accurate and timely manner.

Joint Statement: Coleman and Powelson

  • Agree with ALJ that PPL violated Section 1501 but question the violation of Sections 1406 and 56.91.
  • 10-day notice not required when user without contract situation.
  • Unclear on record if 3-day notice was triggered or violated.
  • Agree with $500 fine since serious nature and would deter future violation.
Frank Rezzetano vs. DQE

PM 8/11/16
C-2015-2462441

Complainant disputes manner in which payments were posted to his various rental property accounts and disputes charges for vacant property. He requests negative remarks removed from his credit report. DQE contends payments were posted as instructed and Complainant responsible for usage regardless if vacant.

ALJ Dunderdale dismissed finding (1) DQE properly posted payments and immediately reposted payments when the Complainant called and (2) charges were never disputed so no need for high bill investigation by DQE.

Complainant late filed Exceptions disputing ALJ’s findings.

Petition denied; ID modified.

  • Late filed Exceptions treated as Petition for Recession Amendment of December 2015 Final Order.
  • Petition does not satisfy Duick standard.
  • Complainant never requested a high bill investigation.
  • DQE properly applied April 2014 payment as directed by the Complaint.
  • Business records are exception to hearsay rule and were properly admitted.
  • Invoice attached to Petition is extra – record evidence and cannot be considered.
Green Hills Manor vs. UGIES

PM 8/11/16
C-2014-2420911

Complainant seeks billing adjustment for gap month after EGS switch resulted in variable rate for that period. UGIES’s assert start period was requested by Complainant and clearly stated on all documents.

ALJ Buckley dismissed finding PUC does not have jurisdiction to reform the contract as requested since EGS not regulated utility. The express terms of contract were followed; Complainant’s “assumptions that UGIES’s would start the contract early is not supported by written documents.

Exceptions denied; ID modified; Complaint dismissed.

  • ALJ applied an unduly narrow analysis of PUC authority that PUC authority was limited to order a billing adjustment when the EGS fails to bill in accordance with disclosure statement or for slamming.
  • Facts of present case are not appropriate circumstances over which PUC should exert jurisdiction.
  • Substantial difference between a mistake in the making of a contract and the engagement in fraud, deception or misrepresentation in the marketing or sales of a contract or the billing under the contract.
  • Present case is properly presented before court of competent jurisdiction not PUC.
  • Shopping customers must exercise due diligence in entering into contracts.
  • Request for contract reformation or billing adjustment is outside PUC authority (akin to contract damages).
  • UGIES has no authority to contact another EGS to determine information for the supplier’s contract with the Complainant.
  • Written documents were provided 4 months before commencement which contained specific start date for service.
  • Complainant should have verified the start date.
Cohick vs. Penelec

PM 7/21/16
F-2015-2500438

Complainant objects to being responsible for tenant’s balance due to foreign load at rental property.

ALJ Hoyer found Complainant is responsible for charges once foreign load was verified until service was established in tenant’s name.

Complainant filed Petition for Reconsideration alleging tenants were dead beats who ran a commercial business from apartment that resulted in excessive usage and large unpaid electric balance. Penelec filed an Answer in support of ID.

Joint Motion Coleman and Place

Petition granted; ID modified; Complaint sustained in part

  • Penelec properly transferred balance at time foreign load was verified.
  • ALJ incorrectly found that Code requires service be left in owner’s name, even after foreign load correction is verified, until tenant calls to re-establish service.
  • Customer/tenant consent to placing service in name is not required and places owner at disadvantage if consent deliberately withheld.
  • Intent of Section 1529.1 is to protect residential tenants from loss of service because another person had service terminated (Santos v. ME).
  • Civil penalty not warranted since Penelec was not a party to Santos.
Hatchigian vs. PECO

PM 7/21/16
C-2015-2487879
C-2015-2477331

Complainant seeks to challenge PECO’s refusal to upgrade the service because size of pipe was not sufficient to handle increased load due to installation of generator. PECO challenged the Complainant’s standing to bring complaint since he is not the customer but contractor.

ALJ Fordham dismissed Complaint for lack of standing. The Customer did not appear at the hearing and no documentation authorizing him to act on the Customer’s behalf was presented.

Complainant filed Exceptions contending he has personal stake that is substantial, immediate and pecuniary and attached for first time a check from Customer with wording “POA.” PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
POA not part of record.
Complainant is not an occupant, customer or owner of service address (only indirect interest that PECO did not approve original design).
Complainant’s request to order PECO to relocate aerial service line due to safety concerns referred to BIE for investigation and action as warranted.

Ruth Sanchez vs. PPL

PM 7/21/16
C-2015-2472600

Complainant alleged service was improperly terminated and PP&L delayed in restoring her service PPL denied that termination was not consistent with Chapter 14.

ALJ Dunderdale sustained the complaint finding PPL never produced the 10-day or past notices or witness regarding the 3-day notices. She recommended a $2,000 fine for the serious violation.

PPL filed Exceptions challenging the ALJ’s rejection of its business records and failure to provide proper notice.

Exceptions granted in part; ID modified; Complaint sustained in part.
Hearsay, once objected to, cannot support Finding of Fact.
Hearsay corroborated by any competent evidence can support Finding of Fact.
Witness qualifying business records must provide sufficient information relating to the preparation and maintenance of a record to justify presumption of trustworthiness of business records; witness does not have to have personal knowledge of the facts reported in business records.
PPL should have attempted additional personal contact at time of termination given the Complainant’s attempts at making payments (albeit less than full amount).

ALJ incorrect that service was not restored until Tuesday – record shows timely restoration occurred on Monday. Reduced fine of $500 appropriate.

Colbert vs. PECO

PM 7/13/16
C-2015-2515607

Complainants object to the installation of a smart meter because they are not cost effective, an invasion of privacy and cause adverse health effects. PECO filed PO.

ALJ Salapa granted PO since no allegations of specific health symptoms and dismissed Complaint without hearing since Act 129 does not permit customers to opt out of Smart Meter Program.

Complainants filed Exceptions stating they did file response to PO, ID was deficient since no original signature of ALJ and hearing was warranted. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions were granted in part; ID modified; Complaint dismissed.
Complainants did timely file response to PO but did not serve ALJ or PECO.
Complainants have not presented a claim to which they could personally testify that would support a finding that the installation of a smart meter was responsible for any specific safety or health effects they experienced within their home.

El-Ayazra vs. West Penn

PM 7/13/16
F-2015-2509292

Complainant objects to being held responsible for tenant’s balance due to existence of shared metering. WPP contends it follow law.

ALJ Johnson dismissed Complaint for Complainant’s failure to appear at scheduled Call-In Hearing.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing his substantive position and alleged he did not know he was to “call in” for the Hearing. West Penn filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
No good faith effort to attend hearing.

Darlington vs. Blue Pilot

PM 7/13/16
F-2015-2500535

Complainant alleges his EGS rate tripled without his authorization. Blue Pilot contends Complainant knowingly enrolled in variable rate plan.

ALJ Barnes sustained the Complaint since Blue Pilot failed to appear at the hearing and directed a refund to the PTC and assessed civil fine of $2,500.

Blue Pilot filed Exceptions arguing record evidence (testimony solely of Complainant) did not support refund and no notice of potential fine. Blue Pilot states unaware of scheduled hearing. Blue Pilot argues it is no longer in PA, so fine “to deter future violations is not warranted.”

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint sustained.
PUC cannot consider non-record evidence.
Oral testimony is not per se insufficient because it lacks written corroboration.
Hearing Notice was not served but Prehearing Order was: no requirement for both.
Other than Blue Pilot’s denial and unreliable reliance on website, no evidence that Prehearing Order was not mailed.
Fine sustained.

Holmes vs. PECO

PM 7/13/16
C-20152478698

Complainant alleges someone else fraudulently established service in her name and PECO is threatening to terminate her service for non-payment of those charges. PECO contends the Complainant informed PECO that she authorized that service to be established in her name.

ALJ Fordham dismissed Complaint and refused to direct a PUC PAR based on Section 1405(d). ALJ found no credible evidence to support the Complainant’s position.

Complainant filed Exceptions attaching a police report and judgment against the person who opened the PECO account. PECO late filed Reply Exceptions.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
PECO presented uncontroverted evidence that the complainant authorized the account

  • Even though the person agreed to accept responsibility for charges, there is no active account in that person’s name.
  • Charges properly transferred to Complainant’s active account.
Yoblonski vs. PECO

PM 6/9/16
C-2015-2503739

Complainant alleges he agreed to pay $1,200 for gas installation but cost increased to $17,000. PECO asserts initial cost did not include a creek crossing.

ALJ Fordham granted PECO’s Motion to Dismiss since the Complainant could not present any ID that he lived at the Service Location. He did not sign the service contract with PECO. AL found the Complainant was not an occupant/ customer or applicant at service address.

ID adopted.

Fairchild vs. PECO

PM 6/9/16
F-2015-2500157

Complainant appealed the Level 1 BCS PAR.

ALJ Jandebeur found BCS PAR was consistent with Code and a longer amortization period is not permitted.

ID adopted.

Satiro vs. PECO

PM 6/9/16
F-2015-2510660

Complainant disputes responsibility for tenant’s balance after foreign load was verified. PECO filed PO asserting financial responsibility between the parties for the usage must be resolved in the Court of Common Pleas.

ALJ Cheskis granted the PO finding the Complaint legally insufficient.

The Complainant filed Exceptions alleging he is the “victim” not the tenant; he was unaware of the existence foreign load at his rental property. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Existence of foreign load is not disputed.
The Code is clear; the owner is responsible for all utility services provided to the rental property when the usage of several tenants is recorded on one meter.
A hearing is not necessary since the Complainant had opportunity to file answer to PO but choose not to.

Kossman vs. PECO

PM 6/9/16
F-2015-2500351

Complainant requests affordable Commissions PAR.

ALJ Jones dismissed Complaint for failure to appear at hearing.

Complainant filed Exceptions explaining family emergency and producing tracking number for timely request for continuance. PECO filed Reply Exceptions arguing the Complainants filed 13 complaints to prevent lawful termination and were using PUC process to avoid paying for service.

Exceptions granted in part; ID modified; Complaint dismissed without prejudice.
Good faith effort shown to obtain continuance.
Dismissal without prejudice.

Montanez vs. PECO

PM 6/9/16
F-2015-2493956

Complainant seeks Commission PAR. PECO asserts all arrears were incurred while enrolled in CAP.

ALJ Heep dismissed Complaint for failure to appear.

Complainant filed Exceptions stating she could not participate due to family obligations. PECO filed Reply Exceptions asserting her 2014 Formal was dismissed because entire balance is CAP arrears and Commission PAR cannot be directed. Present complaint again seeking Commission PAR for CAP arrears.

Exceptions granted in part; ID modified; Complaint dismissed without prejudice.
Complaint dismissed without prejudice.
Commission PAR not permitted for CAP arrears.

Diremigio vs. PECO

PM 6/9/16
F-2015-2479220

Complainant alleges incorrect charges and seeks a Commission PAR.

ALJ Barnes dismissed Complaint for failure to appear.

Complainant filed Exceptions that she could not answer phone for hearing. PECO filed Reply to Exceptions arguing Complainant had working cell phone and could have participated in the hearing.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed
Failure to participate was not unavoidable.
Complainant does not explain why she never returned ALJ voice messages.
No good faith effort to participate in hearing.

Dixon vs. PECO

PM 6/9/16
F-2015-2472513

Complainant disputes that PECO will not accept a fourth med cert.

ALJ Pell dismissed Complaint for failure to appear.

Complainant filed Exceptions stating she called ALJ who was supposed to call her back. PECO filed Reply to Exceptions noting Complainant called 2 hour after the hearing noting the account balance has increased by $10,000 since formal complaint filed.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
No dispute that the hearing notice was received.
Failure to appear was not unavoidable.
Interest of PECO prejudiced by giving Complainant a second opportunity to present case.
No good faith effort to attempt to call in for scheduled hearing.

Patel vs. Blue Pilot Complainant

PM 6/9/16
C-20142433817

alleged that his EGS variable rate was too high and should have a fixed rate.

ALJ Hoyer found the Complainant knowingly and willingly selected EGS variable rate and disclosure statement clearly reflected the terms. ALJ did not find the Complainant’s testimony credible.

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging an inability to reach the EGS call center to cancel the service that resulted in two additional months with the EGS variable rate. EGS filed Reply to Exceptions in support of ID noting call center issue raised for first time in Exceptions.

Exceptions denied; ID modified; Complaint dismissed.
Complainant in Exceptions raised new issues and requested damages.
Exceptions allege breach of contract which PUC has no jurisdiction.
EGS accurately and plainly explained to the Complainant the variable rate he accepted.
The Complainant’s testimony and claims were not credible or consistent with Complaint.
The record evidence includes the call between the Complainant and EGS.
A phone call was not the only means that the Complainant had to reach the EGS to terminate his EGS contract.

Moyer v PPL

PM 5/19/16
C-2011-2273645 / C-2014-2444864

In 2011 Complaint, the Complainant disputed net metering calculation and credits for his solar panels. PPL requested mediation to address the aggregated excess payments. PUC vacated ID and remanded matter to address new allegation in 2014 Complaint regarding the accuracy of net metering credits.

ALJ Fordham found Complainant made prima facia case regarding single bill and vertical meter aggregation, but PPL refuted the evidence with its explanation why its billing system could not accommodate single bill of vertical aggregation since Complainant’s 2 meters are located in separate locations. ALJ also found PPL’s offer to provide monthly spreadsheet for both meters reasonable.

Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing his position. PPL contends it is not legally requires to implement the suggested billing process, which would be costly to all ratepayers and only benefit 98 customers. PPL also argues that the Complainant has a customer-owned meter at his property that already provides the info he requests from PPL.

Exceptions denied; ID on Remand modified; Complaints dismissed.
Utility not required to issue a single bill for 2 accounts.
Requested net metering information is not required to be on every bill and would not fit on standard bill.
Utility has made requested information available by other means, which Complainant chooses not to accept.
PPL calculated and applied credits accurately.
PPL timely reprimanded employee who made human error that failed to credit account for June 2013.
Solar facility property classified as commercial consistent with PPL Tariff (does not share any characteristics of dwelling so cannot be residential service)
Complainant granted waiver of requirement that host have non-generational load to participate in virtual meter aggregation. PUC affirms regulations under AEPS (Chapter 75).
ID on Remand modified for interest on missed credit.

Yotov v DQE

PM 5/19/16
C-2015-2479258

Complainant alleges DQE’s refuses to remove hazardous tree next to electric lines near his house. DQE’s refusal is based on fact that the tree not in its ROW and there is no reliability or safety concerns or threat to its facilities.

ALJ Cheskis dismissed Complaint finding utility policy of only trimming trees on private property when such vegetation presents a safety problem or causes service interruption is reasonable service. Tree is properly maintained.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing ALJ gave no consideration to his testimony and evidence and the tree has deteriorated. DQE contend the Complainant’s statements based on emails and photographs are hearsay and insufficient to reverse ALJ finding and is contradicted by DQE’s record testimony.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
The Exceptions are based on hearsay testimony and as Judge Cheskis instructed during hearing cannot be considered.
No record evidence that the tree must be removed to prevent interruption of service or danger to DQE facilities.
The utility not responsible for tree simply because limbs are growing over utility lines.
DQE’s prompt response (2 timely site visits) considered to be reasonable and adequate service.
Deterioration of tree outside record; no good cause to consider.

McCarey v PECO

PM 5/19/16
C-2015-2503724

Complainant objects to installation of a smart meter based on privacy and safety concerns.

ALJ Salapa granted PECO’s PO since Complainant’s 2013 Complaint raising same issue was dismissed by Commission.

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging ID is unconstitutional and he should be permitted to keep analog meter.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Complaint barred by res judicata.

Bernardi v West Penn

PM 5/5/16
C-2014-2453852

Complainant objected to WPP’s use of herbicides on the transmission line ROW that crosses her property which includes a stream. WPP challenged PUC jurisdiction over transmission maintenance.

ALJ Colwell ruled PUC has authority under Section 1501 to determine if WPP provided responsible and adequate service. ALJ concluded she was constrained under Spirat ruling to find that proper use of herbicides in ROW is reasonable service even when well water involved noting Company acquiescence to “hand cut and stump treat method.”

Complainant filed Exceptions that “hand cut and stump treat” inconsistent with DEP regulations.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Fine sustained.

  • PUC cannot enforce DEP regulations.
  • ALJ’s finding that West Penn’s use of herbicides is reasonable service is consistent with Section 1501 and PUC prior decisions.
Hallman v PECO

PM 5/5/16
F-2013-2393373

PUC in April 2015 Order directed remand regarding the admission of the Complainant’s late filed exhibit and provided additional hearing for PECO for sole purpose of cross – examination of the late filed exhibit.

The Compliant disputed PECO’s contention that she resided at a property and was responsible for the charges. Complainant states landlord is ex-boyfriend’s parents. PECO did not object to the late filed exhibit and did not request a hearing. PECO filed Joint Stipulation of Agreement that: (1) Complainant is not responsible for charges, (2) PECO did not report any negative comments to the credit reporting agencies, (3) PECO provided reasonable service and (4) requested hearing to place Joint Stipulation on record.

ALJ Dunderdale admitted the late filed exhibit but denied request for hearing to admit Joint Stipulation into the record. ALJ found the Joint Stipulation to be inconsistent with certain findings in her ID and outside scope of limited remand.

PECO filed Exceptions on Remand objectives to (1) finding that the Complainant met her burden of proof; (2) the proposed fine of $1000 and (3) refusal of ALJ to recognize Joint Stipulation.

Exceptions and Supplemental Exceptions denied; ID and Supplemental ID modified; Fine reduced to $500; Complaint sustained.

  • Chapters 14 & 56 reference the types of evidence required to hold an applicant responsible for outstanding balance at a service location not in the applicant’s name.
  • The Complainant provided competent documents (lease, license, school district records) to refute she lived at property as stated in public records (Lexis/Nexus)
  • Summary exhibit prepared for hearing based on PECO business records qualifies as business record.
  • Fine for reporting negative information to credit reporting agencies information reduced from $1,000 to $5,000
  • Public interest did not militate in favor of reopening record to consider Joint Stipulation.
Zied v PECO

PM 4/21/16
P-2015-2520474

Complainant alleged incorrect charges and sought summary judgment. ALJ Jones denied Motion for Summary Judgment and provided 5 options to proceed with Complaint.

Complainant requested interlocutory review requesting waiver of in-person hearing and ability to present case solely on written documents submitted citing disability regarding oral communication skills.

Petition granted; Question answered in affirmative

  • Petition met standard for review in order to prevent substantial prejudice/expedite conduct of proceeding.
  • PUC presented a 6th option to submit written testimony and exhibits in lieu of oral direct testimony.
  • Hearing required since material question of facts.
  • Parties have right to cross-examine and present oral arguments at hearing.
Hoffman v Met-Ed

PM 4/21/16
C-2015-2494341

Complainant alleges high bill and that Met-Ed breached Company PAR and seeks 2nd PUC PAR. Met-Ed contends no change in income.

ALJ Jandebeur dismissed Complaint finding the Complainant was not eligible for 2nd PUC PAR due to poor payment history and significant arrears.

Complainant filed Exceptions disputing BCS income level 3. Met-Ed filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID that no documentation to support change in income was produced at hearing.

Exceptions granted in part; ID modified; Complaint sustained in part.

  • 2nd PUC PAR directed based only on testimony for Level 1 customer.
  • PUC reminded Complainant that PUC PAR discretionary.
Frompovich v PECO

PM 4/21/16
C-2015-2474602

Complainant seeks to prevent PECO from installing smart meter at her residence. PECO filed PO asserting Act 129 does not provide for an “opt-out” provision.

ALJ Barnes granted PO since no issues of fact; no opt-out provision and PECO permitted to terminate for refusing access to meter.

Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing position quoting legislative remarks that smart meters are not mandated and PUC “created different law” and violation of constitutional rights. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions granted in part; ID reversed; Remand for hearing

  • Code permits hearing related to safety of smart meters.
  • Complainant has burden of proof regarding alleged individual and specific health issues.
  • Hearing does not guarantee relief.

Witmer Dissent

  • Act 129 is unequivocal in mandating the deployment of smart meters.
  • PUC approved EDC’s smart meter implementation plans.
  • PUC lacks authority to provide relief requested (opt-out).
Butler v PGW

PM 4/21/16
F-2015-2465407

Complainant alleges high bill and incorrect charges disputing bills from prior address and current address. PGW contends Complainant’s documents reflect she resided at the prior address and did not request discontinuance and usage at current address is in line with potential load.

ALJ Vero dismissed Complaint finding closing documents and lease confirm time period that Complainant resided a prior address and usage at current address is correct.

Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing her position and alleges bias of ALJ. PGW filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • Complainant did not request discontinuance of service at prior address and is responsible for service until property was solid.
  • No merit to foreign load/meter mix-up allegations.
  • Usage at current address is consistent with load and thermostat setting (constant 68? F)
Blackwood v PECO

PM 4/21/16
F-2014-2455548

Complainant alleges incorrect charges and improper termination. PECO argues termination resumed after informal complaint was dismissed for undisputed delinquent charges.

ALJ Pell dismissed Complaint finding the Complainant did not carry her burden that there were incorrect charges. She only offered her opinion and could not explain which charges were incorrect or why. Termination was proper.

Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing her position. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • PECO demonstrated history of complaints and account balance.
  • Balance increased due to not paying amount in full each month.
  • Termination was proper and consistent with Section 1406.
Dawood Ghauri v PECO

PM 4/7/16
F-2015-2491526

Complainant objects for being held responsible for the shared metering conditions that occurred through no fault or negligence of his own. PECO filed PO arguing the Code is clear that the owner is responsible for charges when foreign load is verified. Complainant filed response to PO stating that PECO never inspected the property before establishing service for the tenant and the risk falls to PECO.

ALJ Haas dismissed the Complaint finding PECO’s actions were mandated by the Code.

The Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing his position that he should not be responsible and that PECO should make its meters “tamper free against foreign wiring.” PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
A utility has an affirmative duty to investigate a foreign load complaint. If, after investigation, the utility verifies a foreign load situation, the utility is required to transfer the account to the name of the owner.
Well-established precedent “holds the property owner financially responsible for a tenant’s entire account, once foreign load is verified on the tenant’s service.” Ace Check PUC does not have the jurisdiction to resolve this matter to the extent that the Complainant seeks recovery of this arrearage. Complainant must raise any such arguments before a Court of Common Pleas.

Alexander Solowij v PECO

PM 4/7/16
F-2015-2491428

Complainant alleges PECO attempted to install a smart meter that he did not want and that is threatening to terminate his service. He alleged that the meter has damaged his health and that of his wife. PECO filed PO that Act 129 does not permit customers to opt out of smart metering program.

ALJ Salapa granted the PO finding that unlike the Krieder case, there has been o allegation that the smart meter was installed and the Complainant has experienced adverse health effects.

The Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing his position. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID modified to treat PO as MJP; Complaint dismissed.
PO was not timely filed so must be treated as MJP.
No genuine issue of material fact: no allegation of Code violation or regs or order.
PECO is permitted to terminate service, after notice, when customer does not provide access to the meter.
PECO cannot terminate or refuse to restore upon the presentation of a med cert.
Hearing not required since relief cannot be granted.

Anderson v PECO

PM 4/7/16
C-2015-2483433

Complaint seeks a PUC PAR. PECO filed PO since all arrears were incurred while in CAP.

ALJ Salapa dismissed the Complaint finding for the third time that the PUC cannot direct a PAR for CAP arrears. He also warned the Complainant from further misuse of the PUC’s processes or face the possibility of being barred from filing further complaints.

Complainant filed Exceptions stating she cannot afford to pay the bill in full and PECO refused to accept a CRISIS grant that would have lowered her balance. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • No disputed facts—the entire account balance is comprised of CAP arrears.
  • The Code prohibits a PUC PAR for CAP arrears.
  • The Complainant failed to raise issue of the application of LIHEAP grant until her exceptions and will not be considered.
  • No hearing is needed since relief cannot be granted.
Mathieu-Alce v PGW

PM 4/7/16
F-2015-2473661

The Complainant alleges she was terminated for meter tampering/theft of service. PGW discovered that the customer placed a Precision Regulated DC Power Supply box on top of the meter that interfered with the meter recording.

ALJ Pell sustained the Complaint finding that PGW did not present evidence that the meter had been compromised. The customer argued that the device does not contain a magnet but could not prove it since PGW confiscated it. PGW did not present testimony of the tech who determined the power supply box contained a magnet or to demonstrate at the hearing that the box contained a magnet.

No exceptions were filed. Complainant filed a Petition for Reconsideration seeking damages for her radiator. PGW filed Answer arguing that the record evidence is devoid of any evidence concerning the alleged damage to the radiator.

Petition denied; ID adopted; Complaint sustained.
Complainant failed to raise the issue earlier in the proceeding.
Complainant did not raise in complaint or during hearing.

Brown v PGW

PM 4/7/16
F-2014-2455716

Complainant disputes charges from 2012 to 2014 arguing he used electric appliances rather than gas and his bills should have decreased. PGW contends the customer was removed from CRP when it was no longer the most advantageous plan and was unable to perform a high bill investigation because the Complainant moved 3 days after filing the dispute.

ALJ Jones dismissed the Complaint finding that while the usage decreased from 2012 through 2014, he was billed based on his income and not on his gas usage until October 2013. His bills did increase when billed on usage and not as a percentage of income. ALJ found it reasonable for PGW to place customer on budget as compared to his percentage of income.

Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing his position. No Reply Exceptions were filed.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • The Complainant’s transition from his participation in PGW’s CRP Plan to his removal from CRP, which was due to an increase in income, was the cause for the increase in the amount that PGW billed for gas.
Salahuddin v Met-Ed

PM 3/17/16
P-2015-2504703
F-2015-2463441

Complainant filed Petition for Reconsideration of Final Order dismissing her complaint for failure to appear at the scheduled hearing. Met-Ed opposed the Petition stating the Complainant was afforded due process and chose not to appear.

Petition denied.
Petition fails to set forth any arguments that warrant rescinding Final Order.
Complainant clearly was advised of her obligation to take part in the hearing and to present evidence on the issues raised; but by failing to participate in the hearing, she waived her opportunity to participate and advance her Complaint.
No good faith attempt to attend hearing.

Mary Paul v PECO

PM 3/17/16
C-2015-2475355

Complainant refuses to provide PECO access to install a smart meter alleging health and safety concerns. PECO filed PO contending that Act 129 does not permit opt out of the smart meter program.

ALJ Cheskis granted the PO finding no allegation of a violation of the Code, regs or order and noted the mandatory provisions of Act 129.

The Complainant filed Exceptions alleging a hearing was in the public interest and that she has a right to have safe and reliable service and the right to personal privacy. She also alleges that PECO has not properly informed the public of the dangers of smart meters and stated PECO removed the previously installed smart meter when she became sick from the wireless signals. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID and mandate of Act 129.

Exceptions granted in part; ID reversed; PO denied; matter remanded for hearing
PECO’s relief is not clearly warranted and free from doubt.
Issue of potential service violations (no info about smart meters, no call prior to attempt to install and not familiar with contractor) are appropriately remanded for hearing to which the Complainant can personally testify.
Issue of potential safety concerns is also appropriate for hearing.

Statement Witmer
Issues of alleged customer service violations are appropriate for remand.
Referral for health and safety allegation, of which PUC can legally require no recourse, should not be remanded.

Famille S. Trust v. DQE

PM 3/17/16
C-2014-2440650

The Complainant alleges incorrect charges on its bill. DQE disputed the allegations and requested order that access be given to investigate a potential foreign wiring condition. DQE also raised the issue that the Complainant was required to be represented by a PA licensed attorney since it was a Trust.

ALJ Jandebeur ruled in her Prehearing Order that the Complainant must be represented by counsel. At hearing, a non-attorney appeared to prosecute the complaint. The ALJ continued the hearing to permit counsel to be retained and advised that failure to have counsel file a notice of appearance on behalf of the Complainant would result in a dismissal of the complaint. No one on behalf of the Complainant appeared at the continued hearing. DQE moved to dismiss the matter. The ALJ dismissed the complaint for failure to appear.

Exceptions were filed by the Trust arguing the merits of the complaint and challenging the Motion to Dismiss on procedural grounds.

Exceptions stricken; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed
Trust cannot proceed in adversarial proceeding without licensed PA counsel.
EOA filed with PUC was of dubious quality and lacking any indicia of authenticity in both substance and form.
Exceptions must be stricken since improperly filed.
Dismissal of complaint appropriate since Complainant was afforded due process and chose not to appear.

Ann Castaneira v PPL

PM 3/10/16
F-2014-2404158

Complainant alleges billed usage is inflated due to fault of PPL to properly size the transformer servicing their property and alleges numerous 1501 violations. PPL contends the usage was direct result of the customer’s equipment that was not functioning properly and denied the unreasonable service allegations.

ALJ Colwell dismissed the high bill claim finding (1) the service location had the potential for the billed usage; (2) comparison to relative’s home not supported by record evidence; (3) size of transformer has no impact on recorded usage; (4) meter tested within PUC guidelines; (5) faulty equipment likely resulted in billed usage and (6) no 1501 violation.

The Complainant filed Exceptions contending the ALJ decision was based on “her blind acceptance of every fact favorable to PPL and her unwarranted rejection of every piece of evidence that incriminates PPL. Reply Exceptions were filed by PPL in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
ALJ role is to evaluate the evidence presented and determine the weight and credibility to be afforded to the testimony of the witnesses.
ALJ accorded proper consideration of the record evidence.
ALJ finding that the 2 water heaters were responsible for a significant portion of the electric bill was supported by record.
Record evidence does not support that an undersized transformer was reason for usage.
Crew foreman’s alleged statements are exception to hearsay rule; no specifics as to date or evidence of alleged person’s education, authorization and within scope of employment.
Complainant’s expert witness was limited not only by nature of his work experience but also his inability to corroborate the facts he relied on for his conclusions.
PPL’s expert witness credibly testified as to the operational needs of PPL’s system including service from transformer that served the Complainant.

Jesus Campos v PGW

PM 3/10/16
C-2012-2328020

Complainant disputes make-up bill due to meter only registering half of his actual usage and alleges numerous 1501 violations. PGW explained the meter was accurate but AMR was incorrectly programmed and recorded and ½ of the actual usage and denied the unreasonable service allegations.

ALJ Jones found the make-up bill was based on record evidence and consistent with historical usage. She disagreed with PGW’s methodology and directed PGW (1) to apply the credit on account towards undisputed amounts owed; (2) remove LPCs since make-up bill is analogous to an estimated reading. A 48-month PAR, supported by PGW, was issued.

The Complainant filed Exceptions generally expressing his disagreement with the ALJ’s findings. No Reply Exceptions.

Exceptions denied; ID modified; Complainant dismissed; Tentative Order
The Complainant’s make-up bill is analogous to an estimated meter reading so LPCs cannot be assessed.
Utility not required to show a customer a malfunctioning meter that is still connected to its customer’s service address.
PGW not aware of malfunctioning AMR until meter removed.
Billing discrepancy was the result of an improperly programmed AMR device as opposed to a faulty meter. The Complainant consumed more gas than as originally recorded on his account and by law is obligated to pay PGW for the gas that he actually used during the applicable 4-year period.
10% conservation credit appropriate since Complainant clearly showed a trend of conserving gas usage both before and after he received accurate price signals.

Van Schoyck v. PECO

PM 2/24/16
C-2015-2478239

The Complainants allege PECO installed a smart meter in their home without their permission or consent. They request the smart meter be removed and an analog meter re-installed. PECO filed PO that Act 129 does not permit “opt out” and relief cannot be granted.

ALJ Salapa granted the PO finding that the Complaint does not raise or allege any violation of the Code, PUC regs or orders. He also ruled that Act 129 requires PECO to install smart meters and customers are not permitted to refuse installation.

The Complainants filed Exceptions alleging (1) the smart meter as a licensed radio station provides wire tapping without proper and legal search warrants; (2) Federal Energy Act of 2005 states smart meters are to be offered, not mandated or forced, and (3) they suffered health effects since smart meter installed. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions granted in part; ID reversed; PO denied; remand
PECO’s relief is not clearly warranted and free from doubt.
Complainants have alleged specific factual averments regarding the health effects experienced after smart meter installed in both Complaint and Exceptions.
Complainants have alleged material facts relating to potential violation of Section 1501 (unsafe/unreasonable service).
Argument of violation of Energy Policy Act of 2005 dismissed since raised for 1st time in Exceptions.

Statement Witmer-dissent
Act 219 mandates smart meters and no exception.
PIC approved PECO’s smart meter installation plan which provided for no exception to opt out.
PUC cannot grant relief requested to re-install analog meter.

Durante v Blue Pilot and PPL

PM 2/11/16
F-2015-2487082

Complainant alleges incorrect charges and that the EGS failed to keep verbal agreement to charge her 24¢ per kWh pending her return to the PPL’s default service.

ALJ Dunderdale dismissed the Complaint finding that the Complainant did not carry her burden that she was incorrectly charged a variable rate.

Joint Motion Brown & Coleman
Complainant knowingly entered into agreement for variable rate and PUC lacks subject matter jurisdiction to view the claim regarding the rates charged.
EGS did not bill the rate agreed to in March of 2014 (24¢).
Failure to bill the rate offered and accepted constitutes a violation of Section 54.4 and 54.7.
EGS ordered to refund the net difference between the rate charges and the rate offered. Refund methodology directed to any subsequent billing periods.

Nellom v Aqua PA

PM 2/11/16
C-2014-2450732

Complainant alleged his service was improperly terminated and not timely restored with med cert. Aqua denied any violation.

ALJ Heep found that Aqua erred in not accepting a med cert dated April 2014 but presented in September 2014. ALJ ruled that utility cannot create additional requirements (such as timeliness of med cert) outside of Chapters 14 or 56. ALJ also found that once a customer uses the word “dispute,” termination cannot occur regardless of future PARs or comments that customer was going to pay the bill. Aqua fined $300.

ID adopted.

Tillman v PGW

PM 2/11/16
C-2014-2445229

Complainant alleges PGW improperly billed him. PGW asserts the same issue was dismissed with prejudice in a prior complaint filed by the Complainant’s wife.

ALJ Buckley dismissed the Complaint based on the doctrine of res judicata.

Joint Motion Brown & Coleman
The issues raised in both complaints are not identical: issue of termination was not previously raised.
The amount in controversy is also not the same; unclear if any of the Complainant’s disputed charges were billed after the prior complaint was dismissed.
Remand to OALJ for further hearings so that the Complainant can have the opportunity to further articulate his claims.

Keys v PGW

PM 2/11/16
C-2014-2428021

Complainant seeks removal of a municipal lien filed by PGW for the delinquent account of her grandmother. PGW argues PUC does not have jurisdiction to entertain municipal lien challenges. PGW filed PO seeking dismissal of complaint.

ALJ Buckley granted the PO and dismissed the Complaint without hearing.

Motion Brown
PUC does not have jurisdiction over municipal liens but the Complaint appears to raise issue of improper billing for the Complainant’s account.
Matter remanded for hearing to address any disputed amount not the subject of the lien.

Romeo v PECO

PM 2/11/16
C-2015-2479260

Complainant claims PECO is threatening to terminate his service because he refuses to permit PECO to install a smart meter alleging health and safety issues as well as privacy concerns; he also asserts that PECO’s conduct violates the Energy Policy Act of 2005. PECO filed PO that Act 129 is mandatory and there is no opt out provisions for a customer.

ALJ Barnes dismissed the Complaint citing the mandatory requirement of Act 129.

The Complainant filed Exceptions alleging the ALJ failed to consider his federal preemption claim.

Motion Witmer

ID should be modified to include discussion and legal determination that mandatory installation of smart meters is not a violation of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
Referral to BIE for health and safety concerns is not warranted since his Exceptions are limited only to the legal question and do not encompass the health and safety concerns in the Complaint and prior referrals are sufficient.
Absent legislative action, the PUC lacks the authority to prohibit a company from installing a smart meter and thus lacks the ability to grant the relief requested.

Israel/I&B Real Estate v PECO

PM 2/11/16
F-2014-2458827

Complainant objects to being held responsible for charges incurred on the tenant’s account while foreign load existed. PECO filed a PO seeking dismissal of the Complaint based on clear PUC precedent that the owner is responsible for charges while foreign load existed at the rental property.

ALJ Guhl granted the PO and dismissed the Complaint consistent with the Code and PUC precedent.

The Complainant filed Exceptions challenging the dismissal. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
PECO acted timely and properly in transferring the tenant’s balance incurred while foreign load existed to the owner’s account.
A hearing is not necessary; there is no de minimus exception to the Code; PECO’s obligation is mandatory.
Any dispute between the owner and tenant must be resolved in the Court of Common Pleas and outside PUC jurisdiction.

Shreiber v Respond Power

PM 2/11/16
C-2014-2446282

Complainant alleges she never enrolled with EGS for variable rate; she contacted EGS to cancel in February 2014 but it was not cancelled until May 2014.

ALJ Salapa dismissed the Complaint finding that the EGS was not required to de-enroll the account after the Complainant filed for bankruptcy protection and de-enrollment was consistent with regs in effect at that time.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed
The EGS timely processed the request to de-enroll the account.
PUC changed its regs in April 2014 to permit accelerated switching process.
Complainant incurred higher commodity charges before PUC revised regs became effective.

Lipscomb-Burnett v PGW

PM 2/11/16
C-2014-2422450

Complainant alleges PGW miscalculated her income and credit for CAP; in alternative, she seeks a PAR. PGW denies the allegations.

ALJ Vero dismissed the Complaint finding that PGW correctly used the actual income at the time the application was processed. ALJ noted that he Complainant failed to provide income information for all the adults in the household. ALJ refused to direct a PAR since Complainant testified that customer of record was no longer residing at the property and Complainant was not an applicant for service.

Complainant filed Exceptions challenging most of the findings in the ID. PGW filed Reply Exceptions is support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed
Income information provided was for years 2005 and 2006 not time period at issue; info for 2007 was not provided on record and cannot be considered.
No record evidence that PGW violated Code or its tariff in considering the “emergency unemployment benefit.”
Complainant did not inform PGW about the PFA; husband continued to be identified as member of household even after date of PFA.
Complainant should have transferred account into her name after obtaining PFA which would have prevented PGW from requesting financial info for husband.
PGW properly requested financial info in order for PGW to accurately calculate the Complainant’s monthly CAP amount.
No record evidence to show how and why PECO CAP enrollment should be the basis of PGW’s calculation of PGW CAP benefit.
Allegations that BCS did not properly investigate her 4 informal complaints were dismissed: BCS contacted the Complainant for each informal seeking support for her position which she failed to provide.
Complainant never took necessary steps to place gas service in her name (i.e., accept responsibility for the outstanding balance since she resided at the property when the charges were incurred).
Complainant failed to produce any credible evidence to prove her claim that PGW miscalculated her monthly benefit or did not properly compute the household income.

Bennett v. PECO

PM 1/28/16
C-2015-2488809

Complainant alleges PECO failed to provide correct info regarding CAP and did not calculate her benefit correctly. PECO denies the allegations.

ALS Salapa dismissed the Complaint finding Complainant was receiving 24% discount off rates consistent with CAP program. Complainant did not adequately verify that her child support payments ended which reduced the household income. The account balance is due to lack of regular payments.

ID adopted.

Gadson v. PECO

PM 1/28/16
C-2015-2471359

Complainant alleges incorrect charges and request LPCs be waived and remove any charge more than 3 years old.

ALS Vero sustained the request that LPCs should be waived since Level 1 but denied claim to remove charges more than 3 years old. PECO’s offer to refund additional $22.25 between October 2014 and May 2015 was also ordered.

ID adopted.

Kreider v. PECO

PM 1/28/16
P-2015-2495064

PECO filed Petition for Reconsideration of Order referring issue of safety of smart meter to hearing since customers cannot opt out under Act 129.

Petition denied
Case distinguishable from prior cases since Complainant could personally testify and provide documentary evidence of the potential violation under Section 1501.
Given increase in number of allegations concerning health & safety hazards of smart meter, PUC is taking closer evaluation of the concerns.
Premature to conclude that the facts and law absolutely preclude any possible remedy (PECO could install meter at different location or use different type of smart meter).

Statement Witmer-dissent
Act 129 mandates universal deployment of smart meters without exception.
No set of facts presented would permit PUC to grant requested relief.

Buoncristiano v. PGW

PM 1/28/16
P-2015-2493209

Complainant filed Petition to Rescind the Final Order entered in 2004. PGW opposes the Petition citing lack of timeliness.

Petition denied

Implausible that the Complainant did not understand the ramifications of keeping his address up to date with the PUC.
Petition not timely and only reason for filing was his inability to obtain financing due to PGW lien.
The Complainant understood the PUC process but chose to ignore his obligation for 10 years.

Williams v. DQE

PM 1/28/16
C-2014-2446701

Complainant alleges damage to sidewalk when DQE installed new pole; he seeks repair and removal of debris. DQE denies any damage and alleges sidewalk damage was caused by natural deterioration.

ALJ Johnson sustained the Complaint and fined DQE $5000 for unreasonable service (removal/installation of pole) and not conducting full investigation. ALJ rejected testimony of DQE supervisor finding no firsthand knowledge; adverse inference that crewmember not called because testimony would have been contrary to Company position. He also found DQE only opened investigation after PUC complaint was filed which violated Sections 57.12 and 56.151.

DQE filed Exceptions challenging the ALJ’s findings and analysis.

Joint Motion: Place and Coleman
Exceptions granted in part; ID modified; Complaint sustained
DQE supervisor testified with personal knowledge as to the condition of the sidewalk so no hearsay.
Law does not require that a witness qualifying business records have personal knowledge of the facts reported in the business record.
Once witness properly authenticates the business record, there is a presumption of trustworthiness and testimony is not hearsay.
Section 56.151 does apply to property damage cases but does not require written report; can be given orally.
Failure to personally meet with Complainant is not a violation of Section 57.12.
Failure of DQE to personally speak with excavation crew does not constitute violation of Section 57.12 given multiple on-site inspections done by DQE.
Complainant’s testimony of the sidewalk damage is credible given contemporaneous contact with the completion of DQE project.
DQE did not rebut testimony since no actual crewmember with 1st hand knowledge testified as to the condition of sidewalk before and after project completed.
Civil fine not warranted based on unique set of facts.
DQE still required to repair sidewalk.

Herp v. Respond Power

PM 1/28/16
C-2014-2413756

Complainant alleges he was guaranteed by EGS that his bill would always be lower than “EDC variable rate” and EGS agent lied to him. EGS responds Complainant validly enrolled in its variable rate plan and is owed no refund.

ALJ Barnes sustained the Complaint, directed a refund and directed the EGS to pay a fine of $10,000 due to the misinformation provided by the EGS’s door-to-door salesperson.

The EGS filed Exceptions arguing that the Complainant is not a residential customer but rather takes service under the general service tariff rate; PUC lacked authority to regulate EGS rates or to order a refund. The EGS argued that the written material provided to the Complainant was consistent with the disclosure statement and they had no way to know exactly what the sales agent stated. Finally, the EGS argues that the ALJ relied on testimony from another customer that expanded the scope of the hearing. The OCA and the Complainant filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions granted in part; ID modified; Complaint dismissed in part
EGS disclosure statement was not basis for Complaint and no violation occurred; EGS encouraged to confer with BCS about the regulatory compliance of its disclosure statement. Issue of hearsay evidence raised for 1st time in exception stage and cannot be considered; testimony of Complainant and his witness supported finding of violations of PUC marketing and sales regulations.
PUC gave more weight to the Complainant’s first hand knowledge rather than the EGS’s witness who only testified from records and had no 1st hand knowledge of the conversations that took place.
EGS agent’s representations did not conform to EGS subsequent billing resulting in violations of PUC regs and constituted appropriate circumstance warranting a refund; PUC did modify ID analysis rejecting Section 1312 of Code as authority to order refund.
Violations relating to the disclosure statement were rejected but PUC did find agent engaged in deceptive advertising in that billed rate did not match what was marketed.
PUC declined to apply Chapter 111 to commercial accounts but those accounts continue to enjoy protection from deceptive activity.
$10,000 fine reduced to $4,000; rejected “stacking” argument since a finding of 1 violation does not work to the exclusion of other violations even if based upon the same set of circumstances.

Deleon v. PECO

PM 1/28/16
F-2012-2287367

Complainant alleges incorrect charges on her account for her electric and gas service. PECO denied the allegations and stated the August and September 2011 bills were correct.

ALJ Fordham dismissed the Complaint in its entirely finding (1) dismissal from CAP was due to failure to verify household income and she was properly re-enrolled when she recertified; (2) disputed bills were based on actual meter readings and (3) Complainant did consent to the 2 company PARs.

The Complaint filed Exceptions contending there were inconsistencies and discrepancies in the ID and questioned the information contained in PECO’s exhibits. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID modified; Complainant dismissed
Complainant’s concerns regarding CAP enrollment are unfounded.
PECO’s exhibit reflecting payments contained no error or inaccuracies even though the presentation of data may have appeared confusing at first.
The PAR history reflects reinstated company PAR--not new PAR
The August 2014 bill was submitted 16 months after record closed and cannot be considered.
PECO did not err in providing additional exhibit at in-person hearing which was originally scheduled as telephonic.
Finding of Fact 27 was revised to reflect correct amount and date of bill.

Van Schoyck v. PECO

PM 2/24/16
C-2015-2478239

The Complainants allege PECO installed a smart meter in their home without their permission or consent. They request the smart meter be removed and an analog meter re-installed. PECO filed PO that Act 129 does not permit “opt out” and relief cannot be granted.

ALJ Salapa granted the PO finding that the Complaint does not raise or allege any violation of the Code, PUC regs or orders. He also ruled that Act 129 requires PECO to install smart meters and customers are not permitted to refuse installation.

The Complainants filed Exceptions alleging (1) the smart meter as a licensed radio station provides wire tapping without proper and legal search warrants; (2) Federal Energy Act of 2005 states smart meters are to be offered, not mandated or forced, and (3) they suffered health effects since smart meter installed. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions granted in part; ID reversed; PO denied; remand
PECO’s relief is not clearly warranted and free from doubt.
Complainants have alleged specific factual averments regarding the health effects experienced after smart meter installed in both Complaint and Exceptions.
Complainants have alleged material facts relating to potential violation of Section 1501 (unsafe/unreasonable service).
Argument of violation of Energy Policy Act of 2005 dismissed since raised for 1st time in Exceptions.

Statement Witmer-dissent
Act 219 mandates smart meters and no exception.
PIC approved PECO’s smart meter installation plan which provided for no exception to opt out.
PUC cannot grant relief requested to re-install analog meter.

Durante v Blue Pilot and PPL

PM 2/11/16
F-2015-2487082

Complainant alleges incorrect charges and that the EGS failed to keep verbal agreement to charge her 24¢ per kWh pending her return to the PPL’s default service.

ALJ Dunderdale dismissed the Complaint finding that the Complainant did not carry her burden that she was incorrectly charged a variable rate.

Joint Motion Brown & Coleman
Complainant knowingly entered into agreement for variable rate and PUC lacks subject matter jurisdiction to view the claim regarding the rates charged.
EGS did not bill the rate agreed to in March of 2014 (24¢).
Failure to bill the rate offered and accepted constitutes a violation of Section 54.4 and 54.7.
EGS ordered to refund the net difference between the rate charges and the rate offered. Refund methodology directed to any subsequent billing periods.

Nellom v Aqua PA

PM 2/11/16
C-2014-2450732

Complainant alleged his service was improperly terminated and not timely restored with med cert. Aqua denied any violation.

ALJ Heep found that Aqua erred in not accepting a med cert dated April 2014 but presented in September 2014. ALJ ruled that utility cannot create additional requirements (such as timeliness of med cert) outside of Chapters 14 or 56. ALJ also found that once a customer uses the word “dispute,” termination cannot occur regardless of future PARs or comments that customer was going to pay the bill. Aqua fined $300.

ID adopted.

Tillman v PGW

PM 2/11/16
C-2014-2445229

Complainant alleges PGW improperly billed him. PGW asserts the same issue was dismissed with prejudice in a prior complaint filed by the Complainant’s wife.

ALJ Buckley dismissed the Complaint based on the doctrine of res judicata.

Joint Motion Brown & Coleman
The issues raised in both complaints are not identical: issue of termination was not previously raised.
The amount in controversy is also not the same; unclear if any of the Complainant’s disputed charges were billed after the prior complaint was dismissed.
Remand to OALJ for further hearings so that the Complainant can have the opportunity to further articulate his claims.

Keys v PGW

PM 2/11/16
C-2014-2428021

Complainant seeks removal of a municipal lien filed by PGW for the delinquent account of her grandmother. PGW argues PUC does not have jurisdiction to entertain municipal lien challenges. PGW filed PO seeking dismissal of complaint.

ALJ Buckley granted the PO and dismissed the Complaint without hearing.

Motion Brown
PUC does not have jurisdiction over municipal liens but the Complaint appears to raise issue of improper billing for the Complainant’s account.
Matter remanded for hearing to address any disputed amount not the subject of the lien.

Romeo v PECO

PM 2/11/16
C-2015-2479260

Complainant claims PECO is threatening to terminate his service because he refuses to permit PECO to install a smart meter alleging health and safety issues as well as privacy concerns; he also asserts that PECO’s conduct violates the Energy Policy Act of 2005. PECO filed PO that Act 129 is mandatory and there is no opt out provisions for a customer.

ALJ Barnes dismissed the Complaint citing the mandatory requirement of Act 129.

The Complainant filed Exceptions alleging the ALJ failed to consider his federal preemption claim.

Motion Witmer

ID should be modified to include discussion and legal determination that mandatory installation of smart meters is not a violation of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
Referral to BIE for health and safety concerns is not warranted since his Exceptions are limited only to the legal question and do not encompass the health and safety concerns in the Complaint and prior referrals are sufficient.
Absent legislative action, the PUC lacks the authority to prohibit a company from installing a smart meter and thus lacks the ability to grant the relief requested.

Israel/I&B Real Estate v PECO

PM 2/11/16
F-2014-2458827

Complainant objects to being held responsible for charges incurred on the tenant’s account while foreign load existed. PECO filed a PO seeking dismissal of the Complaint based on clear PUC precedent that the owner is responsible for charges while foreign load existed at the rental property.

ALJ Guhl granted the PO and dismissed the Complaint consistent with the Code and PUC precedent.

The Complainant filed Exceptions challenging the dismissal. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
PECO acted timely and properly in transferring the tenant’s balance incurred while foreign load existed to the owner’s account.
A hearing is not necessary; there is no de minimus exception to the Code; PECO’s obligation is mandatory.
Any dispute between the owner and tenant must be resolved in the Court of Common Pleas and outside PUC jurisdiction.

Shreiber v Respond Power

PM 2/11/16
C-2014-2446282

Complainant alleges she never enrolled with EGS for variable rate; she contacted EGS to cancel in February 2014 but it was not cancelled until May 2014.

ALJ Salapa dismissed the Complaint finding that the EGS was not required to de-enroll the account after the Complainant filed for bankruptcy protection and de-enrollment was consistent with regs in effect at that time.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed
The EGS timely processed the request to de-enroll the account.
PUC changed its regs in April 2014 to permit accelerated switching process.
Complainant incurred higher commodity charges before PUC revised regs became effective.

Lipscomb-Burnett v PGW

PM 2/11/16
C-2014-2422450

Complainant alleges PGW miscalculated her income and credit for CAP; in alternative, she seeks a PAR. PGW denies the allegations.

ALJ Vero dismissed the Complaint finding that PGW correctly used the actual income at the time the application was processed. ALJ noted that he Complainant failed to provide income information for all the adults in the household. ALJ refused to direct a PAR since Complainant testified that customer of record was no longer residing at the property and Complainant was not an applicant for service.

Complainant filed Exceptions challenging most of the findings in the ID. PGW filed Reply Exceptions is support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed
Income information provided was for years 2005 and 2006 not time period at issue; info for 2007 was not provided on record and cannot be considered.
No record evidence that PGW violated Code or its tariff in considering the “emergency unemployment benefit.”
Complainant did not inform PGW about the PFA; husband continued to be identified as member of household even after date of PFA.
Complainant should have transferred account into her name after obtaining PFA which would have prevented PGW from requesting financial info for husband.
PGW properly requested financial info in order for PGW to accurately calculate the Complainant’s monthly CAP amount.
No record evidence to show how and why PECO CAP enrollment should be the basis of PGW’s calculation of PGW CAP benefit.
Allegations that BCS did not properly investigate her 4 informal complaints were dismissed: BCS contacted the Complainant for each informal seeking support for her position which she failed to provide.
Complainant never took necessary steps to place gas service in her name (i.e., accept responsibility for the outstanding balance since she resided at the property when the charges were incurred).
Complainant failed to produce any credible evidence to prove her claim that PGW miscalculated her monthly benefit or did not properly compute the household income.

Bennett v. PECO

PM 1/28/16
C-2015-2488809

Complainant alleges PECO failed to provide correct info regarding CAP and did not calculate her benefit correctly. PECO denies the allegations.

ALS Salapa dismissed the Complaint finding Complainant was receiving 24% discount off rates consistent with CAP program. Complainant did not adequately verify that her child support payments ended which reduced the household income. The account balance is due to lack of regular payments.

ID adopted.

Gadson v. PECO

PM 1/28/16
C-2015-2471359

Complainant alleges incorrect charges and request LPCs be waived and remove any charge more than 3 years old.

ALS Vero sustained the request that LPCs should be waived since Level 1 but denied claim to remove charges more than 3 years old. PECO’s offer to refund additional $22.25 between October 2014 and May 2015 was also ordered.

ID adopted.

Kreider v. PECO

PM 1/28/16
P-2015-2495064

PECO filed Petition for Reconsideration of Order referring issue of safety of smart meter to hearing since customers cannot opt out under Act 129.

Petition denied
Case distinguishable from prior cases since Complainant could personally testify and provide documentary evidence of the potential violation under Section 1501.
Given increase in number of allegations concerning health & safety hazards of smart meter, PUC is taking closer evaluation of the concerns.
Premature to conclude that the facts and law absolutely preclude any possible remedy (PECO could install meter at different location or use different type of smart meter).

Statement Witmer-dissent
Act 129 mandates universal deployment of smart meters without exception.
No set of facts presented would permit PUC to grant requested relief.

Buoncristiano v. PGW

PM 1/28/16
P-2015-2493209

Complainant filed Petition to Rescind the Final Order entered in 2004. PGW opposes the Petition citing lack of timeliness.

Petition denied

Implausible that the Complainant did not understand the ramifications of keeping his address up to date with the PUC.
Petition not timely and only reason for filing was his inability to obtain financing due to PGW lien.
The Complainant understood the PUC process but chose to ignore his obligation for 10 years.

Williams v. DQE

PM 1/28/16
C-2014-2446701

Complainant alleges damage to sidewalk when DQE installed new pole; he seeks repair and removal of debris. DQE denies any damage and alleges sidewalk damage was caused by natural deterioration.

ALJ Johnson sustained the Complaint and fined DQE $5000 for unreasonable service (removal/installation of pole) and not conducting full investigation. ALJ rejected testimony of DQE supervisor finding no firsthand knowledge; adverse inference that crewmember not called because testimony would have been contrary to Company position. He also found DQE only opened investigation after PUC complaint was filed which violated Sections 57.12 and 56.151.

DQE filed Exceptions challenging the ALJ’s findings and analysis.

Joint Motion: Place and Coleman
Exceptions granted in part; ID modified; Complaint sustained
DQE supervisor testified with personal knowledge as to the condition of the sidewalk so no hearsay.
Law does not require that a witness qualifying business records have personal knowledge of the facts reported in the business record.
Once witness properly authenticates the business record, there is a presumption of trustworthiness and testimony is not hearsay.
Section 56.151 does apply to property damage cases but does not require written report; can be given orally.
Failure to personally meet with Complainant is not a violation of Section 57.12.
Failure of DQE to personally speak with excavation crew does not constitute violation of Section 57.12 given multiple on-site inspections done by DQE.
Complainant’s testimony of the sidewalk damage is credible given contemporaneous contact with the completion of DQE project.
DQE did not rebut testimony since no actual crewmember with 1st hand knowledge testified as to the condition of sidewalk before and after project completed.
Civil fine not warranted based on unique set of facts.
DQE still required to repair sidewalk.

Herp v. Respond Power

PM 1/28/16
C-2014-2413756

Complainant alleges he was guaranteed by EGS that his bill would always be lower than “EDC variable rate” and EGS agent lied to him. EGS responds Complainant validly enrolled in its variable rate plan and is owed no refund.

ALJ Barnes sustained the Complaint, directed a refund and directed the EGS to pay a fine of $10,000 due to the misinformation provided by the EGS’s door-to-door salesperson.

The EGS filed Exceptions arguing that the Complainant is not a residential customer but rather takes service under the general service tariff rate; PUC lacked authority to regulate EGS rates or to order a refund. The EGS argued that the written material provided to the Complainant was consistent with the disclosure statement and they had no way to know exactly what the sales agent stated. Finally, the EGS argues that the ALJ relied on testimony from another customer that expanded the scope of the hearing. The OCA and the Complainant filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions granted in part; ID modified; Complaint dismissed in part
EGS disclosure statement was not basis for Complaint and no violation occurred; EGS encouraged to confer with BCS about the regulatory compliance of its disclosure statement. Issue of hearsay evidence raised for 1st time in exception stage and cannot be considered; testimony of Complainant and his witness supported finding of violations of PUC marketing and sales regulations.
PUC gave more weight to the Complainant’s first hand knowledge rather than the EGS’s witness who only testified from records and had no 1st hand knowledge of the conversations that took place.
EGS agent’s representations did not conform to EGS subsequent billing resulting in violations of PUC regs and constituted appropriate circumstance warranting a refund; PUC did modify ID analysis rejecting Section 1312 of Code as authority to order refund.
Violations relating to the disclosure statement were rejected but PUC did find agent engaged in deceptive advertising in that billed rate did not match what was marketed.
PUC declined to apply Chapter 111 to commercial accounts but those accounts continue to enjoy protection from deceptive activity.
$10,000 fine reduced to $4,000; rejected “stacking” argument since a finding of 1 violation does not work to the exclusion of other violations even if based upon the same set of circumstances.

Deleon v. PECO

PM 1/28/16
F-2012-2287367

Complainant alleges incorrect charges on her account for her electric and gas service. PECO denied the allegations and stated the August and September 2011 bills were correct.

ALJ Fordham dismissed the Complaint in its entirely finding (1) dismissal from CAP was due to failure to verify household income and she was properly re-enrolled when she recertified; (2) disputed bills were based on actual meter readings and (3) Complainant did consent to the 2 company PARs.

The Complaint filed Exceptions contending there were inconsistencies and discrepancies in the ID and questioned the information contained in PECO’s exhibits. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID modified; Complainant dismissed
Complainant’s concerns regarding CAP enrollment are unfounded.
PECO’s exhibit reflecting payments contained no error or inaccuracies even though the presentation of data may have appeared confusing at first.
The PAR history reflects reinstated company PAR--not new PAR
The August 2014 bill was submitted 16 months after record closed and cannot be considered.
PECO did not err in providing additional exhibit at in-person hearing which was originally scheduled as telephonic.
Finding of Fact 27 was revised to reflect correct amount and date of bill.

Frank R. Taylor v PECO

PM 12/17/15
F-2014-2460340

Complainant requested PUC PAR for undisputed outstanding balance. PECO did not object to the request since Complaint never had PUC PAR.

ALJ Johnson directed a Level 4 Commission PAR plus but stated that the “budget amount would be reduced quarterly.”

PECO filed Exceptions arguing that the ALJ misspoke and meant to state the budget amount would be reviewed quarterly.

Exceptions granted; ID modified; Complaint sustained.
Id incorrectly stated and should be modified to reflect the Parties stipulation that the Complainant’s budget billing is “reviewed quarterly” rather than “reduced quarterly” and is subject to revision based on the Complainant’s usage.

Renee Chatmon v PECO

PM 12/3/15
C-2014-2426964

The Complainant alleges incorrect charges, PECO failed to honor CAP forgiveness for the deferred arrears and did not deduct 12% of the balance and PECO did not properly inform her of the CAP rules until after she moved to a new address. PECO denied the allegations and explained that CAP benefits did not follow her to her new address but $703.74 was forgiven while she was in the CAP program.

ALJ Fordham dismissed the Complaint finding that due to an error of PECO, the Complainant actually received forgiveness for the arrears twice—1999 and 2014. She also ruled that the Complainant was enrolled in budget billing and the balance increase on the October 2014 bill was due tot the annual budget reconciliation. The originally deferred arrears became due when the Complainant ceased being a PECO customer; balance was properly transferred from prior service location.

No timely exceptions were filed and the ID became final without further Commission action. The Complainant late filed Exceptions that were treated as a Petition for Reconsideration. PECO’s Reply Exceptions were considered as an Answer to the Petition.

Petition granted in part; ID modified; Complaint dismissed. Some of the Complainant’s objections to the ID may contain certain specific arguments that were not previously considered; certain "alleged" errors in the ID were addressed.

Arrearage forgiveness is not unconditional; PECO informed the Complainant that forgiveness for pre-program balance is not available if previously enrolled or recertified in CAP and received forgiveness of a prior balance.

Deferred arrears become due and payable when a customer ceases to be a customer. PECO entered into a PAR to establish service in lieu of requiring payment in full per Section 1407.

Kielbasinski v. Columbia Gas

PM 11/19/15
C-2015-2485659

Complainant alleges bills are inaccurate and seeks another PAR. Columbia asserts Complainant abusing the process and sought to bar further complaints.

ALJ Dunderdale dismissed the Complaint for Complainant’s failure to appear.

Complainant filed Exceptions stating he had an emergency and seeks a “deal like the electric company.”

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Exceptions fail to provide a reason as a matter of law or fact to reverse the ID.
No good cause shown why Complainant did not/could not appear at scheduled hearing.

Feldman v. PECO

PM 11/19/15
C-2014-2442308

Complainant objects to installation of smart meter due to health and safety concerns. PECO asserts Act 129 does not permit opt out.

ALJ Jandebeur dismissed the Complaint finding PECO provided the requested information but the Complainant simply is dissatisfied with the information provided. The Code does not permit customers to opt out of the smart meter program.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
PECO properly provided information consistent with Section 1501.
Health and safety concerns referred to BIE for appropriate action.

Counsel v. PGW

PM 11/19/15
C-2014-2438368

Complainant alleges incorrect charges and seeks PAR. At hearing, PGW requested any challenge raised more than three (3) years after occurrence be dismissed because statute of limitation had expired.

ALJ Vero dismissed claims more than 3 years and found him responsible for the entire account balance and denied PAR due to no good faith effort to pay.

Complainant filed Exceptions stating he was unaware there was a time limitation to challenge responsibility for prior service address account.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Complainant had notice of responsibility in March 2009.
Informal filed 3 years, 7 months from date of billing.
Full balance required before restoration due to payment history (no payments 2004-2013).
PAR not appropriate and would send wrong signal to paying customers.
PAR never appropriate for charges associated with theft of service via bypass.
PAR not appropriate for user without contract situation.

Laws v. PGW

PM 11/19/15
F-2014-2426789

The Complainant alleges her distribution charges are excessive and requests the charges be limited to 5% of her usage. PGW asserts the charges billed were a component of the general service gas rate in its tariff.

ALJ Jones, while dismissing the Complaint, found that the format of the charge as presented on the bill was not consistent with PGW’s tariff.

PGW filed Exceptions to the conclusion that its billing format violates Section 1301 of the Code.

Exceptions granted; ID modified; Complaint dismissed.
The calculation and presentation as a separate line item on the February 2014 bill was in compliance with the tariff in effect at the time of billing.
Tariff clearly states addition of DSIC.
PGW was permitted a temporary waiver from line item in rate case due to challenges associated with the overhaul of PGW’s billing system.

Boggess v. PECO

PM 11/5/15
C-2015-2483633

Complainant seeks PUC PAR. PECO asserts all arrears are CAP arrears; filed Motion for Judgment on Pleadings that PUC cannot grant relief under Section 1405(c).

ALJ Haas granted the Motion finding a hearing not required.

The Complainant filed Exceptions requesting the PUC make an exception since she never should have been on CAP. PECO filed Reply Exceptions alleging Complainant raises new allegations in Exceptions and opted to enter into Company PAR rather than complain about not being permitted to drop out of CAP Rate Program.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
No genuine issue as to a material fact.
Chapter 1405(c) prohibits a PAR for CAP arrears.
Hearing would not enable the Complainant to better explain her position or provide additional facts that would alter the conclusion that the PUC cannot grant the relief.

Mobley v. PECO

PM 11/5/15
C-2015-2481758

Complainant requests reasonable PUC PAR. PECO asserts all arrears are CAP arrears; filed Motion for Judgment on Pleadings that PUC cannot grant relief under Section 1405(c).

ALJ Haas granted the Motion finding a hearing not required.

The Complainant filed Exceptions requesting the PUC consider her dire medical situation and offer her a PAR to catch up with her outstanding balances. PECO filed Reply Exceptions that Chapter 14 prohibits the relief requested.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
No genuine issue as to a material fact.
Chapter 1405(c) prohibits a PAR for CAP arrears.
Hearing would not enable the Complainant to better explain her position or provide additional facts that would alter the conclusion that the PUC cannot grant the relief.

Smith v. PPL

PM 11/5/15
F-2015-2475535

Complainants seek a PAR and allege they were overbilled. PPL argued meter tested accurately.

ALJ Salapa denied the claim of incorrect charges but granted a Level 4 PAR.

Complainants filed Exceptions arguing that the ID did not address why their usage increased during winter of 2014 when they used their fireplace; they cannot afford the Level 4 PAR. PPL filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed in part.
Highly unlikely that the meter malfunctioned only later to correct itself by time meter was tested.
No record evidence that neighbor was stealing power.
Level 4 PAR consistent with Chapter 1405(d).

Chen & Hu v. Met Ed

PM 11/5/15
C-2013-2397061

Complainants complained that the company’s vegetation management program was unreasonable for removing 2 trees from their property; also no notice and treated inappropriately during process. Company filed PO that PUC had no jurisdiction to adjudicate validity of easement.

ALJ Cheskis ruled that the Company acted reasonably in its implementation of its vegetation management program to maintain safe and reasonable service consistent with state and federal mandates. Company testified that is policies became more stringent after the 2003 outages affecting transmission lines. Complainants did not present substantial evidence that company actions violated Section 1501 noting that that at times interactions between customers and utility can be tense.

The Complainants filed Exceptions alleging the removed trees were not in the ROW, were not going to interfere with the power lines, Met-Ed’s practice was inconsistent since similar trees on neighbor’s property were not removed and no notice of removal was given, Met-Ed filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID and objecting to the “new evidence” presented.

Exceptions denied; ED adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • Met-Ed provided best evidence that trees were located in the ROW.
  • Complainants’’ trees were incompatible species identified in the company’s vegetation maintenance program.
  • Met-Ed’s policy was not inconsistently applied.
  • Complainants chose not to perform survey to support claim that trees were outside the ROW.
  • Extra record evidence cannot be considered.
  • PUC cannot award damages.
Vermeychuk v. PECO

PM 11/5/15
C-2013-2388323

Complainant alleges he is being held responsible for accounts he closed or never opened. He seeks a PUC PAR. PECO contends the Complainant, a licensed attorney, has abused the legal process to avoid paying for service since 2005; the balance exceeds $96,000.

ALJ Fordham dismissed the Complaint finding the Complainant responsible for each account in his name and the transfer of those balances to active accounts. She also found the Complaint was untimely since the 1st transferred occurred more than 3 years ago. No record evidence to grant PAR noting defaulted 2006 PUC PAR.

No timely exceptions filed; treated as Petition for Rescission filed raising 4 arguments: (1) transfers were not to active accounts; (2) objection to discovery process and denial of continuance; (3) his late-filed attachment B should have been admitted as a business record; and (4) PECO removed his meters while he was appealing civil action granting PECO the right to do so.

Petition denied.

  • All of the transfers occurred more than 3 year prior to compliant filing so barred by the 3-years statute of limitations in Section 3314(a).
  • Complainant chose when to file discovery request and ALJ left record open to address any discovery disputes.
  • Attachment B was a letter with no support that it was ever sent to PECO.
  • The subject matter of the dispute in this proceeding does not form the grounds for PECO’s actions in seizing the Complainant’s meters; PUC does not have jurisdiction over replevin action.

Statement Witmer

  • Complainant’s obligation to pay is matched by utility’s responsibility to timely attempt to collect payment.
  • Utilities reminded that all customers wind up paying for such large arrears and must act vigilantly to prevent them, continue to take steps to identify then and mitigate their effects as quickly as possible.
Scrimmanger v UGI

PM 10/22/15
C-2014-2456348

Complainant seeks PUC PAR after restoration of service with no payment of arrears. UGI refuses to restore without full payment per Chapter 1407.

ALJ Hoyer dismissed complaint with prejudice for failure to appear and prosecute.

ID adopted.

Fields v PECO

PM 10/22/15
F-2014-2425634

Complainant seeks affordable PUC PAR and timely appeals BCS Level 4 PAR.

ALJ Guhl found BCS PAR was consistent with Section 1405(b) and directed it as PUC PAR.

ID adopted.

Hinkson v PECO

PM 10/22/15
C-2015-2478207

Complainant seeks PAR for CAP arrears. PECO filed PO since Chapter 14 prohibits.

ALJ Haas granted the PO finding the PUC is prohibited from directing PUC PAR for CAP arrears and hearing not necessary since sole issue in proceeding.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing he was not given proper or adequate assistance to file response to PO, his finances have improved, and he can manage a reasonable PAR. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • Chapter 1405(c) prohibits PAR for PUC CAP arrears.
  • Hearing cannot change lack of jurisdiction to grant requested relief.
George Kennedy v PECO

PM 10/22/15
C-2015-2471718

Complainant alleges PECO is providing unreasonable service by refusing to accept any form of payment other than cash, check or credit cards. PECO filed PO alleging PUC does not have subject matter jurisdiction to address negotiability of documents under the UCC.

ALJ Colwell granted the PO finding the complaint legally insufficient and a hearing was not necessary since nothing could be added to give the PUC jurisdiction.

Complainant filed Exceptions raising an incorrect statement (he did file response to PO) and rearguing his position. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID modified; Complaint dismissed.
Complainant did file a response to PO: ID modified.
PUC lacks jurisdiction to determine if a promissory note is acceptable negotiable instrument under the UCC.
Hearing unnecessary since no testimony describing the factual underpinning could alter inevitable conclusion that PUC cannot grant the relief requested.

Pickett v. PGW

PM 10/1/15
C-2014-2444967

Customer wants “reasonable” PAR to help her get back on CAP. PGW argues Section 1405(c) prohibits PAR on CAP arrears.

ALJ Heep noted Complainant’s improved payment history but denied PAR request since a PAR on non-CAP arrears still leaves $3,000 balance.

Complainant filed Exceptions seeking PAR without any lump sum as requested by PGW. Company filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID noting large balance and overall payment history.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • PGW’s requirement for up-front lump sum payment for unpaid CAP arrears prior to re-enrolling in CAP is reasonable.
  • No record evidence that PUC PAR is in Complainant’s best interest.
Lehet V. PPL

PM 10/1/15
C-2014-2449983

Complainants object to PPL’s new vegetation policy, which requires removal of trees located at edge of ROW for 69KV line, which services 1 customer. PPL defends its revised policy as reasonable and based on lessons learned from recent severe weather events.

ALJ Jandebeur sustained the complaint and directed PPL not to remove trees.

PPL filed 4 exceptions challenging the ID.

Exceptions granted in part; ID modified; Complaint sustained.

Motion Coleman

  • PPL’s vegetation maintenance policies and procedures are reasonable and consistent with Section 1501.
  • Policy not required to be applied case by case but utility must review particular facts at hand to ensure reasonable outcome.
  • PPL did not justify its argument to remove the trees and why that type of tree was classified as incompatible species especially in light of fact that policy changed after trees planted.
  • PPL must consider fact that trees are not directly under transmission line which only serves 1 customer and thus not critical to reliability of the bulk power system.
  • PUC took official notice that they reviewed PPL’s policies and procedures.
Venetta Larry v PECO

PM 9/17/15
F-2014-2439636

Complainant was facing termination and seeks PUC PAR. She alleges she was told to have daughter apply for service but daughter’s application was denied. PECO asserts no PUC PAR permitted since arrears were incurred while in CAP.

ALJ Heep found complaint could be filed alleging a Section 1501 violation regarding the denial of service in the Complainant’s daughter’s name. Regarding high bill allegation, ALJ found no records of any contact to PECO. All charges and payments were proper and account was properly placed in budget billing. Because arrears were incurred while enrolled in CAP, no PUC PAR could be directed per Section 1405(d).

ID adopted.

Joint Statement Powelson and Brown

  • While PECO was trying to help retain service to property, use of “loopholes” such as exchanging account registrations between family members should not be actively marketed by utilities.
  • Such loopholes may only work to increase outstanding uncollectible amounts.
  • Practice is contradictory to the intent of Chapter 14 to provide protection against rate increases for timely paying customers.
Beatriz Mallory v PPL

PM 9/17/15
C-2014-2442906

Complainant seeks 2nd PUC PAR and requests a balloon payment at end of payback period rather than an up-front payment. PPL refuses to enter into another Company PAR; defaulted on 26 company PARs.

ALJ Jandebeur dismissed Complaint finding 2nd PUC PAR could not be directed since no CII or SCIC. PUC does not have authority to order utility to enter into a company PAR or to dictate terms including a balloon payment rather than up-front payment. The Complainant filed Exceptions contesting every finding and conclusion. PPL filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • No CII or SCIC so no 2nd PUC PAR permitted.
  • Nothing in Code that requires utility to offer a balloon-type of PAR.
  • Complainant’s own testimony supports no CII.
  • Record evidence reflects the Complainant did default on July 2014 PAR.
Valerie Williams v PGW

PM 9/17/15
F-2014-2456937

Complainant alleges PGW overcharged her from 2005 to 2010 and requests a refund. PGW asserted refund beyond 4-years is prohibited by SOL. PGW filed PO and Motion for Summary Judgement.

ALJ Jandebeur granted the PO finding PUC could only look back 3 years from time Complaint was filed (2011). No hearing necessary since no genuine issue being disputed and relief cannot be granted.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing it is unjust to hold non-attorneys to the legal standards in the Code. PGW filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • Motion for Summary Judgment is appropriate filing
  • Claim is outside 3-year SOL in Section 3314(a) of Code.
  • Refund for period 2005 to 2010 barred by 4-year SOL.
  • 4-year refund period authorized in Section 1312 begins the date the complaint is filed.
  • PUC cannot waive SOL for refund or to bring claim.
  • Hearing not required since requested relief is barred by Code.

Statement Cawley

  • Agrees that refund cannot be made more than 4-years after a complaint arose.
  • PGW may have violated Sections 1301 and 1303 and/or Section 1501.
  • PGW urged to check records to see if Complainant was not charged the correct rate between 2005 and 2010 and to provide courtesy refund.
Glenn Kelly Beveridge v Peoples

PM 9/17/15
C-2014-2426824

Complainant late-filed Exceptions that were treated as Petition for Reconsideration of Final Order entered 2/17/15. ALJ Colwell had dismissed complaint alleging “dirty gas” damaged the Complainant’s boiler.

Petition denied.

  • No new or novel arguments raised.
  • Complainant made prima facie case since he is a home inspector.
  • Peoples’ expert refuted allegations that no other persons were similarly affected.
  • ID correct that Complainant did not carry his burden of proof.
  • Utility not required to provide specific notice to owner re: outage; property was properly posted.
Melanie Sowa v Met-Ed

PM 9/3/15
C-2014-2436997

Complainant alleges she could not discontinue service in her name because of a PFA and her estranged husband, not her, is responsible for the outstanding bill. Met-Ed contends Complainant is legally responsible for charges and failed to discontinue service but rather allowed the account to be terminated for non-payment.

ALJ Hoyer dismissed the Complaint finding that since the Complainant is neither a customer or applicant for service, the PUC cannot relieve her of the responsibility for the charges incurred while service was in her name.

ID adopted.

Maharaj, LLC v Liberty Power

PM 9/3/15
C-2014-2419263

Complainant alleges EGS rate unilaterally increased without notice. EGS asserts PUC lacks authority to order EGS refund.

ALJ Watson dismissed the Complaint finding the PUC cannot order refunds from EGS.
Joint Motion Witmer and Brown
ALJ’s analysis misses the point: case dismissed for failure to carry burden that EGS violated Code, reg or order.
Complainant received 2 notices that fixed rate would convert to variable rate in December 2013.
PUC reminds customers the importance of understanding the terms of their contracts, of reading renewal notices and being aware of potential implications of not doing so

Susan Kreider v PECO

PM 9/3/15
P-2015-2495064

PECO filed Petition for Review of Material Question, which remanded complaint on allegations that smart meter had deleterious heath effect on customer. PECO alleged Judge Heep’s ruling contradicted Judge Salapas’s ruling on PECO PO.

Material Questions answered in negative.
In view of the inconsistencies between 2 ruling, the standard for interlocutory review was met.
Instant case is distinguishable from prior complaint cases because Complainant has raised factual averments regarding specific health effects she has experienced after the smart meter was installed outside her residence.
Complaint alleges 150 violations for unsafe or unreasonable service.

The Code does not prohibit PUC from considering safety of smart meters when a legally sufficient claim is present.
Complainant should have opportunity to be heard on her claims of heath effect related to the smart meter at her residence.

C. Santore Smith v PECO

PM 9/3/15
F-2014-24462204

Complainant alleges high bill and wanted a refund for overbilling. PECO denied any wrongdoing.

ALJ Fordham dismissed the Complaint for the Complainant’s failure to appear and prosecute the matter.

The Complainant filed Exceptions alleging she called the PUC and sent a letter requesting a continuance.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
The Complainant never provided reason she could not attend hearing.
PECO would be prejudiced by permitting the reopening of the case; Exceptions are silent on this issue.
No evidence that Complainant made a good faith attempt to reach the scheduled hearing.

Statement Brown
Dismissal should be without prejudice since the Complainant called the ALJ and requested continuance due to flu, which is deemed unavoidable under Section 5.245 of the PUC’s rules.

Laffey v Knox Energy Coop

PM 8/20/15
C-2015-2462487

Complainant alleges a portion of her line creates hazardous conditions and wants the Co-op ordered to bury the line. Co-op filed PO since it is not regulated by PUC.

ALJ Colwell granted PO finding the Co-op is a bona fide coop and not regulated under the Code.

Motion Coleman
Co-op is not a utility as defined by Section 102 of Code.
Act 127 provides PUC jurisdiction over pipeline operator, which Co-op is one.
The facility at issue is a regulated pipeline facility.
BIE should investigate the ammeter and have opportunity to examine the safety of the facility.
Federal pipeline safety laws do permit private causes of action.
Mater remanded to OALJ for hearing.
Law Bureau directed to review internal procedures on issue of private causes under Act 127.

Francis v PECO

PM 8/20/15
C-2014-2451351

Complainant alleges PECO was improperly attempting to install a smart meter against her wishes and is threatening to terminate her service. PECO filed PO since there is no provision under Act 129 to opt out of smart meters.

ALJ Pell granted PO based on sound PUC precedent and dismissed the matter without hearing.

The Complainant filed Exceptions alleging her complaint is supported by scientific research, she has right to be free of physical harm form a monopolistic corporation and she is entitled to hearing. PECO filed Reply Exceptions asserting its actions were in compliance with Code, regs and its tariff.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Referral to BIE; Complaint dismissed.
Customers do not have the ability to opt out of smart meter installations.
Hearing is not necessary since opt out cannot be granted.
Complainant’s health and safety concerns were referred to BIE for whatever action it deems necessary.

Chornenky v West Penn

PM 8/20/15
C-2014-2450418

Complainant alleges he went all-electric for company’s special all-electric rate that existed in 1966. Rate was discontinued in 1979 but he was too timid to challenge at that time. West Penn filed PO that Complaint was legally insufficient since no allegation that Company violated any statue, reg or order in applying its tariff.

ALJ Long granted PO since no dispute that Company was in compliance with its tariff and Commission orders.

Complainant filed Exceptions restating his Complaint and argued that not once did the Company imply rate was only temporary. West Penn filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
No allegation that ALJ committed any error of law or abused her discretion.
Discontinuance of rate was pursuant to PUC Order in 1979.
Complainant received notice of the rate phase-out in 1979.
PUC did consider impact on all ratepayers when it approved the rate be discontinued.
No hearing required since relief cannot be granted.

Kiback v IDT Energy

PM 8/20/15
C-2014-2409676

Complainant alleges his EGS tripled from 9¢ to 27¢ after being promised that he would save 10% over the PTC. IDT contends the increase in the variable rate was result of market forces and a retroactive rate adjustment and good will credit were provided.

IDT filed Motion for Summary Judgment since there was no allegation that there was a violation of the Code or regs. OCA intervened and filed an Answer to the Motion raising questions concerning IDT’s marketing and billing conduct as an EGS raising a disputed material fact.

ALJ Cheskis denied the Motion and after hearing found IDT violated PUC regs and imposed a $2,000 fine and ordered refund for difference between variable rate and PTC for January and February 2014.

IDT filed Exceptions alleging (1) ID was not supported by substantial evidence but on vague and contradictory recollection of a phone call 30-months prior; (2) bills/rate comport with disclosure statement and (3) a fine is not warranted.

Exceptions denied; ID modified; Complaint sustained.

  • IDT violated Section H.2 of 2010 Interim Guidelines, not Section 112.10(a) as ALJ found.
  • Section H.2 requires compliance with the telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act and related regs.
  • 2010 Interim Order also addressed EGS oral marketing through the actions of its agents and reps that mandated clear and truthful marketing practices.
  • Record supports finding that the sales agent violated telemarketing regulations.
  • ID comports with PUC policy and precedent: regulatory scheme encompasses the entire sales process from oral marketing to written confirmation.
  • Fine appropriate for violating PUC regs, which incorporated the marketing behaviors, prohibited by federal statues not the federal act.
  • IDT violated PUC marketing regulatory standards and PUC billing regs.
  • Refund for overbilling for Jan & Feb 2014 is authorized under Section 501, not Section 1312 of the Code.
Douglas v PGW

PM 8/20/15
F-2010-2164009

Commission in 6/17/15 Tentative Order directed PGW to provide additional info regarding the Complainant’s gas meter: class, last tested, billing adjustment and supporting calculations for fast meter under Section 59.21.

PGW timely submitted info that meter was last tested in 2011 and 2012 and 2 adjustments totaling $71.75 and $1.13 for fast meter were provided. Complainant filed comments that billing adjustment was not sufficient/correct.

Record re-opened for additional refund information.
Billing adjustment calculated over 1-year period was insufficient.
Meter was tested nearly 15 years ago.
Meter was in service 7 years beyond regular test period.
Refund period must begin 5/31/11. The date the meter was tested and found to be 2.4% fast.
Refund calculations due in 30 days.

Jacqueline Stevens v PGW

PM 7/30/15
C-2015-2472728

Complainant objects to being held responsible for the tenant's delinquent bill and the placement of a municipal lien. PGW filed PO since PUC does not have jurisdiction over municipal liens.

ALJ Barnes granted the PO finding PUC did not have subject matter jurisdiction or the authority to determine the party responsible for satisfying the lien.

ID adopted.

John Pugh v PGW

PM 7/30/15
F-2014-2451563

Complainant objects to being dismissed from senior citizen discount program when it was discovered through an audit that his birthdate was 2 months after the program closed. PGW argues that the Complaint was mistakenly enrolled when the program was closed.

ALJ Colwell dismissed the complaint finding the Complainant did not carry burden since PGW properly removed the Complaint when it discovered he was not eligible for the program.

ID adopted.

Bihn Tran v Respond

PM 7/30/15
C-2014-2417540

Complainant alleges he was slammed and EGS is price gauging him. Respond asserts the Complainant was billed a variable rate consistent with his sister’s enrollment with the EGS.

ALJ Jandebeur found the switch by the sister to be invalid since she was not authorized to make changes on the account, was not a customer of PECO and EGS did not get authorized signature to make switch.

EGS filed Exceptions arguing the ID is contrary to BCS precedent that EGS enrollment is valid when initiated by sibling or relative of customer; sister claimed to be the customer and PUC has no authority to order refund of all EGS charges.

Exceptions granted in part; ID reversed; Complaint dismissed.
No prima facie case that Code, regs or order violated.
Complainant acknowledged receipt of the disclosure statement and monthly bills with EGS charges.
Section 2807(d) authorizes refund for slamming.
Section 510 permits refunds to carry out consumer protections in Choice Act.

E McCauley v Penelec

PM 7/8/15
C-2014-2417835

Complainant alleged a reliability problem with her electric service—she had 9 momentary interruptions, 1 21-minute outage and 1 4-minute outage from 12/20 to 12/21/14. Penelec asserts that the interruptions were due to the failure of a lightening arrestor; repair was scheduled for next workday rather than done over weekend.

ALJ Dunderdale dismissed the Complaint finding no violation of the Code.

Motion Brown
Company was wrong to advise the Complainant that the problem has ben fixed when it was only a temporary repair.
Failure to immediately perform the repair work violated Section 1501.
$500 fine was warranted.
Due to overall history of the circuit, the matter was referred to TUS Reliability Division.

Charles Dennis v PGW

PM 7/8/15
F-2014-2439816

Complainant seeks a favorable PAR. PGW asserts that the Complainant defaulted on seven Company PARs.

ALJ Guhl dismissed the complaint; the household income increased since the Complainant defaulted on the PUC PAR.

Complainant filed Exceptions merely reiterating his testimony. PGW filed Replies to Exceptions in support of ID.
Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
No record evidence of change in income or significant change in circumstance so a 2nd PUC PAR is prohibited by the Code.

Taylor v Met-Ed and PA Gas

PM 7/8/15
F-2014-2433191

Complainant alleges high bills and contends the 10-day notice in the winter violated the Code; she seeks a PUC PAR. Met-Ed contends the meter was tested and usage is consistent and Complainant defaulted on 2014 PUC PAR.

ALJ Barnes dismissed the high complaint noting the consistency of usage for an electric heat customer and the use of space heaters. Since there was no change of income or significant change of circumstances, a 2nd PUC PAR is not permitted.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing she is doing her best to make payments and the termination of her service would be detrimental to her health. Met-Ed filed Replies to Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
No record evidence of change in income or significant change in circumstance so a 2nd PUC PAR is prohibited by the Code.
No record evidence that Met-Ed threatened to shut off her service.

Joseph Carnevale v PPL

PM 7/8/15
C-2014-2426383

Complainant alleges his bills are higher than neighbor’s and he cannot afford to pay them. PPL tested the meter that was found within PUC guidelines.

ALJ Jandebeur dismissed the Complaint finding the Complainant refused to have an energy usage analysis performed which would have assisted in the high bill determination.

Complainant filed Exceptions asserting his inability to hire an attorney hampered him in the proceeding as well as rearguing his position. PPL filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID noting the Company’s offer on 5 different occasions to do high bill investigation.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Complainant did not meet burden that his bills were inappropriately high prior to the replacement of his analog meter in June 2014, Usage did drop after meter was exchanged but Complainant offered no evidence to support his position that no pother factor played a role in the decrease of electricity since he refused usage analysis.
No statue, reg or order that requires a utility to allow a customer to be present during the testing of a meter at a testing facility.

M. Heather Michail v PECO

PM 7/8/15
F-2014-2404586

The Complainant seeks a PUC PAR for the non-CAP portion of her arrearage.

ALJ Hoyer denied the request finding the Complainant’s payment history as lacking in good faith to pay her electric bill.

The Complainant filed Exceptions alleging that after the hearing, her hours were cut and her rent increased. She filed Addendum Exceptions arguing her case was not fully heard and alleged PECO representative insulted her. PECO filed Replies to Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
No PAR for CAP arrears.
Complainant not entitled to non-CAP PAR based on her poor payment history and has shown an inability to keep prior Company PARs.

Elizabeth Garstecki v West Penn

PM 7/8/15
F-2013-2395283

Complainant objected to consecutive estimate due to employee inability to complete all scheduled readings on first day. Company alleged the estimate was due to exigent circumstances.

ALJ Dunderdale dismissed the Complaint based on the isolated incident.

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging she was prevented from cross-examining the meter reader since only supervisor was present at hearing. Company filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions granted in part; ID modified; Complaint sustained in part.
The missed reading was not outside the Company’s control.
The Company should have made effort to obtain an actual reading the subsequent month.
Exigent circumstances do not include training or meeting as set forth in Company’s letter.
$500 fine warranted for violating Section 56.12(3).

Roger McCall v Penelec

PM 7/8/15
C-2013-2393779

Complainant alleged Company did not read his meter at his rental property when his service was placed in his name pursuant to the Continuation of Service Agreement for landlords.

ALJ Buckley dismissed the Compliant finding that the Company rep made an error in not using his reading (less than 7 days notice for discontinuance of tenant) for final bill; reading was revised when error brought to Company’s attention.

No timely exceptions filed. The Complainant filed a Petition for Rescission alleging that Penelec’s actions were contrary to public policy and the spirit of Penelec’s tariff, ALJ erred in not allowing evidence of other utility’s practices and in admitting the company’s exhibit that reflected the moving out tenant’s contact with the Company.

Petition denied.
Regs and Company tariff permit the estimation of the usage for billing purposes.
Complainant did not object at hearing to the exhibit being admitted and has offered no reason to re-visit ALJ determination.

Miro Kamenik v PECO

PM 7/8/15
C-2013-2379058

Mary Rogers v PECO

PM 7/8/15
F-2013-2378582

Complainant alleges PECO technician was unprofessional and discussed her account with a third party when attempting to terminate her service. PECO denies that the technician discussed the particulars of the account with non-authorized persons.

ALJ Johnson sustained the Complaint finding that PECO violated Section 1501 by broadcasting the status of the Complainant’s account within earshot of neighbors and people passing by. A fine of $500 was assessed.

PECO filed Exceptions arguing (1) the Complainant’s testimony was not credible and conflicting; (2) it was prevented from properly cross-examining the contractor to establish the witness’ bias and (3) Complainant did not meet her burden of proof.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint sustained.
Record evidence supports finding that PECO tech did inform the contractor that the Complainant carried an unpaid balance that warranted termination of her service.
PECO was not prohibited from pursuing line of questioning regarding bias.
PECO chose not to introduce tech’s report that contradicted the contractor’s testimony.
ALJ correctly found the contractor’s testimony more credible.
Fine was warranted for inappropriately revealing Complainant’s private information to the contractor.
$500 fine was sustained.

Tracey McDonald v PGW

PM 6/11/15
F-2013-2394318

Complainant alleges service was improperly terminated and there are incorrect charges on the account. On the day of scheduled hearing, ALJ Fordham realized that there was a discrepancy regarding the timing of the hearing; she notified the parties the hearing was at 10 AM not 2 PM. The Complainant did not appear at 10 am hearing.

ALJ Fordham issued ID dismissing the Complaint with prejudice for failure to appear and prosecute the complaint.

Joint Motion Brown and Witmer
Due process may not have been afforded due to the conflicting hearing time provided in the 2 notices.
Dismissal is without prejudice to permit the Complainant to refile complaint, if she chooses.

Daniel C Matesic v DQE

PM 6/11/15
C- 2014-2438493

Complainant alleges his payments were not properly posted and Company would not guarantee his social security number would be kept secure. DQE had mistakenly placed his social security number on another account not in his name. DQE filed PO since Complainant sought damages.

ALJ Long dismissed the Complaint that alleges the termination and posting of the payment was improper customer service. She did fine the Company $500 for the Company’s failure to protect his social security number.

Motion Brown
The 10-day delay in posting the online payment was unreasonable; DQE did not offer any explanation for the delay which resulted in the termination of service the day before the payment was posted.
A fine of $500 is warranted for a violation of Section 1501.
DQE to contact BCS to ensure that it has adequate processes in place to expeditiously credit a customer’s online website payment.
$500 fine for not protecting customer information was warranted.
DQE to contact BCS to ensure that it has adequate processes in place for when a change is made to the identifying information of a customer’s account.

Statement Witmer
All regulated utilities are reminded to continuously address both their cyber and physical security plans to protect against the type of errors made in this case.

Larson v PECO

PM 6/11/15
C-2014-2451754

Complainant objects to the installation of a smart meter due to safety concerns and wants to opt out of the program. PECO filed PO.

ALJ Guhl granted the PO since customers are required to comply under Act 129 and dismissed the Complaint.

Complainant filed Exceptions repeating his safety concerns and alleging public corruption in the enactment of Act 129. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
PECO’s deployment of smart meters complies with Act 129 and there is no opt out provision for customers.
Complaint is legally insufficient.
Hearing is not required since “evidence” submitted would be inadmissible and requested relief could not be granted.
Safety concerns regarding the type/model of smart meter being installed by PECO was referred to BIE for whatever action BIE deems necessary.

Williams v Equitable & Williams v DQE

PM 6/11/15
F-2014-2436364 - Williams v Equitable
C-2014-2435842 - Williams v DQE

The Complainant checked every box on the complaint form and seeks restoration of service for both electric and gas services and a PAR for each respective balance. The Service Location was condemned by the City of Pittsburg in early 2014. Equitable terminated service after discovering a leak in the house line and safety violations on several appliances (furnace, range, and water tank); service will not be restored until the repairs are made and verified by Equitable. DQE terminated service for non-payment; service will not be restored until the electrical wiring is inspected. Both utilities require, before restoration of either service, that the City remove the condemnation order and the Service Location is safe for habitation.

ALJ Cheskis dismissed both complaints finding the actions of both utilities, in not restoring service until the property was no longer condemned, were proper and warranted under the Code.

The Complainant filed Exceptions and attached a hearing notice regarding his LIHEAP appeal. Both utilities filed Reply Exceptions noting the irrelevance of the LIHEAP grant since no amount of payment will restore service until the property is not longer condemned and the safety violations are corrected and verified.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Service will not be restored until the Complainant addresses the safety concerns identified and clearly establishes that the property is no longer in a condemned status by providing a notice from the City stating the same.
Utilities have absolute obligation to provide adequate, efficient, safe and reasonable service; the Service Location is currently unsafe.
Until the issue regarding condemnation are resolved, the issues regarding outstanding amounts owed, security deposits and reconnection fee are moot.

David Wapensky v PPL

PM 6/11/15
C-2014-2450200

Complainant alleged PPL had threatened to terminate his service and seeks PAR. PPL contends Complainant has history of filing complaints and defaulting on PARs; CSAT was filed on 2014 Formal and PAR immediately defaulted. Complainant did not appear at hearing; he late-filed request to withdraw.

ALJ Colwell issued ID dismissing Complaint for failure to appear; she did not consider the late filed request to withdraw noting the Complainant’s familiarity with PUC procedure.

Complainant filed Exceptions requesting his case not be dismissed with prejudice but rather withdrawn. PPL filed Reply Exceptions vigorously opposing the withdrawal without a resolution on the merits given his prior history of filing complaints and total lack of payments (3 between 2009 and 2014).

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Withdraw was late filed; public interest supports denial.
Complaint dismissed on merits; PAR request denied for failure to carry burden.

Mark Ferraiolo v. PPL

PM 5/19/15
C-2014-2428009

The Complainant alleges a reliability issue with his service citing 4 momentary outages, 3 outages of unknown duration, and 1 extended outage for 212 minutes. PPL contends none of the incidents were in its control and its responses in each incidence was reasonable and adequate.

ALJ Jandebeur dismissed the Complaint finding 2 outages a month over an 8 month period was not unreasonable and PPL’s efforts to manage future outages are appropriate.

Complainant filed Exception rearguing his position that he is entitled to perfect service. PPL filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
PPL required to provide reasonable, not perfect service.
Outages were outside control of PPL.
Two outages a month is not unreasonable.
PPL offered convincing evidence of the effective changes to its system and practices to make the Complainant’s electric service more reliable.

William Femea v UGI

PM 5/7/15
C-2014-2430768

The Complainant seeks a PUC PAR. UGI contends he is not entitled to a second or subsequent PAR or an extension of the defaulted PUC PAR.

Special Agent Hunt denied the request consistent with Sections 1405 (d) and (e).

Complainant filed Exceptions pleading for a second chance and insisting he will comply with the terms. UGI filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID stressing that the Complainant’s strategy has been to file multiple informal and formal complaints and to negotiate new Company PARs and then fail to honor that PAR.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Complainant not entitled to 2nd PUC PAR under Section 1405(d) and 1403.
BCS Decision clearly advised of requirement to make payments; Complainant defaulted on PAR directed by BCS.
Complainant also defaulted on subsequent Company PARs.

Ernestine Crankfield v UGI

PM 5/7/15
C-2014-2402184

The Complainant alleges her bills are unclear, her payments were not applied as requested, and she was unlawfully terminated. UGI contends the Complainant is trying to rewrite the Company’s rules on how security deposits are paid; service was terminated for nonpayment.

ALJ Dunderdale dismissed the Complaint and denied the request that the PUC assist her in restoring her service. The ALJ found the account was lawfully terminated for non-payment and there was no evidence that the Complainant advised the Company as to how the account should be credited for the monies received.

Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing her position. UGI filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
No evidence that the Complainant directed UGI how payment should be applied.
UGI properly billed and credited account and explained same to Complainant.
The Complainant’s partial and untimely payments caused default on PUC PAR.
No evidence that UGI offered a make-up PAR for defaulted PUC PAR.
BCS opened 2 informal investigations and acted appropriately.
Complainant made no good faith payments.
UGI appropriately interpreted restoration of service as resolution of complaint and filed CSAT.

Rosemary Ferguson v. Penn Power & Ethical Electric

PM 4/23/15
F-2014-2436162

Complainant alleges Penn Power did not stop her enrollment with the EGS which she initially alleged was unauthorized and later disputed the variable rate she was charged. Penn Power contended that the Complaint did not notify it of her cancellation within the 5 days. Ethical contended the Complainant sign the enrollment form and the variable rate charged was consistent with its disclosure statement.

ALJ Salapa dismissed the Complaint finding Penn Power followed PUC regulations in the enrollment/de-enrollment of the account and that PUC could not order the EGS to refund any money to the customer since the rate charged was consistent with its disclosure statement provided to the Complainant.

ID adopted.

Obioma Iro-Nwokeukwu v. PGW

PM 4/23/15
C-2011-2247079

The Complainant alleges there are incorrect charges on her bill which belong to her tenant and she objects to the lien filed by PGW for the outstanding balance. PGW filed a PO stating the PUC does not have jurisdiction to rule on a municipal lien. ALJ Johnson granted the PO regarding the request to remove the municipal lien but denied it to the extent that she alleged a Section 1501 violation.

ALJ Johnson issued his ID dismissing the Section 1501 allegation since the Complainant’s testimony exclusively addressed PGW’s administration of the Landlord Cooperation Program (LCP) finding the PUC did not have jurisdiction over the LCP which is a contract between PGW and landlords.

ID adopted.

Statement Brown
Disagrees that ALJ’s private contract theory.
LCP, while voluntary, falls within Section 1501 which requires utilities to provide reasonable service.
Agreed that Complainant failed to carry burden of proof that PGW’s actions violated Section 1501.

Gerald H. Smith v. PECO

PM 4/23/15
C-2014-2443198

The Complainant objects to installation of a smart meter; requested analog meter and removal of any “EMF emitting device”; PECO filed PO since it is required to install smart meters.

ALJ Salapa granted the PO finding the law well settled that Act 129 and PUC precedent authorize smart meters and do not permit customers to opt out of the installation.

Complainant filed Exceptions requesting for first time damages for “sparking from meter.” PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
PO properly granted since Complaint was legally insufficient (Complainant cannot opt out of installation of a smart meter).
Issue of damages was not raised until exception stage; PUC has no authority to award damages.
PECO encouraged to further investigate to determine if a safety issue with smart meter exits and to take corrective action if warranted.

Curtis Morgan v. PGW

PM 4/23/15
C-2014-2428050

The Complainant seeks a PUC PAR. PGW contends he defaulted on 11 company PARs and 3 PUC PARs and there is no change of income.

ALJ Heep denied the request for PUC PAR finding it prohibited by Section 1405(d).

The Complainant filed Exceptions arguing he did not intend to break the last company PAR but his car was stolen which caused financial difficulties. He asserts his finances are more stable and seeks another PAR. PGW filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied, ID adopted, Complaint dismissed.
Chapter 14 prohibits a subsequent PUC PAR when there has been a default on PUC PAR absent a change in income.
PGW encouraged to work towards a PAR that the Complainant will be able to afford.

Linda Gleba v. PECO

PM 4/23/15
C-2014-2406175

The Complainant alleges there is foreign load on her meter and her wiring is faulty. PECO contends its investigation did not discover any foreign load and the bills were accurate as rendered.

ALJ Watson dismissed the complaint finding the Complainant did not meet her burden of proof. The ALJ specifically ruled that neither PECO nor the Complainant’s electrician found any foreign load at the property and that the Complainant provided no credible testimony to support her claim that her bills were incorrect. Complainant did not address faulty wiring at hearing.

The Complainant filed Exceptions disputing the findings and analysis of the ID. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied, ID adopted, Complaint dismissed.
No record support of foreign wiring or that any bills were incorrect.
Issues regarding the faulty internal wiring at the property or lack of inspection at the property need to be addressed with landlord, not PECO.
PECO is not responsible for the meter board and meter box.
Allegations that meter installation was not in compliance with manufacture’s specification was speculative and no record evidence to support Complainant’s conclusions.

George L Gadsden v. PECO

PM 4/23/15
C-2013-2381130

Complainant alleges there are incorrect charges due to foreign wiring and seeks a PUC PAR. PECO investigated property, no foreign wiring was detected, and the load analysis showed the potential for the billed usage.

ALJ Jones dismissed the complaint finding he did not met the standard of Waldron and had potential for the load. She ruled that the spike in usage was related to the winter heating season and use of electric space heaters. ALJ also found PUC PAR could not be directed since he defaulted on the prior PUC PAR and did not have a change in income.

The Complainant filed Exceptions stating he disagreed with ID and alleging he attended 4 hearings but was prevented from testifying or cross-examining PECO’s witnesses. PECO filed Reply Exceptions disputing the Complainant’s allegation that he was prevented from fully participating in the hearings.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
ALJ analysis under Waldron correct; usage comparison for last 2 heating seasons shows the usage was comparable.
PUC PAR cannot be directed when prior defaulted PUC PAR and no change in income.

Alfredo Caraballo v. PPL

PM 4/9/15
C-2014-2438373

Complainant, a Level 1 customer, requested a PUC PAR on balance of over $9,000. PPL noted that Complainant defaulted on 19 Company PARs that included PARs to settle various formal complaints.

ALJ Colwell granted PUC PAR noting that PPL did not object to a PUC PAR.

Complainant filed Exceptions repeating his arguments at hearing. PUC reopened record to determine CAP eligibility based on the testimony that the Complainant was not eligible for CAP at the time of the hearing but would be eligible for CAP a few months after the hearing. PPL determined that the Complainant was eligible for CAP and he was enrolled the account balance was deferred.

Exceptions granted in part, ID reversed; Complaint dismissed.
Participating in CAP is typically more advantageous than a PUC PAR.
PAR not permitted since Complainant now enrolled in CAP.

Stephanie Hallman v. PECO

PM 4/9/15
F-2013-2393373

Complainant objects to the transfer of balance for address she alleges she did not reside. PECO relied upon its business records and credit reporting documents that linked the Complainant to the service address.

ALJ Dunderdale sustained the Complaint and fined PECO for failure to provide reasonable and adequate service in the handling of the investigation of her complaint. She also admitted the Complainant’s late-filed exhibit (lease) noting PECO did not object.

PECO filed Exceptions disputing receipt or knowledge of the lease or the ALJ post-hearing Order. PECO also disputed the fine for Section 1501 violation.

Remand for further hearing on due process issue; Exceptions on fine held in abeyance.

Rebuttable presumption to the “mailbox” rule that PECO received the exhibit and order; denial of receipt by the addressee does not nullify the presumption.

PECO given 10 days to file objections or request hearing; ALJ to issue supplemental ID.

Darnell Fassett v. PGW

PM 3/26/15
F-2014-2408541

Complainant seeks PAR for back billed usage for 4 years of unauthorized gas. PGW terminated service to property in May 2002. Complainant disputes time period and amount.

ALJ Jones dismissed Complaint but granted Level 2 1407 PAR for balance.

Motion Coleman

  • Calculation methodology based on potential use and degree-days.
  • PGW could have billed to 2002; good customer relation to limit to date of discovery of use (2013).
  • PAR never appropriate when theft of service since back bill is not make-up bill under § 56.14.
  • PGW could not have detected theft sooner (meter by-pass).
  • Complainant not credible that he lived at property since 2009 and did not know gas was on when furnace and all appliances were gas.
  • Complainant must pay entire balance to establish service- not fair to give PUC PAR when willfully misused utility service.

Statement Cawley

  • All EGS should routinely monitor their facilities to deter theft of service.
  • PGW strongly encouraged to make presentation to PUC regarding internal policy and procedures implemented or to be implemented to monitor all dormant accounts’ unauthorized use.
Andree Lombard v. PECO

PM 3/26/15
C-2014-2416855

Complainant seeks 2nd PAR. PECO asserts no change in income or significant change in circumstances.

ALJ Heep found change in income did not meet statutory 20% requirement for Level 2 customers. She also found medical bills under SCIC only accounted for decrease in income of 3.8%.

Exceptions denied; ID modified; Complaint dismissed.

  • Complainant was permitted to testify but should not have been permitted to cross-examine the Company’s witnesses.
  • When determining change in income, appropriate to compare current gross monthly household income to income at time PUC PAR was established.
  • Household income increased so no need for SCIC analysis.
JLJ Enterprises LLC v. Met Ed

PM 3/26/15
F-2014-2440049

Complainant objects to being held responsible for tenant’s balance of $11,391.24 due to foreign load at rental multi-unit property. Met-Ed filed PO alleging legal insufficiency.

ALJ Barnes granted PO and dismissed.

Complainant filed Exceptions repeating argument and raising absurdity of outcome and practical implication of PUC jurisdiction.

Exceptions denied; ID modified; complaint dismissed.

  • Complainant did file response to PO so ID modified.
  • ID consistent with §1529.1 and PUC precedent.
  • PUC does not have jurisdiction over financial responsibility of private parties.
  • Hearing not required since law clear and not in public interest.
  • No reason for oral argument since no unique issues or questions of general policy or importance.
Michael Robinson v. PECO

PM 3/11/15
C-2014-2413368

Complainant filed Petition seeking rescission of PUC Final Order adopting ID rearguing same position as he held throughout proceeding that PECO did not effectively handle his emergency outage during the ice storm in February 2014; he seeks $80,000 in damages. Petition denied; Order affirmed.

  • Complainant introduces new evidence, which PUC would not consider.
  • Just because ID did not specifically address certain matters does not mean ALJ never took them into consideration.
  • Complainant’s claim that PECO took 5 days to make any type of repairs is not consistent with record.
  • PECO’s responsibility stops at the meter and anything beyond the meter is Complainant’s responsibility.
  • PECO appropriately prioritized phone calls during the outage for 715,000 customers.
  • PECO’s equipment did not cause the 2nd outages at the Complainant’s home since only his property was affected.
Michael Scotto v. PPL

PM 2/26/15
C-2014-2414070

The Complainant alleges there are incorrect charges due to a faulty meter and PPL entered his property to exchange meter without his specific permission; he seeks PUC PAR or re-instatement into CAP.

ALJ Cheskis directed a Level 1 PAR and dismissed all other claims finding the Complainant did not carry burden.

Complainant filed Exceptions re-arguing position; PPL filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions granted in part; ID modified; Complaint sustained in part.

  • Increased usage bolstered by usage history.
  • Company permitted to access property to exchange meter—need not request specific permission.
  • Recent revisions to PPL’s Universal Service Plan directs Company to allow CAP customers to remain in CAP on budget billing even after they have reached CAP benefit limit.
  • PUC PAR not appropriate since currently enrolled in CAP.
  • If Complainant exhausts CAP benefit, he can file to amend order and seek PUC PAR.
Keenly v. PPL

PM 2/12/15
C-2014-2430518

Complainant alleged poor maintenance resulted in live wire from PPL pole falling on his car causing damage; Complaint does not concern service to his house.

ALJ Jandebeur found incident was an accident and unpreventable, so no Section 1501 violation; issue of damages not properly before PUC.

ID adopted.

Lavely v. West Penn

PM 2/12/15
C-2014-2408502

Complainant alleges 2-day outage in January 2014 caused his pipes to freeze and seeks damages for his property although he is not a customer of West Penn.

ALJ Watson dismissed the Complaint finding no Section 1501 violation. Service was timely restored considering weather factors and number of affected customers. Section 57.194(d). PUC cannot award damages.

ID adopted.

Statement Witmer
Appreciation for utility workers who brave all types of weather and conditions to ensure lights stay on, the water is running, and the phone works.

Stephanie M. Sawyer v. PGW

PM 2/12/15
F-2013-2392770

Complainant alleges PGW removed her from CAP because her home was also used for her law practice.

ALJ Vero dismissed the Complaint finding that CAP was funded by other residential customers and inappropriate for her business to receive an undeserved subsidy from other residential ratepayers.

Joint Motion Cawley and Brown
Service location has mixed use: residential and commercial.
Complainant is eligible for CAP; gas service is primarily for household purpose.
Neither Code, PGW’s CAP Program nor tariff prohibit Complainant’s enrollment in CAP.
CAP Program does not contain standard to determine exclusion for residence with shared business use.
PGW can propose amendment during next 3-year Universal Service Plan filing.

Statement Witmer
Concurs in result in only this instance.
Agrees with ALJ that permitting small business to operate from residence benefiting from CAP on an ongoing basis is not the right policy decision.
PGW urged to eliminate any ambiguity going forward by making necessary changes in 3-year Universal Service Plan filing.

Merkert v. PECO

PM 2/12/15
F-2014-2413585

Complainant objects to the transfer of tenant’s balance due to discovery of foreign load arguing shared apartment was not rented and lease acknowledges and discounts rent for “shared usage.”

ALJ Colwell dismissed Complaint finding PUC precedent is clear: transferred balance is owner’s responsibility due to foreign load; irrelevant whether shared apartment is rented. Complaint must seek compensation from former tenant in another forum.

The Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing her position that she should not be responsible for the tenant’s account balance since she corrected the foreign load within days of being notified. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Absent a finding that a PUC-approved tariff provision is discriminating, a utility must comply with it.
While the owner can control to whom she leases her property, she has no control over whose name the utility service is established.
Complainant’s liability was the condition of the rental unit which was completely within her control.
Code does not permit landlord and tenant to enter into lease in which tenant would agree to be billed for electric service that includes foreign load.
Tenants are not permitted to accept utility service which is not exclusive to their homes.

Massey v. Peoples

PM 2/12/15
C-2013-2397016

Complainant alleges Peoples improperly permitted a person who was not a party to a lease to establish gas service in a property he owns.

ALJ Hoyer dismissed the Complaint finding no violation of the Code, PUC regulations, or orders; it was irrelevant whose name was on the lease or who established service. Complainant responsible for balance once foreign load confirmed – Section 1529.1 requires owner to advise utility of rental units with master meter.

The Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing his position that Peoples failed to follow proper procedure by placing service in the tenant’s mother’s name and Peoples knew the property was a duplex served by one meter. No Reply Exceptions were filed.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Peoples’ practice not to require proof of ownership or tenancy if the Company has no records of past credit or payment problems complies with Chapter 56.
Section 1529.1 does not place burden on the utility to discern either the ownership or utility set-up of a dwelling.
Regardless of whose name service was in, the Complainant is responsible for the billed usage upon the discovery of foreign load.
Prior to the discovery of foreign load, People’s business records reflected that the property was a single family dwelling and the Complainant did not introduce evidence to contradict that record or to notify the Company per Section 1529.1(a) that it was now a rental property with 2 or more units.

James Coppedge v. PECO

PM 1/29/15
F-2014-2406180

Complainant alleges that PECO is unreasonably refusing to accept his “alleged negotiable instrument tendered to pay his bill. He also asserts that he entered into the PUC PAR under duress. PECO asserts that it only accepts cash, certified checks, money orders and valid bank checks or payments by certain enumerated credit cards.

ALJ Long dismissed the Complaint finding that PECO’s policy of only accepting certain types of payment was not unreasonable or in violation of the Code or PUC regulations.

The Complainant filed Exceptions challenging the findings that PECO’s refusal was reasonable and he may legally claim the right to discharge his PECO debt through invocation of the UCC.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Complainant failed to prove that PECO’s action was unreasonable or unreliable service.
Complainant raised the same issue in his 2010 complaint which was also dismissed since PECO’s limitation of what is acceptable to satisfy the debt for service is reasonable.

Marcus Love v. PGW

PM 1/29/15
F-2013-2355580

Complainant alleges PGW installed a faulty meter and did not find issue for 4 years. PGW asserts that the mechanical part of the meter was functioning but the meter registered zero usage and it is permitted to issue make-up bill for unbilled usage.

ALJ Guhl found that PGW was authorized to issue the make-up bill and is entitled to payment for that usage. However, due to the fact that PGW did not investigate the reason for the zero readings for over 3 years, a 20% conservation credit was warranted. ALJ fined PGW $1,000 for violation of Section 1501.

PGW filed Exceptions challenging the conservation credit and requested the matter be remanded for evidentiary hearing on the appropriate level of the discount.

Motion Coleman
Exceptions granted in part; ID modified; Complaint dismissed.
Section 56.14 authorizes make-up bill and the customer is responsible for usage.
While utilities not required to provide perfect service, failing to notice the zero reads for over 3 years is not reasonable service.
The customer did not occupy the property for 27 of the 40-month period so conservation credit not warranted since not deprived of any meaningful opportunity to conserve during that period.
Fine of $1,000 affirmed.

Statement Witmer
Supports Motion of Commissioner Coleman.
Concerned that PGW continues to have problems identifying issues regarding its meters in a timely fashion.
Troubled that customer did not questions why his bills for more than 3 years reflected no usage.

Marion Werle v. Respond Power

PM 1/15/15
C-2014-2429158

Complainant alleges EGS rates were “absurd.” EGS filed PO attorney asserting PUC has no jurisdiction over EGS rates.

ALJ Jandebeur granted PO since PUC has no jurisdiction over EGS rates and cannot order a refund or credit to Complainant and no other allegation of any violation of Code or PUC regulations.

ID revised: Complaint dismissed.

Motion Coleman

  • PUC does have authority to order refund as appropriate remedy when customer is slammed.
  • PUC can order credit or refund if EGS fails to bill in accordance with its disclosure statement.

Statement Brown
Hearing should have been held on issue of improper marketing or sales activities of EGS.

M Heather Michail v. PECO

PM 1/15/15
F-2014-2404586

Complainant requests PUC PAR.

ALJ Hoyer dismissed the Complaint finding a substantial amount of the outstanding balance was CAP arrears and Complainant did not demonstrate good faith effort to pay her bill to warrant PUC PAR for non-CAP arrears.

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging her income decreased and rent increased. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID and objecting to the extra record evidence.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
New assertion not considered because record closed.
PUC cannot order PAR on CAP arrears.
PUC declined to issue PAR for non-CAP arrears due to poor payment history and defaulting on prior Company PARs.

Dr. Hubert Huh v. PECO

PM 1/15/15
F-2013-2386249

Complainant objects to PECO’s refusal to accept 4th med cert, requests a PUC PAR and alleges reconnection fee was charged twice.

ALJ Watson dismissed Complaint finding no payments made while med certs on account, no evidence of duplicate reconnection fee and affirmed the BCS Level 2 PAR.

The Complainant filed Exceptions alleging he did not get a fair hearing, PECO’s bills are not transparent and he did not default on the BCS PAR.

Exceptions dismissed; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Complainant chose to have wife assist him at hearing.
ALJ exercised great diligence to ensure Complainant was not only capable of participating but also knowingly without assistance of counsel.
No evidence that account charged twice for reconnection fee.
PUC PAR directed consistent with revised Section 1405(b)(2).
No evidence to question integrity of his bill (balance double between Complaint filing and hearing because of non-payment).

Kenneth Williams v. PECO

PM 1/15/15
C-2013-2383376

Complainants allege bills are too high because property was gutted and is vacant; requests to pay $40/month while renovations take place.

ALJ Guhl dismissed the Complaint finding the increase in usage is consistent with seasonal usage, especially as space heaters as well as tools used during reconstruction of house.

Complainants filed Exceptions disputing the finding and suggesting that the court reporter erred in transcribing the testimony of their witness regarding contractors working at property. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Meter was not defective or operating incorrectly; bills are correct.
No record evidence from electrician to support testimony of Complainants.
Record closed: allegation that witness’ testimony was not accurately transcribed at the hearing was never raised; affidavit from witness never submitted.
Complainants had opportunity in discovery to independently test the meter but failed to do so.

Mimose Innocent v. PPL

PM 1/15/15
F-2013-2360608

Complainant checked every box on complaint form but did not explain the problem or include any specific dates.

ALJ Jandebeur dismissed the matter finding no testimony or evidence on any issue. The request for 2nd PUC PAR was denied since she defaulted on more than 20 PARs and no change in income.

Complainant filed Exceptions requesting 2nd PUC PAR. PPL filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Complainant not entitled to 2nd PUC PAR under 1405.
Complainant defaulted on more than 20 PARs (including BCS PARs)—no good faith to make payments.

Rodney Temple v. West Penn

PM 12/18/14
C-2014-2412337

Complainant alleges that West Penn unlawfully assessed a security deposit and the call center was rude and unresponsive. The Company asserted that while the customer pays his bill in full each month, the payment is consistently late and denied that its reps were unprofessional. After the record was closed, the Company filed a Motion seeking sanctions pursuant to Section 5.245(c) because the Complainant sent threatening and vulgar emails to counsel.

ALJ dismissed finding the account was delinquent, the security deposit was lawful under Sections 1404 and 56.41, and there was no record evidence that the Company’s action were retaliatory because of his activism absent West Penn. ALJ Long denied West Penn’s Motion finding “it not unusual for a complainant to threaten the Commission with negative publicity in the event of an adverse ruling” and that the offensive language occurred after the hearing.

ID adopted.

Statement Witmer
No amount of frustration justifies the inappropriate language or threatening language.
The Complainant’s comment that he would continue to “file complaints and not show up thereby costing the Company money” reflects misunderstanding those monies spent defending complaints are recovered from ratepayers.
PUC is legally bound to dismiss repeat frivolous complaints and limit ability of that customer to file additional future complaints.

Omar Ali v. PECO

PM 12/18/14
F-2014-2417840

The Complainant alleges unauthorized charges on the account and objects to the transfer of a prior balance to his current account. He requests removal of LPCs and the transferred charges.

ALJ Colwell dismissed finding that the Complainant did not establish a prima facie case that PECO did anything wrong; he offered no evidence (or reason) to support his claims.

Complainant filed Exceptions disputing the finding that the transferred balance was accurate since his family vacated that residence over 17 years ago and alleged that PECO did not submit documents ordered during the hearing. PECO filed Replies to Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions granted in part; ID modified; Complaint dismissed.
ID modified solely to correct address/account where the balance was transferred; transfer was proper.
ALJ never required PECO to submit bills to support entries on PECO Exhibit 2.
Utilities are entitled for payment for provided utility service when determination made that a customer has used those services. See, Berry v PGW, (F-01184412, entered 4/15/04).
Complainant did not make prima facie case.

Joann Brower v. PECO

PM 12/18/14
C-2014-2400862

Complainant alleges her bills are incorrect and she is being billed for electricity she did not use. PECO performed high bill investigation and concluded bills were correct as rendered.

ALJ Watson dismissed finding the meter tested within PUC guidelines, the household had the potential for the usage and the increased usage was directly related to the use of space heaters and winter temperatures.

No timely Exceptions filed. Final Order entered June 18, 2014. Complainant filed Petition for Reconsideration alleging PECO did not timely investigate her claim, PECO incorrectly included potential usage from appliances she does not have, neither PECO nor her landlord have explained why she has on-peak and off-peaks meters and she cannot afford the monthly payments. PECO filed an Answer in support of the ID.

Petition denied.
Not met Duick standard.
Record evidence supports ID findings.
Issue of what she can afford was never raised at hearing; PAR not permitted since CAP arrears.
Issue regarding the installation of 2 meters should be directed to her landlord.

William Edney v. PGW

PM 12/18/14
F-2013-2393858

Complainant alleges bills are incorrect since property was vacant and the appliances were non-functional. PGW asserts that an adjustment was given for the fast meter (2.634% but magnetic inference found); property had potential for usage and a PAR was offered for the make-up bill.

ALJ Guhl dismissed but directed a 48-month make-up PAR per Section 56.14 finding PGW’s investigation showed that the appliances were functioning and connected to the gas service and that regardless of when he moved into the property (2014), he placed service in his name (2007) and is responsible for the charges.

Complainant filed Exceptions stating he “did not agree” and requested a “new court date.” PGW filed Replies to Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID modified; Complaint dismissed; Tentative Order issued.
Record evidence supports finding that gas appliances were functioning properly and utilized gas.
A 20% conservation credit is appropriate since the record shows that the Complainant conserved usage after he received accurate price signals.
Since magnetic interference with the AMR device and resulting billing inaccuracies occurred through no fault of the Complainant, LPCs should not be assessed as long as PAR is not in default.
Comments due in 10 days.

Statement Brown
The frequency of the meter related make-up bill complaints against PGW may indicate a larger problem with PGW’s monitoring of its billing system and/or AMRs.
PGW reminded of the importance of routine monitoring of its facilities to deter occurrences of unbilled usage.

Rosa Hobson v. PGW

PM 12/18/14
C-2013-2378746

Complainant seeks affordable PAR and questioned PGW’s handling of the account while in CAP, application of LIHEAP payment and budget billing.

ALJ Cheskis dismissed finding the Complainant defaulted on a prior PUC PAR and Chapter 14 did not permit a 2nd PUC PAR since no change in income or significant change in circumstances; no evidence that PGW committed any error in the handling of the account while in CAP, application of LIHEAP payment and budget billing.

No timely exceptions filed; Final Order entered July 22, 2014. Complainant filed Petition for Reconsideration arguing she did not receive the ID and provided her notes on the ID. PGW filed Answer that Duick standard not met.

Petition denied.
No new or novel argument raised.
Affirmed ID finding that there had not been a decrease in household income of 10% or more to entitle her to a 2nd PUC PAR.
PUC cannot legally order PGW to enter into a Company PAR with the Complainant.

John Crespo v PGW

PM 12/4/14
C-2014-2430544

Complainant objects to municipal lien filed by PGW for his tenant’s delinquency since he is enrolled in PGW’s Landlord Cooperation Program. PGW filed PO stating PUC lacked jurisdiction to hear complaint involving a municipal lien.

ALJ Barnes granted the PO and dismissed the matter since the PUC did not have subject matter jurisdiction over the lien and the portion of the Complaint requesting he not be held personally liable for the gas services rendered to his tenant.

ID adopted.

Barry and Deborah Harshbarger v PECO

PM 12/4/14
F-2014-2417792

Complainant seeks a realistic 2nd PUC PAR. PECO contends 2nd PUC PAR is not permitted by Chaptrer 14 since no change in income or no significant change in circumstances.

Special Agent Johnson dismissed the Complaint finding the Complainant had not established an entitlement to a 2nd PUC PAR.

The Complainants filed Exceptions stating the monthly income varies and the household has experienced significant medical bills due to Mr. Harshbarger’s liver disease. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID arguing that the events alleged occurred more that 4 years ago and are not relevant.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • Household income has not changed since BCS Decision issued.
  • No record evidence that there was a significant change in circumstances from the onset of any new illness which caused a significant loss in household income.
Joseph Nadav v Respond Power

11/13/14
C-2014-2429159

Complainant alleges that the EGS charged his business an excessive rate and seeks rate recalculated rate and a refund. EGS filed PO arguing that the PUC did not have jurisdiction over generation rates.

ALJ Salapa granted the PO finding the Complaint was legally insufficient for failing to identify a violation of a matter the PUC had jurisdiction.

ID modified; Complaint dismissed.

Motion Coleman
PUC lacks authority to regulate EGS rates.
PUC has authority, per Section 2807(d)(1), to order refund or credit in appropriate circumstances.
PUC has interpreted Section 2807(d)(1) to find that a full refund of EGS charges is an appropriate remedy when a customer has been slammed.

Kevin Washington v PGW

11/13/14
C-2013-2388427

Complainant alleges PGW did not reinstate his PAR as agreed. PGW applied the requested payment to an unpaid security deposit and the remaining towards the catch-up amount. PGW filed Certificate of Satisfaction with the wrong customer name and failed to serve the Complainant.

ALJ Jones found PGW made several operational errors in the handling of the matter ; she refused to reinstate the PAR based on the Complainant’s failure to demonstrate a good faith payment history.

ID reversed; remand for hearing; Complaint sustained.

Motion Brown
Equity demands that PGW honor the agreement that $700 would reinstate the PAR.
Reinstatement of Company PAR does not constitute a PUC-ordered PAR.
Remand to determine if fine is in the public interest.

Statement Witmer
Complainant defaulted on 27 of 30 Company PARs.
Complainant encouraged to make full and timely payments since “this resolution is a lucky break given his prior payment history.”

Sandra Hopely v PECO

11/13/14
F-2014-2404303

Complainant objects to being held responsible for electric charges while service was in her mother’s name. PECO asserts she was an occupant at the time the charges accrued and benefited from the service.

ALJ Melillo found the Complainant did not provide any evidence that she did not reside at the property during the disputed time period; she did provide documentation of her residency after the disputed time period.

ID adopted.

Loraine Shermot v Met-Ed

11/13/14
F-2013-2386063

Complainant states she has multiple medical conditions and should be permitted to use med certs to prevent termination of service without making equitable payments. Complainant did not appear at the hearing.

ALJ Guhl dismissed the Complaint for failure to appear; Final Order entered on 4/24/14.

Complainant late filed exceptions that were treated as Petition for Rescission of the Final Order, restating the allegations in her Complaint. Met-Ed filed Answer arguing that failure to appear was not unavoidable and reopening the matter would only exacerbate the needless expense of resources and time that PUC and Company have contributed to Complaint when the Complainant does not appear interested in committing her resources to it.

Petition denied.
Complainant received timely notice of the hearing and chose not to participate.
Complainant previously requested that Complaint be settled without a hearing and asked that the hearing be canceled.
Complaint never, as directed, filed a written request to withdraw the complaint.

Nathaniel Haynesworth v PGW

PM 10/23/14
C-2013-2388558

Complainant alleges PGW issued his first bill for 5 years of usage and he requests a complete service history from 2008-2013 and a breakdown of the billing period. PGW alleges Complainant was a “user without contract” and issued make-up bill consistent with Section 56.14.

ALJ Vero found no merit in the Complainant’s claim of inadequate and unreasonable service. Complainant was not eligible for PAR because he is no longer a customer. Failure to issue Complainant’s monthly bills for seven months was unreasonable service under Section 1501 and a $200 fine was assesses.

ID modified; Complaint denied in part.

Joint Motion Witmer and Powelson

  • PGW acted unreasonable by using “user without contract” mechanism for over four years.
  • PGW’s failure to identify the correct party to bill in a timely manner is a clear violation of Section 1501 warranting an increased penalty of $500.
  • Failure to issue monthly bills for seven months constitutes unreasonable service under Section 1501.
  • Complainant benefitted from the unbilled gas service and has an obligation to apply for service and is responsible for the service he used since February 2009.
Avram Yushan v PPL

PM 10/23/14
C-2014-2399855

Complainant disputes transferred outstanding balance for a multi-unit residential building as a result of foreign load being confirmed.

ALJ Long found PPL correctly transferred the balance upon discovery of foreign load and that a property owner is responsible for even a de minimis foreign load.

The Complainant filed Exceptions re-arguing his Complaint. PPL filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • Section 1529.1 requires owners of rental property to separately meter common areas, either shared or exclusive from the tenant(s).
  • Owner is financially responsible for a tenant’s entire account once foreign load is verified on the tenant’s service.
  • Code mandates that service be placed in name of owner once foreign load is confirmed; once corrected, service may be placed in tenant’s name but the transferred balance remains with the owner.
Leroy Scott v PECO

PM 10/23/14
F-2013-2388439

Complainant seeks PAR and disputes the tampering charge. PECO states bills are correct as rendered and is permitted to charge a tampering fee under its Tariff.

ALJ Pell granted a Level 2 PAR and found account balance correct. PECO agreed to remove the $920 tampering fee.

Complainant filed Exceptions re-arguing his position. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • ALJ correctly determined the outstanding balance was the result of missed and late payments from Complainant’s prior Service Location which he remained responsible for until he requested service be taken out of his name.
  • Level 2 PAR consistent with Section 1405(b)(2).
Titus Wright v PGW

PM 10/23/14
C-2013-2368462

Complainant disputes transfer of outstanding balance from a Service Location and the resultant placement of a municipal lien. PGW admitted the lien was erroneously filed and was working to remove it. This matter was originally resolved with a Certificate of Satisfaction which the Complainant later filed an objection.

ALJ Melillo dismissed the Complaint with prejudice finding res judicata in that the Complainant sought to re-litigate issues previously addressed in 2 prior formal complaints which were also resolved by Certificates of Satisfaction.

The Complainant’s late filed Exceptions were treated as a Petition for Reconsideration disagreeing with the ID. PGW filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Petition for Reconsideration denied.

  • Petition does not met standard of Duick.
Patricia and Adjuah Jackson v PECO

PM 10/23/1
C-2013-2347310

Complainant alleges a high bill and requests a PAR. PECO argues Section 1405 (d) prohibits 2nd PUC without change in income.

ALJ Vero dismissed the Complaint finding the Complainant had the potential for the usage and higher bills were a combined result of: enrollment in budget billing, increase consumption, and the EGS and NGS rates. She also denied the request for a PAR since the income had increased from a level 2 to level 4.

The Complainant filed Exceptions arguing the household size had changed and they had other financial obligations. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • Household income increased not decreased since last PUC PAR.
  • Usage was not abnormally high to sustain a high bill complaint.
Theresa Brown-Albert v PPL

PM 10/23/14
F-2013-2342492

Complainant, owner of Service Location, objects to being held responsible for all separately metered accounts where she did not reside. PPL argued that the bills for the other 2 accounts were in the name of family members and she was liable.

ALJ Buckley found that the Complainant, as sole owner of the Service Location, was a “customer” and thus responsible for the bills for all three accounts.

The Complainant filed Exceptions arguing inaccuracies in PPL’s records and she was prejudiced by not timely receiving the hearing notice and PPL’s exhibits. PPL filed Reply Exceptions supporting the ID.

ID reversed; remanded for hearing.

Motion Cawley

  • Sections 56.16(b) and 56.2 holds those who actually benefit from the service and have some legal connection to the Service Location responsible for charges, regardless of whether service is in that person’s name.
  • ID does not consider whether Complainant actually benefitted from the service, but rather relies solely on the Complainant’s status as owner.
  • Remand is necessary to determine if Complainant benefitted from the service and therefore qualifies as a “customer.”
Bonnie Roberts v NFG

PM 10/2/14
C-2014-2408721

The Complainant requests a single gas line into her home; she currently shares a service line with 2 other townhomes (she bought property with current configuration). The Complainant has 3 meters in her basement—one is hers; the other 2 service her neighbors. Complainant wants her neighbor’s meters outside their home not in her basement. NFG asserts that is common for attached properties to share a service line; company offered to move meters to outside of Complainant’s home but she refused. Each customer pays for their own metered usage.

ALJ Jandebeur dismissed the Complaint finding the Complainant has not met her burden of proof and holding that the regs (Chapter 59) do not specify how single-family homes versus townhomes are to be treated. ALJ reviewed the Code (Section 1501) and ruled that there were no safety concerns and NFG’s proposal to move meters outside was reasonable. Finally, any gas leak on the customer’s side of the meter is the customer’s, not NFG’s, responsibility.

The Complainant filed Exceptions disputing the veracity of NFG’s evidence and the validity of its investigation. NFG filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
The gas service provided to the Complainant as currently configured is sufficient to service her and her neighbor’s adjoining properties.
Company’s proposal to bear cost to move meters outside was reasonable in light of the fact that the Complainant is responsible for cost but for NFG offer.
No finding that current service violates Code or PUC regs.
NFG is not required to supply an individual service line and attendant meter to every individual customer particularly where multiple customer receive service at “one building.”

Jeffrey Jakubiak v PECO

PM 10/2/14
F-2013-2381878

The Complainant alleges that payments made to PECO have not been properly credited to his account. PECO asserts that the Complainant never produced any cancelled check for payment that was not properly credited and he is not entitled to a PAR since CAP arrears.

ALJ Pell dismissed the Complaint finding that the Complainant has filed 10 separate lost payments investigations since 2009 yet has never produced any cancelled checks. Complainant has not carried burden that PECO violated Code or regs. Complainant simply has discovered “a way to delay PECO’s efforts to terminate service.”

Complainant filed Exceptions stating records were faxed to OALJ; PECO filed Reply Excpetions in support of the ID. Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

Complainant was provided numerous opportunities to provide documentation that checks were cashed by PECO and not properly applied. No record evidence to support allegation that PECO cashed check and did not credit account. Allegations that 10-day notices failed to meet Chapter 56 requirements were dismissed.

Sianna Phongsak v PECO

PM 8/21/14
C-2013-2393474

Complainant sought PAR to avoid termination of service. PECO argued that BCS had correctly dismissed the informal complaint since she had not contacted PECO first to request PAR.

ALJ Fordham dismissed the Complaint with prejudice for the Complainant’s failure to appear and prosecute.

ID adopted.

Joint Statement Brown and Cawley

  • Original hearing was canceled due to bad weather; rescheduled hearing notice was returned to PUC as undeliverable; PUC was unable to reach the Complainant by phone.
  • Because notice of rescheduled hearing did not reach the Complainant the case should be dismissed, but without prejudice.
Leona Oliphant v PGW

PM 8/21/14
C-2013-2397029

Complainant seeks PAR to restore gas service. PGW asserts PAR not warranted given the high balance and 4 previously defaulted PARs, including the CAP agreement.

ALJ Cheskis directed PGW to reconnect service and directed a PAR for the non-CAP arrears.

PGW filed Exceptions arguing that prior to the PAR for non-CAP arrears becoming effective, the Complainant must first satisfy all CAP arrears.

Exceptions moot; ID modified; complaint dismissed.

  • A PAR for the non-CAP arrears where the Complainant is likely to default is not in the customer’s best interest.
  • A PUC PAR for the non-CAP arrears is not appropriate, given the Complainant’s poor payment history and default of prior PARs.
  • PUC did not address issue as to whether a customer must satisfy CAP arrears before a PAR for non-CAP arrears become effective.
Michael Prendergast v PGW

PM 8/21/14
F-2012-2317187

PGW filed a Petition for Reconsideration of the PUC’s February 27, 2014 Order which required PGW to issue a 20% conservation credit due to the 6-year period the meter malfunction and the Complainant did not receive adequate price signals related to his gas consumption. PGW argues the conservation credit constitutes impermissible compensatory damages, which are beyond the PUC’s jurisdiction. PGW asserts that after the PUC obtained jurisdiction over PGW in 2000, it agreed in limited circumstances to the application of the conservation credit, because it was a way for PGW to voluntarily provide customer satisfaction to those customers who experienced the inconvenience of receiving bills for previously unbilled services. PGW argues that the conservation credit is only applied to their makeup bills not other regulated utilities.

Petition granted in part and denied in part; remand for further hearing.

  • PUC’s authority permits equitable relief involving disputes within their purview.
  • Conservation credit is not monetary damages but rather constitutes an individual rate preference for the Complainant, which the PUC deems reasonable.
  • PUC troubled by PGW’s sudden unwillingness to agree to the credit given the fact of the Complaint (i.e., meter malfunctioned for 6 years; no record evidence that the Complainant was at fault for the meter malfunction; and PGW’s recent application of credit in Robyn Irving v PGW.
  • The facts in the present proceeding provided reasonable and substantial basis for departing from PUC prior order in Sottile v PGW, in which the PUC found requested relief was for damages.
  • Remand necessary to determine if the level of conservation credit sufficient to remedy the inaccurate price signals that the Complainant received prior to the correction of his meter.
  • PGW directed to submit into the record the results of any gas usage analysis prepared in its investigation of this complaint proceeding.
  • PGW directed to prepare gas usage analysis estimating what the Complainant’s usage would have been if the meter were not corrected and a summary of the Complainant actual consumption after the meter was corrected.
Habana Holding Corp. v PGW

PM 7/24/14
C-2014-2413775

Complainant disputes charges and lien placed by PGW. PGW filed PO asserting PUT does not have subject matter jurisdiction.

ALJ Buckley granted PO; must go to proper forum to dispute lien and charges associated.

ID adopted.

Cawley and Brown-Dissent
Agree PUC does not have subject matter jurisdiction over lien.
PUC has jurisdiction over Section 1501 violations (incorrect charges; customer service); remand for hearing was appropriate.

Schenevelyn Samuel v PECO

PM 7/24/14
F-2013-2395646

Complainant does not dispute charges but wants PAR for CAP and non-CAP arrears.

ALJ Heep found that Complainant’s incomes did decrease but insufficient for PAR (§1403) having defaulted on prior PUC PAR (§1405(d)).

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing the PAR is the reason her bill is so high. PECO filed Replies to Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

Not eligible for PAR per §1405(d); no change in income per §1403.

Shirley Surrec v Columbia

PM 7/9/14
C-2014-2408741

Complainant alleges Columbia improperly installed insulation and windows in her home. Columbia filed a PO arguing the Complaint is legally insufficient (3rd party provided the weatherization) and PUC lacks jurisdiction to award damages.

ALJ Salapa granted the PO finding the Complaint did not allege facts that could be construed as a violation of the code, PUC regulations or order.

Complainant filed Exceptions restating position. Columbia filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions granted in part; ID modified; remand; Complaint sustained.

  • Dismissal without hearing not warranted per Carlock.
  • Weatherization program is part of Columbia's PUC-approved CAP and therefore constituted service Section 1501.
  • Hearing required to develop factual record.
Alexander Smith v PGW

PM 7/9/14
F-2012-2315538

Complainant disputes the make-up bill for 48 months of unbilled service that PGW alleges was the result of meter tampering.

ALJ Jones ruled that the identify of who tampered with the meter is irrelevant to the obligation for unbilled services. She limited the unauthorized period to 21 months and directed a new bill with no usage for gas stove or water heater included.

Both parties filed Exceptions restating their respective position. PGW filed Replies to Exceptions.

Complainant's Exceptions granted in part; PGW's Exceptions denied; ID modified; Complaint sustained.

  • No evidence that meter was tampered with; ERT was damaged.
  • Complainant’s testimony established he did not use gas during the disputed period.
  • CAP customer usage is reflected on monthly bill but at a discounted rate.
  • PGW’s testimony and evidence was conflicting and contained inaccuracies.
  • No make-up bill since no usage.
  • PGW’s response to leak was referred to BIE for review.
Shirley Surrec v Columbia

PM 7/9/14
C-2014-2408741

Complainant alleges Columbia improperly installed insulation and windows in her home. Columbia filed a PO arguing the Complaint is legally insufficient (3rd party provided the weatherization) and PUC lacks jurisdiction to award damages.

ALJ Salapa granted the PO finding the Complaint did not allege facts that could be construed as a violation of the code, PUC regulations or order.

Complainant filed Exceptions restating position. Columbia filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions granted in part; ID modified; remand; Complaint sustained.

  • Dismissal without hearing not warranted per Carlock.
  • Weatherization program is part of Columbia's PUC-approved CAP and therefore constituted service Section 1501.
  • Hearing required to develop record.
Alexander Smith v PGW

PM 7/9/14
F-2012-2315538

Complainant disputes the make-up bill for 48 months of unbilled service that PGW alleges was the result of meter tampering.

ALJ Jones ruled that the identify of who tampered with the meter is irrelevant to the obligation for unbilled services. She limited the unauthorized period to 21 months; No usage for gas stove or water heater are to be included.

Both parties filed Exceptions restating their respective position. PGW filed Replies to Exceptions.

Complainant's Exceptions granted in part; PGW's Exceptions denied; ID modified; Complaint sustained.

  • No evidence that meter was tampered with; ERT was damaged.
  • Complainant’s testimony established he did not use gas during the disputed period.
  • CAP customer usage is reflected on monthly bill but at a discounted rate.
  • PGW/s testimony and evidence was conflicting and contained inaccuracies.
  • No make-up bill since no usage.
  • PGW’s response to leak was referred to BIE for review.
Firman and Gallagher-Firman v. PGW

PM 6/19/14
F-2014-2410963

Complainants object to PGW's lien for unpaid gas bills filed 7 years after previous owner’s service was terminated. PGW filed a PO.

ALJ Salapa granted the PO based on PUC’s lack of jurisdiction and dismissed the Complaint.

ID adopted.

Joint Concurring Statement – Witmer & Brown
PGW’s delay in filing lien caused Complainants to be unaware of the outstanding balance subject to potential lien when they purchased the property.
PGW must work to manage customer arrearages and customer collection efforts before filing a lien.

Mohamed Mansaray v. PECO

PM 6/19/14
C-2013-2352692

Complainant, a commercial customer, alleges high bills, payments improperly applied, poor customer service, and seeks a PAR. PECO asserts Complainant did not cooperate with its efforts to conduct a high bill investigation.

ALJ Vero ruled a commercial customer was not entitled to PAR under Chapter 56 and bills were correct as rendered. ALJ also denied request at hearing for interpreter.

The Complainant filed Exceptions stating denial of an interpreter affected his presentation of his case. PECO filed Replies to Exceptions arguing Complainant showed sufficient language skills demonstrated by his extensive cross-examination of PECO's witness.

ID adopted; Exceptions denied; Complaint dismissed.
Complainant was offered opportunity to be heard.
Interpreter was not necessary – Complainant did not have any difficulty participating in the hearing using English language.

Statement Powelson
Unavailability of interpreter did not prejudice Complainant’s ability to litigate his case as evidenced by his testimony and cross-examination of PECO’s witness.

Joint Dissenting Statement – Cawley and Brown
Complainant should have been provided requested interpreter to safeguard due process.

Joy Turner v. PGW

PM 6/19/14
C-2013-2388319

Complainant seeks a PAR with mixed CAP and non-CAP arrears. PGW asserts a PAR is not permitted since CAP arrears and she previously defaulted on 2-Company PARs.

ALJ Heep directed PAR for non-CAP arrears based on Hewitt v. PECO.

PGW filed Exceptions arguing that Complainant must pay off CAP arrears before receiving PUC PAR for non-CAP arrears citing Cooper v. PECO. Complainant did not file Replies to Exceptions.

ID modified; Exceptions moot; Complaint dismissed.

Complainant is not worthy of PUC PAR for non-CAP arrears: the balance exceeds $14,000; 2-defaulted Company PARs; and only 2 payments within 12 months of the hearing.

Fred Bobb v. PECO

PM 6/19/14
C-2013-2354026

Complainant filed a Petition for Reconsideration of 3/20/14 PUC Order that dismissed Complaint alleging PECO’s vegetation management violated the Code. PECO filed a response asserting no "new or novel" arguments.

Petition denied.
Petition met Duick standard for reconsideration.
Commission lacks jurisdiction (1) to interpret and enforce easements and local ordinances and (2) to order payment of damages.
Evidence not previously introduced cannot be raised at reconsideration stage. 52 Pa Code Sec. 5.431(b).
PECO’s actions complied with its tariff.
Record demonstrated extensive communication between parties over sale of the property.

Sherry Dixon v. PECO

PM 6/19/14
F-2013-2353645

The Complainant seeks rescission of 4/3/14 PUC Order that dismissed excessive billing Complaint. Complainant argues she did not receive a fair hearing or PUC Order. PECO responded that the Petition does not raise any "new or novel" arguments.

Petition denied.
Petition did not meet the Duick standard for reconsideration.
Complainant received a fair hearing and her alleged failure to receive the Order did not prejudice her.

Garber v. PECO

PM 6/5/14
C-2013-2396173

Complainant alleged she is not responsible for outstanding charges because she did not reside at the Service Location and that PECO failed to discontinue service upon her mother's request. PECO denied all allegations.

ALJ Melillo dismissed the Complaint with prejudice for failure to appear noting that (1) she did not receive any notice that the Complainant was unable to attend prior to the hearing date (Complainant's mother advised at hearing that Complainant is incarcerated and that she has Power of Attorney) and (2)Power of Attorney does not authorize a non-attorney to represent an individual in a formal PUC proceeding.

ID modified; Complaint dismissed without prejudice.

Motion Cawley and Brown
Complainant's incarceration was "unavoidable"; her failure to appear should not construed as a waiver to participate. §5.245.
Complaint should be dismissed without prejudice.

Escalera v. Columbia

PM 6/5/14
C-2013-2368514

Complainants (1) disputes responsibility for the replacement of their customer service line and requests proof that he in fact is the owner of the line and (2) alleges unreasonable prejudice because Columbia repaired other customers’ service lines. Columbia provided its tariff in support of its position that ownership of the Service Location results in ownership of the customer service line.

ALJ Cheskis dismissed the Complaint finding that Columbia's tariff states it is the homeowner's responsibility to maintain the customer service line. He also found that Columbia's repairs for other customers did not create unreasonable prejudice under Sections §1304 or §1502 noting the PUC’s limited waiver of certain tariff rules granted to Columbia as part of a main replacement and upgrade program. In granting the limited waiver, the PUC recognized (and authorized) that some customers may be treated differently than other customers when such treatment is in the public interest.

Complainants filed Exceptions alleging that Columbia owned the service line prior to their ownership of the Service Location and it never transferred ownership to Complainants. Columbia filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Columbia's Tariff establishes the ownership of the facilities and the Complainants’ service line; Complainants are responsible for any repairs.
Tariff is binding on both customer and utility.

Jere Lefever v PPL

PM 4/23/14
C-2013-2367314

Complainant alleges that PPL stated he would not be responsible for the electric arrearage accumulated by tenant since he corrected the foreign bond at the property.

ALJ Colwell sustained the Complaint based on PPL’s refusal to enter customer contacts so the allegation of Section 1501 violation was not refuted; Company fined $1000.

PPL filed Exceptions challenging the findings to support the finding of Section 1501 violation.

Exceptions granted in part; ID modified; Complaint sustained.

  • Fine reduced to $500 since one time isolated incident, not intentional and PPL cooperated with PUC.
Marlene Broman v West Penn

PM 4/23/14
C-2013-2356237

Complainant objects to the Company’s tree-trimming practice in the Company’s ROW located on her property. West Penn asserts that its vegetation management practices are consistent with FERC’s standard for Transmission Vegetation Management.

ALJ Dunderdale found that the PUC does not have the jurisdiction regarding the scope of the ROW; she did find the PUC had jurisdiction to rule on the service provided (i.e., the way company handled complaint) and assessed a fine of $6,000 for providing unreasonable service (WPP’s attempt to remove trees in its transmission ROW as unreasonable under Section 1501).

West Penn filed Exceptions arising from the interpretation of the scope of validity of ROW and the level of the fine.

Exceptions granted in part; ID modified; Complaint dismissed.
Vegetation management is with PUC’s jurisdiction under 1501.
The easement does not trump PUC’s ability to review the service provided;
PUC is permitted under Federal Power Act to enforce service-related issues consistent with reliability standards.
Complainant did not carry burden that West Penn violated Section 1501 since practice is consistent with federal requirements.
Civil penalty reversed; encouraged to continue to discuss its program with affected landowners.

Mark Mazza v PECO

PM 4/23/14
C-2012-2318472

Complainant filed his Complaint # 6 challenging termination of service for nonpayment arguing that since the US Supreme Court had not ruled on his prior complaints, his complaints were still pending at the PUC. PECO filed a New Matter alleging abuse of process and requested that the Complainant to be barred from filing future complaints until the balance of the last PUC PAR ($9,742) was paid.

ALJ Barnes dismissed the Complain, denied 2nd PUC PAR and granted PECO’s request and barred future filings.

Complainant filed Exceptions challenging finding in ID. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint #6 dismissed; future complaints barred; termination may proceed while Complaints #7, 8 and 9 pending.

  • Issue of med cert never raised on record so improperly before PUC at Exceptions stage;
  • ALJ properly refrained from considering merits of Complaints # , 8 and 9; No evidence of ALJ’s bias.
  • PECO’s exhibits were properly identified and authenticated; necessary foundation laid for each of PECO’s admitted exhibits;
  • ALJ not required to make finding that the Complainant lacked credibility; Complainant failed to carry burden of proof for his claims;
  • Chapter 56 must be construed in the context of establishing a process for resolving disputes, informal and formal complaints per §§56.140-56.181;
  • Once PUC renders a final order on a formal complaint, there is no longer any pending dispute or complaint with the meaning of §56.141(2); at that point all disputes and complaints have been resolved within meaning of §56.141(2);
  • Stay per §56.141(2) is lifted unless PUC Final Order is stayed by Commonwealth Court;
  • Per §56.2 definition of PAR: the balance of the last PAR is the undisputed amount: last PAR negotiated on 8/2012 on balance of $9,742.85;
  • Failure to except to a FOF is a waiver of issue;
  • Complaints #1-5 have been resolved in PECO’s favor—so no pending offset claim; PUC waived §56.141(2) authorizing PECO to terminate for failure to pay $9.742.85 while Complaints #7-9 pending.
  • No change in income so no subsequent PUC PAR since he defaulted on PAR established in Complaint # 2 per §1405(d);
  • PECO carried its burden of proof: Mazza has abused process in order to enjoy continuous electric service while his arrearage continues to increase;
  • Mazza, any member of his family, or anyone else is barred from filing informal/formal complaint for Service Location until $9,742.85 paid;
  • PECO ordered to notify PUC within 7 days of Mazza’s payment of $9,742.85;
Michael Kline v Penelec

PM 4/3/14
C-2013-2356809

Complainant alleges his make-up bill was the result of an employee error in using an estimed reading rather than the obtained actual reading for 3bills; 2 intervening bills also were incorrectly estimated. Penelec denies the allegation.

ALJ Hoyer found the bills correct as rendered noting that the Complainant has obligation to pay for unbilled service per 56.14.

ID modified, Company fined

Motion Brown
Penelec incorrectly billed the customer for estimated readings rather than actual readings obtained.
Customer received 5 consecutive estimated bills in violation of Section 56.12 which constituted unreasonable service under Section 1501.
Company did not provide good faith explanation as to why billing errors were made.
Civil penalty of $500 assessed.

E McCauley v. Penelec

PM 4/3/14
C-2013-2369789

Complainant alleges her service is “out more that is it on” and technicians sit in trucks rather than restoring her service. Company disputes allegation and asserts 2 incidents which caused interruption of service were outside their control.

AJL Watson found the Complainant only offered opinion testimony and did not carry her burden of proof.

Complainant filed Exceptions raising new interruptions of service after the record closed. Company filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed
Newspaper article was available at hearing and cannot be introduced at Exception stage.
Complainant’s entire case is based on her unsupported assertions and opinions.
Company witness provided expert opinion on its electric system and measures to restore service after an outage.

Alliance of Youth Ministries v. PECO

PM 4/3/14
C-2013-2358115

Complainant alleges PECO is holding them responsible for usage associated with a prior tenant. PECO asserts the Complainant is playing the corporate name game.

ALJ Pell found the Complainant accepted responsibility for the charges when it entered into a PAR for the balance that included charges from date of purchase of property and PECO’s Tariff permitted the back billing.

Complainant filed Exceptions challenging the findings based on the record evidence. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed
PECO’s Tariff authorizes the use of the deed when determining liability for a past due balance.
PECO’s business records are an exception to the hearing rule.
ALJ properly weighed the evidence and testimony.
PUC-approved Tariff provisions are prima facie reasonable.
Complainant had burden of proof that PECO’s decision to back bill it violated the Code, Regs on Order of PUC; they did not carry burden.

Sherry Dixon v. PECO

PM 4/3/14
F-2013-2353645

Complainer alleges high bill and seeks PAR. PECO investigated high bill and tested the meter. All arrears are CAP related.

ALJ Salapa found the Complainant had potential for usage and her admitted use of space heaters. The broken meter base is not Company equipment and did not affect the meter’s ability to accurately record usage. No PAR permitted per Section 1405(c).

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging she does not use space hearings, her bills are wrong and PECO improperly changed meter. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed
Meter tested within PUC guidelines.
Meter exchange one month before hearing was part of PECO’s deployment of smart meter; it was not related to the complaint.
Bills are correct, Complainant had potential to use the amount of electricity billed.
Meter test results are not conclusive but PECO also confirmed no foreign load or meter mix up.
Complainant did not carry burden of proof – only opinion testimony.

Eunice Burch v. PECO

PM 4/3/14
F-2012-2328890

Complainant alleges high bill, incorrect changes and seeks a PAR. PECO contends Complainant has potential for usage and arrears are all CAP-related.

ALJ Guhl found the bills correct as rendered noting the use of space heating during the winter. The request for PAR was denied since all arrears are CAP-related.

The Complainant filed Exceptions stating new arrears are based on budget billing and are not CAP related.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed
Complainant is confused as to how CAP program functions in relation to budget billing.
CAP and budget billing are 2 different systems—budget minimizing seasonal fluctuations and is adjusted quarterly; CAP provides rate discount based on household income.
No PAR permitted per Section 1405(c).

Gregory Rivers v. PGW

PM 4/3/14
C-2012-2313307

Complainant filed a Letter Petition for Reconsideration of Order dismissing Complaint alleging incorrect charges for illegal use of gas service. PGW responded that “new evidence” is not relevant nor dispositive of issue.

Petition denied.

Non-record documents do not support claim that there was no gas service for period of October 2006 through March 2008.
Even if documents were relevant they are not timely—multiple hearings have been held and a record is closed—no reason to reopen record.

McBride v. UGI

PM 3/20/14
C-2013-2391525

Complainant alleges UGI refuses to restore his gas service until an outstanding balance for another service location was satisfied. UGI filed PO asserting res judicata based on his 2013 Formal Complaint.

ALJ Salapa treated the PO as a Motion for Judgment on the pleading since res judicata must be pled in New Matter, not PO. ALJ found requirements of res judicata were met.

ID adopted.

Joint Dissent: Cawley and Brown
Complaints were not identical.
Company improperly pled Complainant’s responsibility for the previous service location in Answer and not New Matter; Complainant not properly advised of issue.
Complainant, pro se, is penalized for failing to address every allegation that a utility’s lawyer makes in its Answer.

Oyeyemi v. PGW

PM 3/20/14
C-2013-2364784

Complainant alleges incorrect charges and unreliable service as a request of his inability to lower his bill to due to conservation; he seeks a PAR. PGW denies the allegations

ALJ Heep found all bills were correct and dismissed the high bill allegation; she granted PUC PAR (BCS PAR never went into effect).

Complainant filed Exceptions restating his arguments.

Exceptions dismissed; ID adopted; Complaint granted in part.
Disputed usage in line with historic usage.
No proof that bills were incorrect.
Complainant did not carry burden of proof.
PUC PAR directed.

Bobb v. PECO

PM 3/20/14 C-2013-2354026

Complainant asserts PECO is acting unreasonably by attempting to remove Cyprus trees located in ROW on his property. PECO maintains its actions are required by tariff and its transmission maintenance guidelines, which ensure compliance with NERC standards.

ALJ Salapa dismissed the Complaint finding that to the extent the Complainant was seeking to enforce an easement, the PUC’s jurisdiction was limited to Section 1501 violations. ALJ Salapa found PECO’s guidelines were in compliance with federal regulations/standards and the PUC regulations in Chapter 57.

Complainant filed Exception expressing general disagreement with ALJ’s findings. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
No evidence PECO violated code, regulation, or PUC order.
PECO’s actions were consistent with its tariff.

Marcus Brown v. PGW

PM 3/20/14 F-2012-2326633

Complainant alleges he should not be responsible for increased usage due to a leak on his side of the meter. PGW asserts its tariff clearly states that it is not responsible for any lines or leaks beyond the meter in the service location.

ALJ Heep found PGW was not required to bear cost of gas that escaped due to leak. The Complainant’s balance was due in large part to his underpayment of the monthly bills.

Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing his position. PGW filed Reply Exceptions in support of ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
PGW tariff is clear: leak is the responsibility of the customer.
Balance is due to nonpayment of monthly bills.

Monica Morris v PGW

PM 3/6/14
C-2013-2375477

Complainant alleges she was falsely accused of theft of service and disputes the make-up bill covering a 5-year period. She requests a PAR of $100 per month.

Complainant did not appear at the hearing. ALJ Vero dismissed the Complainant for failure to appear.

The Complainant filed Exceptions stating she thought the hearing was another day. Exceptions treated as Petition for Reconsideration.

Petition for Reconsideration denied.
Notice of hearing was provided twice.
Complainant has responsibility to appear at hearing at appointed time.

John Deraffele v UGI Penn

PM 3/6/14
C-2013-2374014

Complainant alleges that UGI improperly required a liner in a chimney be repaired before service would be restored; the delay caused his boiler to fail. UGI responds that a clogged chimney resulted in a high level of carbon monoxide, which was discovered during a gas smell investigation, and service was terminated. The Company refused to restore service after the chimney was cleared until the Complainant installed a liner as required by the International Fuel Code.

ALJ Jandebeur found that the Code mandates that a masonry chimney be lined and UGI was within its rights to refuse to restore service until a liner was installed.

The Complainant filed Exceptions restating his position, arguing that he did met his burden of proof based on the discrepancies in the testimony sponsored by the Company and his objection to an admitted exhibit. UGI filed Replies to Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
UGI’s actions were consistent with Sections 1501 and 59.33(a) relating to safety.
UGI’s witnesses were credible and the Complainant did not refute that testimony.
ALJ properly admitted the exhibit based on the credible testimony of the sponsoring witness.

Betty Ricks v PECO

PM 3/6/14
C-2012-2321440

The Complainant alleged incorrect bills, faulty meter and request a PAR. PECO filed a PO asserting res judicata based on her 2008 Complaint.

ALJ Coldwell granted the PO; presiding ALJ Vero reversed and re-instated the incorrect billing and faulty meter claims. The Complainant was required to provide the timeframe for the allegations.

ALJ Vero found the Complainant’s son lacked standing to bring the Complainant in his name since he did not reside at the Service Location but could proceed under his power of attorney to act on the Complainant’s behalf. The Complainant refused to testify at the hearing. ALJ Vero granted PECO’s Motion to Dismiss for failure to prosecute.

The Complainant’s son filed Exceptions re-arguing his position on standing and asserting the ID was defective since it was not signed by the ALJ and many other bizarre statements. PECO filed Replies to Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed with prejudice.
Power of Attorney does not permit person to act as an attorney before PUC.
Complainant’s son is not authorized to file Exceptions on behalf of Complainant.
Exceptions were improperly filed.

Patrick McKay v. WPP

PM 2/20/14
C-2013-2367239

Complainant alleged WPP failed to notify him of a high meter reading and he is being billed for a smart meter that has not been installed. WPP asserts bills are correct as rendered (and offered 5 month PAR) and smart meter surcharge is authorized by PUC.

ALJ Dunderdale sustained the Complaint in part, finding (1) the Complainant was properly charged for the electricity recorded by the meter; (2)smart meter surcharge is authorized by PUC to reflects cost to develop a plan to deploy smart meters; (3) WPP violated Section 1501 by not notifying the Complainant until March 2013 of his high meter reading in December 2012 which denied him the opportunity to revise his lifestyle/usage. Penalty of $500 assessed pursuant to Section 69.1201(c).

ID adopted.

Joint Motion - Cawley & Brown
Penalty affirmed for failure of WPP to provide adequate customer service.
Encouraged WPP to re-offer the 5 month PAR previously declined by Complainant.

Patrick McKay v. WPP

PM 2/20/14
C-2013-2367239

Complainant alleged WPP failed to notify him of a high meter reading and he is being billed for a smart meter that has not been installed. WPP asserts bills are correct as rendered (and offered 5 month PAR) and smart meter surcharge is authorized by PUC.

ALJ Dunderdale sustained the Complaint in part, finding (1) the Complainant was properly charged for the electricity recorded by the meter; (2)smart meter surcharge is authorized by PUC to reflects cost to develop a plan to deploy smart meters; (3) WPP violated Section 1501 by not notifying the Complainant until March 2013 of his high meter reading in December 2012 which denied him the opportunity to revise his lifestyle/usage. Penalty of $500 assessed pursuant to Section 69.1201(c).

ID adopted.

Joint Motion - Cawley & Brown
Penalty affirmed for failure of WPP to provide adequate customer service.
Encouraged WPP to re-offer the 5 month PAR previously declined by Complainant.

Gary Lindler v. DQE

PM 2/20/14
C-2012-2337274

The Complainant alleges DQE failed to remove delinquent information from his credit report; DQE was ordered (and fine $1000 for Section 1501 violation) in previous Complaint proceeding. DQE argues it directed the collection agency to remove erroneous information and repeated attempts to verify removal would have caused further damage to Complainant’s credit rating.

ALJ Dunderdale found DQE violated Section 1501 because DQE failed to ensure that the erroneous info was removed from the Complainant’s credit profile; a fine of $10,000 was assessed due to the serious nature of the offense; DQE failed to present evidence in support of its attempts to verify the correction was timely made.

DQE filed Exceptions challenging the penalty. Complainant filed Replies to Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions granted in part; ID modified, Complaint sustained.

  • DQE violated Section 1501 by not taking proper action to correct credit report; $10,000 penalty appropriate pursuant to 10 factors in Section 69.1201(c).
  • Exceptions granted to correct certain FOF: DQE did not mislead PUC of its use of 3rd party vendor to report info to credit bureaus.
  • Collateral estoppel prevents questions of law/fact previously adjudicated (and not excepted to) in prior complaint proceeding from being re-litigated in a subsequent proceeding.
Michael Prendergast v. PGW

PM 2/20/14
F-2012-2317187

The Complainant challenged the makeup bill arguing his reduced usage occurred because of recently installed energy efficient appliances. PGW alleges that following a zero reading, it discovered that the ERT failed to record usage due to high magnetic counts.

At the hearing, ALJ Vero ordered PGW to test the meter and submit the test results as a late-filed exhibit. The Complainant objected stating that he was not afforded an opportunity to verify the test results; he was not notified when the test occurred. ALJ sustained the Complaint in part finding PGW properly issued makeup bill and offered 48 month PAR per Section 56.14. Meter tested within PUC guidelines of ± 2% accuracy variance per Section 59.22. The ALJ, relying on Section 56.22(c) and PGW’s tariff, ruled that PGW improperly assessed LPC since the makeup bill was a disputed estimated bill.

Complainant filed Exceptions challenging amount of the makeup bill, admission of PGW’s late-filed exhibit and admissibility of usage records more than four old. PGW filed Replies to Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID modified; Complaint sustained in part.

Joint Motion - Cawley & Brown

  • PGW permitted to rebill for unbilled usage due to ERT failure. §56.12(5)(ii).
  • Conservation credit for 20% is appropriate in limited circumstances: ERT failure was not fault of Complainant and time period (more than 4 years) error occurred.
  • Late-filed exhibit with accurate BTU readings, based on plate readings from each gas appliance, was properly admitted; Complainant declined to be present for testing.
  • Admission of usage records permitted to show trends before and after magnetic interference with meter.
ECW Holdings v. PGW

PM 2/6/14
C-2013-2379030

Complainant alleges that PGW improperly filed a lien for unpaid utility bills in the tenant’s name. PGW filed PO arguing that the PUC lacked subject matter jurisdiction.

ALJ Salapa granted the PO because the Commission lacks jurisdiction to address the validity and enforcement of liens pursuant to the Municipal Claim and Tax Lien Law.

ID adopted.

Concurring Statement – Cawley & Brown
LCP is a contract for private services that supplements the public utility services provided by PGW.
LCP falls within ambit of Section 1501 but the Complaint did not allege any problem such as customer service for which the Commission has jurisdiction.

Helen Lewes-Logeman v. PECO

PM 2/6/14
C-2013-2356586

Complainant alleged incorrect billing due to an inaccurate meter and unspecified danger from electric lines. PECO denied all allegations.

ALJ Buckley dismissed Complaint with prejudice as a result of the Complainant’s failed to appear at hearing.

ID adopted.

Frank Veasey v. PGW

PM 2/6/14
C-2013-2356586

Complainant alleges that his service was terminated without notice despite being current on his bill and PGW refused to restore service despite being presented with a medical certificate. PGW admitted that it properly terminated service for non payment and that it was unable to restore service due to safety repairs required at the service address.

ALJ Vero determined that service was properly terminated for non-payment of current charges, not budget amount as alleged and that PGW attempted to restore service but was unable to do so because of the hazardous conditions at the service location; the landlord is needed to provide access to and consent for PGW to be at property and to confirm repairs.

Complainant filed Exceptions re-arguing his case. PGW filed Replies to Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions Denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Service was terminated for unpaid actual charges not for a budget amount.
PGW may decline to serve a customer when a hazardous condition exists under §59.26; repairs must be made and verified before PGW will restore service.
PGW may impose security deposit under §56.32 and a reconnection fee pursuant to §56.41.
Complainant had actual notice of PO so irrelevant that he never received copy in mail.
Proper to update record with current gas usage/charges; Complainant did not object at the hearing; objection is therefore waived.

Gary Eckenrode v. PECO

PM 2/6/14
C-2012-2337839

Complainant alleges PECO took too long to restore service after Hurricane Sandy. PECO asserted that there were over 850,000 outages.

ALJ Guhl found that PECO’s standard protocol was reasonable to restore Complainant‘s service considering the major storm and number of outages.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that PECO’s Tree and Vegetation Maintenance Policy contributed to the number of persons that were affected by the power outage PECO filed Replies to Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Vegetation management policy played no role in loss of service during Hurricane Sandy.
PECO restored service to Complainant within 7 days (transformer only served 7 customers so low priority).
Account Statement is standard exhibit in complaint proceedings and info is publically available.

Kisha Dorsey v. PGW

PM 2/6/14
F-2012-2313679

Complainant filed a Petition for Reconsideration of the Order which denied her PAR request for non-CAP arrears consistent with Hewitt v. PECO.

Motion Brown

Order modified; Complainant’s argument that her health improved allowing her to keep a PAR is “new and novel” as it was not previously considered consistent with Section 703(f) and Section 703(g).
However, neither the Code nor regulations permit consideration of a customer’s health when establishing an initial PAR.

Anne Te v. PGW

PM 2/6/14
F-2012-2300790

Complainant’s timely appeals the BCS decision which upheld PGW’s make-up bill for four years of prior usage; disputes the application of a credit on the account and the assessment of LPCs while the dispute was pending. PGW admitted that the AMR device did not properly transmit the gas usage recorded by the meter and a timely make-up bill was issued and the credit ordered by BCS was properly credited.

ALJ Fordham found that PGW’s make-up bill was based from an accurately functioning meter and issued consistent with PUC regulations.

Complainant filed Exceptions challenging the accuracy of the make-up bill. PGW filed Replies to Exceptions arguing that the record evidence reflects the difference between the functionality of the AMR and the actual meter readings; any magnetic interference that affected the AMR, had no effect on the meter.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Record evidence shows that Complainant consumed more gas than what she was billed as a result of the AMR not transmitting the meter readings from 2006 to 2011. Complainant is obligated to pay PGW for gas actually used. Make-up bill was limited to 4 years
Meter removed and tested by PGW was within 2% tolerance level required by §59.22(a) and §59.22(b); PGW properly issued make-up bill per 56.12(5) (ii).
PGW is not required to obtain an actual reading per Section 1411.
BCS PAR directing 4-year PAR consistent with §56.14(2).

Kimberly Szczepanski-Galindez v. PGW

PM 2/6/14
F-2011-2279555

The Complainant objects to make-up bill for unbilled services as a result of a faulty AMR device. PGW asserts the make-up bill was consistent with 56.14.

ALJ Vero sustained the Complaint in part. Complainant showed the AMR and actual meter were malfunctioning, but failed to show that PGW acted improperly in issuing make-up bill. The meter test reflected that the meter exceeded ± 2% regulation; PGW must issue a new makeup bill reflecting the credit ($57.09).

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing she should not be responsible for unbilled charges from a meter found to have malfunctioned. PGW filed Replies to Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed in part.
Record evidence shows that Complainant consumed more gas than was originally billed.
Meter accuracy exceeded the 2% tolerance level prescribed in §59.22; billing credit of $57.09 is warranted for fast meter.
Amortization period of 36 months was longer than required by §56.14(2).

Robyn Irving v. PGW

PM 2/6/14
C-2011-2279259

The Complainant alleges that she was incorrectly billed for gas service; she objects to a make-up bill for 48 months of unbilled service. PGW alleges that the AMR was incorrectly programmed and only transmitted half of the gas passing through the meter.

ALJ Nguyen dismissed the Complaint and found that PGW’s explanation for the meter’s AMR malfunction reasonable; the Complainant is responsible for the gas service.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that she does not bear the burden of PGW’s programming error and wants a longer PAR for the makeup bill. PGW filed Replies to Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Programming error does not absolve customer from duty to pay for services rendered; §56.12(5)(ii) permits utility to render makeup bill when an actual meter reading establishes that the customer was underbilled due to an error in the remote reading device.
48-month repayment period offered by PGW was consistent with 56.14(2).
No LPCs permitted so long as PAR in effect.

Joseph Lucey v. Columbia Gas

PM 2/6/14
A-2011-2276780
C-2011-2248370

The Complainant alleges that gas services were disconnected without prior notice; he requests the Commission to impose a civil penalty and also for Columbia to make necessary repairs and resume service. Columbia alleged that service was disconnected because of the existence of a natural gas leak in the servicing line.

ALJ Dunderdale ruled that the termination resulted from the actions of 3rd party (a transmission company) who was neither party to the proceedings nor subject to PUC’s jurisdiction. Complainant did not prove that Columbia failed to provide adequate customer service by failing to give advance notice of the termination; no evidence that Columbia knew or should have known when the 3rd party would effectuate termination.

Columbia filed Exceptions limited to clarify and to correct certain findings in the ID.

Exceptions granted; ID modified; Complaint dismissed.
3rd party transmission company was responding to emergency situation when it terminated Complainant’s gas service.
Columbia was unaware of the discussions between the Complainant and the 3rd party.
Columbia provided sufficient record support for its recommended conversion cost payment of $3,437.10 which was 3 times the total of the last 12-months of actual bills and 1.5 times the average of the last two 12-month periods.

Gary Lindler v. DQE

PM 2/20/14
C-2012-2337274

The Complainant alleges DQE failed to remove delinquent information from his credit report; DQE was ordered (and fine $1000 for Section 1501 violation) in previous Complaint proceeding. DQE argues it directed the collection agency to remove erroneous information and repeated attempts to verify removal would have caused further damage to Complainant’s credit rating.

ALJ Dunderdale found DQE violated Section 1501 because DQE failed to ensure that the erroneous info was removed from the Complainant’s credit profile; a fine of $10,000 was assessed due to the serious nature of the offense; DQE failed to present evidence in support of its attempts to verify the correction was timely made.

DQE filed Exceptions challenging the penalty. Complainant filed Replies to Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions granted in part; ID modified, Complaint sustained.

  • DQE violated Section 1501 by not taking proper action to correct credit report; $10,000 penalty appropriate pursuant to 10 factors in Section 69.1201(c).
  • Exceptions granted to correct certain FOF: DQE did not mislead PUC of its use of 3rd party vendor to report info to credit bureaus.
  • Collateral estoppel prevents questions of law/fact previously adjudicated (and not excepted to) in prior complaint proceeding from being re-litigated in a subsequent proceeding.
Michael Prendergast v. PGW

PM 2/20/14
F-2012-2317187

The Complainant challenged the makeup bill arguing his reduced usage occurred because of recently installed energy efficient appliances. PGW alleges that following a zero reading, it discovered that the ERT failed to record usage due to high magnetic counts.

At the hearing, ALJ Vero ordered PGW to test the meter and submit the test results as a late-filed exhibit. The Complainant objected stating that he was not afforded an opportunity to verify the test results; he was not notified when the test occurred. ALJ sustained the Complaint in part finding PGW properly issued makeup bill and offered 48 month PAR per Section 56.14. Meter tested within PUC guidelines of ± 2% accuracy variance per Section 59.22. The ALJ, relying on Section 56.22(c) and PGW’s tariff, ruled that PGW improperly assessed LPC since the makeup bill was a disputed estimated bill.

Complainant filed Exceptions challenging amount of the makeup bill, admission of PGW’s late-filed exhibit and admissibility of usage records more than fours old. PGW filed Replies to Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID modified; Complaint sustained in part.

Joint Motion - Cawley & Brown

  • PGW permitted to rebill for unbilled usage due to ERT failure. §56.12(5)(ii).
  • Conservation credit for 20% is appropriate in limited circumstances: ERT failure was not fault of Complainant and time period (more than 4 years) error occurred.
  • Late-filed exhibit with accurate BTU readings, based on plate readings from each gas appliance, was properly admitted; Complainant declined to be present for testing.
  • Admission of usage records permitted to show trends before and after magnetic interference with meter.
ECW Holdings v. PGW

M 2/6/14
C-2013-2379030

Complainant alleges that PGW improperly filed a lien for unpaid utility bills in the tenant’s name. PGW filed PO arguing that the PUC lacked subject matter jurisdiction.

ALJ Salapa granted the PO because the Commission lacks jurisdiction to address the validity and enforcement of liens pursuant to the Municipal Claim and Tax Lien Law.

ID adopted.

Concurring Statement – Cawley & Brown
LCP is a contract for private services that supplements the public utility services provided by PGW.
LCP falls within ambit of Section 1501 but the Complaint did not allege any problem such as customer service for which the Commission has jurisdiction.

Helen Lewes-Logeman v. PECO

PM 2/6/14
C-2013-2356586

Complainant alleged incorrect billing due to an inaccurate meter and unspecified danger from electric lines. PECO denied all allegations.

ALJ Buckley dismissed Complaint with prejudice as a result of the Complainant’s failed to appear at hearing.

ID adopted.

Frank Veasey v. PGW

PM 2/6/14
C-2013-2356586

Complainant alleges that his service was terminated without notice despite being current on his bill and PGW refused to restore service despite being presented with a medical certificate. PGW admitted that it properly terminated service for non payment and that it was unable to restore service due to safety repairs required at the service address.

ALJ Vero determined that service was properly terminated for non-payment of current charges, not budget amount as alleged and that PGW attempted to restore service but was unable to do so because of the hazardous conditions at the service location; the landlord is needed to provide access to and consent for PGW to be at property and to confirm repairs.

Complainant filed Exceptions re-arguing his case. PGW filed Replies to Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions Denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Service was terminated for unpaid actual charges not for a budget amount.
PGW may decline to serve a customer when a hazardous condition exists under §59.26; repairs must be made and verified before PGW will restore service.
PGW may impose security deposit under §56.32 and a reconnection fee pursuant to §56.41.
Complainant had actual notice of PO so irrelevant that he never received copy in mail.
Proper to update record with current gas usage/charges; Complainant did not object at the hearing; objection is therefore waived.

Gary Eckenrode v. PECO

PM 2/6/14
C-2012-2337839

Complainant alleges PECO took too long to restore service after Hurricane Sandy. PECO asserted that there were over 850,000 outages.
ALJ Guhl found that PECO’s standard protocol was reasonable to restore Complainant‘s service considering the major storm and number of outages.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that PECO’s Tree and Vegetation Maintenance Policy contributed to the number of persons that were affected by the power outage PECO filed Replies to Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Vegetation management policy played no role in loss of service during Hurricane Sandy.
PECO restored service to Complainant within 7 days (transformer only served 7 customers so low priority).
Account Statement is standard exhibit in complaint proceedings and info is publically available.

Kisha Dorsey v. PGW

PM 2/6/14
F-2012-2313679

Complainant filed a Petition for Reconsideration of the Order which denied her PAR request for non-CAP arrears consistent with Hewitt v. PECO.

Motion Brown

Order modified; Complainant’s argument that her health improved allowing her to keep a PAR is “new and novel” as it was not previously considered consistent with Section 703(f) and Section 703(g). However, neither the Code nor regulations permit consideration of a customer’s health when establishing an initial PAR.

Anne Te v. PGW

PM 2/6/14
F-2012-2300790

Complainant’s timely appeals the BCS decision which upheld PGW’s make-up bill for four years of prior usage; disputes the application of a credit on the account and the assessment of LPCs while the dispute was pending. PGW admitted that the AMR device did not properly transmit the gas usage recorded by the meter and a timely make-up bill was issued and the credit ordered by BCS was properly credited.

ALJ Fordham found that PGW’s make-up bill was based from an accurately functioning meter and issued consistent with PUC regulations.

Complainant filed Exceptions challenging the accuracy of the make-up bill. PGW filed Replies to Exceptions arguing that the record evidence reflects the difference between the functionality of the AMR and the actual meter readings; any magnetic interference that affected the AMR, had no effect on the meter.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Record evidence shows that Complainant consumed more gas than what she was billed as a result of the AMR not transmitting the meter readings from 2006 to 2011. Complainant is obligated to pay PGW for gas actually used.
Make-up bill was limited to 4 years
Meter removed and tested by PGW was within 2% tolerance level required by §59.22(a) and §59.22(b); PGW properly issued make-up bill per 56.12(5) (ii).
PGW is not required to obtain an actual reading per Section 1411.
BCS PAR directing 4-year PAR consistent with §56.14(2).

Kimberly Szczepanski-Galindez v. PGW

PM 2/6/14
F-2011-2279555

The Complainant objects to make-up bill for unbilled services as a result of a faulty AMR device. PGW asserts the make-up bill was consistent with 56.14.

ALJ Vero sustained the Complaint in part. Complainant showed the AMR and actual meter were malfunctioning, but failed to show that PGW acted improperly in issuing make-up bill. The meter test reflected that the meter exceeded ± 2% regulation; PGW must issue a new makeup bill reflecting the credit ($57.09).

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing she should not be responsible for unbilled charges from a meter found to have malfunctioned. PGW filed Replies to Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed in part.
Record evidence shows that Complainant consumed more gas than was originally billed.
Meter accuracy exceeded the 2% tolerance level prescribed in §59.22; billing credit of $57.09 is warranted for fast meter.
Amortization period of 36 months was longer than required by §56.14(2).

Robyn Irving v. PGW

PM 2/6/14
C-2011-2279259

The Complainant alleges that she was incorrectly billed for gas service; she objects to a make-up bill for 48 months of unbilled service. PGW alleges that the AMR was incorrectly programmed and only transmitted half of the gas passing through the meter.

ALJ Nguyen dismissed the Complaint and found that PGW’s explanation for the meter’s AMR malfunction reasonable; the Complainant is responsible for the gas service.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that she does not bear the burden of PGW’s programming error and wants a longer PAR for the makeup bill. PGW filed Replies to Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Programming error does not absolve customer from duty to pay for services rendered; §56.12(5)(ii) permits utility to render makeup bill when an actual meter reading establishes that the customer was underbilled due to an error in the remote reading device.
48-month repayment period offered by PGW was consistent with 56.14(2).
No LPCs permitted so long as PAR in effect.

Joseph Lucey v. Columbia Gas

PM 2/6/14
A-2011-2276780
C-2011-2248370

The Complainant alleges that gas services were disconnected without prior notice; he requests the Commission to impose a civil penalty and also for Columbia to make necessary repairs and resume service. Columbia alleged that service was disconnected because of the existence of a natural gas leak in the servicing line.

ALJ Dunderdale ruled that the termination resulted from the actions of 3rd party (a transmission company) who was neither party to the proceedings nor subject to PUC’s jurisdiction. Complainant did not prove that Columbia failed to provide adequate customer service by failing to give advance notice of the termination; no evidence that Columbia knew or should have known when the 3rd party would effectuate termination.

Columbia filed Exceptions limited to clarify and to correct certain findings in the ID.

Exceptions granted; ID modified; Complaint dismissed.
3rd party transmission company was responding to emergency situation when it terminated Complainant’s gas service.
Columbia was unaware of the discussions between the Complainant and the 3rd party.
Columbia provided sufficient record support for its recommended conversion cost payment of $3,437.10 which was 3 times the total of the last 12-months of actual bills and 1.5 times the average of the last two 12-month periods.

Emory Blackshir v PECO

PM 1/23/14
C-2012-2335357

The Complainant seeks rescission of the Order denying her Exceptions and dismissing her Complaint for failure to establish a prima facie case of excessive billing or entitlement to another PAR.

Petition denied
Petition simply repeats his request for a PAR which was denied per Sections 1403 and 1405(d); no 2nd PUC PAR can be ordered.

Emory Blackshir v PECO

PM 1/23/14
C-2012-2335357

The Complainant seeks rescission of the Order denying her Exceptions and dismissing her Complaint for failure to establish a prima facie case of excessive billing or entitlement to another PAR.

Petition denied

Petition simply repeats his request for a PAR which was denied per Sections 1403 and 1405(d); no 2nd PUC PAR can be ordered.

Stephen J. Noll v Columbia

PM 1/23/14
C-2013-2353658

The Complainant objects to the fact the PAR’s terms of budget (in February 2012 budget was $113) + $21 were later revised--the budget increased to $166 without sending a letter telling him his monthly payments were going to be higher. He objects to the periodic adjustment of the budget amount.

ALJ Hoyer dismissed the complaint for failure to carry his burden of proof.

The Complainant filed Exceptions raising matters discussed during the settlement process, the Company’s records were not certified and the timeliness of receiving the Company’s’ proposed exhibits for the hearing. Columbia filed Reply Exceptions noting the privileged nature of the settlement discussions but waived that privilege to provide an explanation of the outstanding balance, the fact that business records do not need to be certified and the presumption that documents placed in the mail are presumed delivered.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted.
Record evidence supports Columbia’s calculation of the outstanding balance.
Proposed exhibits do not need to be “certified” and were properly authenticated by the Company’s witness.
The Complainant did not bring Columbia’s proposed exhibits to the telephonic hearing and it was his fault that he was unable to discuss them at the hearing or to cross the sponsoring witness about the exhibit. He did not object to the admission of Columbia’s exhibits into the record.

Stephen J. Noll v Columbia

PM 1/23/14
C-2013-2353658

The Complainant objects to the fact the PAR’s terms of budget (in February 2012 budget was $113) + $21 were later revised--the budget increased to $166 without sending a letter telling him his monthly payments were going to be higher. He objects to the periodic adjustment of the budget amount.

ALJ Hoyer dismissed the complaint for failure to carry his burden of proof.

The Complainant filed Exceptions raising matters discussed during the settlement process, the Company’s records were not certified and the timeliness of receiving the Company’s’ proposed exhibits for the hearing. Columbia filed Reply Exceptions noting the privileged nature of the settlement discussions but waived that privilege to provide an explanation of the outstanding balance, the fact that business records do not need to be certified and the presumption that documents placed in the mail are presumed delivered.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted.
Record evidence supports Columbia’s calculation of the outstanding balance.
Proposed exhibits do not need to be “certified” and were properly authenticated by the Company’s witness.
The Complainant did not bring Columbia’s proposed exhibits to the telephonic hearing and it was his fault that he was unable to discuss them at the hearing or to cross the sponsoring witness about the exhibit. He did not object to the admission of Columbia’s exhibits into the record.

Kenneth Treiber v Penelec

PM 1/9/14
F-2013-2355458

The Complainant alleges his tenants are responsible for the electric service per their lease and he objects to being held responsible for those bills. Penelec states that the electric accounts were in Complainant's name at the relevant times making him responsible for the services rendered.

ALJ Long sustained the Complaint in part, findings that with the exception of a two-week period for one of the accounts, the Complainant was not responsible for the past due balances for the three accounts. ALJ Long stated that Penelec was in a superior position retaining records of its contacts with customers. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to require specific evidence from Penelec to establish that the account is properly placed in the landlord's name.

Penelec filed Exceptions challenging the findings that the Complainant had met his burden of proof. Penelec alleged that the ALJ relied upon contradictory and unreliable testimony of the Complainant in support of her finding.

Exceptions granted; ID modified.

  • Penelec cannot transfer service into a tenant's name at the request of the landlord without the tenant personally requesting service. Landlord can only request service be taken out of landlord’s home.
  • Service was in Complainant's name with his knowledge; bills were sent to his home address.
  • Commission does not have jurisdiction to settle a private financial dispute between a landlord and tenant.
  • Penelec directed to review 3 accounts and determine what Complainant was billed and to rebill that amount (with any adjustments).
Frank Melfi v PGW

PM 1/9/14
C-2013-2385249

Complainant alleges PGW improperly applied lien against his rental property and requests lien be removed and that he be re-instated in Landlord Cooperation Program (LCP). PGW denies that Complainant was enrolled in LCP and asserts that the PUC does not have subject matter jurisdiction over municipal liens.

ALJ Jandebuer dismissed the Complaint for lack of jurisdiction.

ID adopted.

Joint Statement Cawley and Brown

  • Concurred with ALJ’s determination that Commission lacks subject matter jurisdiction over municipal liens; however, LCP falls within Section 1501 which requires reasonable service.
Joan Smith v PECO

PM 1/9/14
C-2012-2331672

Complainant, a Level 2 customer, alleges a decrease in income which prevented compliance with the terms of the 2008 BCS PAR and requests a more favorable PAR. PECO denies Complainant is unable to pay her bill and that she is not entitled to a subsequent PUC PAR because she has defaulted on the 2008 BCS PAR.

ALJ Guhl dismissed the Complaint and found that Complainant had not experienced a SCIC and a 2nd PUC PAR is prohibited by 1405(d).

Complainant filed Exceptions and submitted evidence that that her income had decreased since the 2008 BCS PAR. PECO filed Reply Exceptions supporting the ID and that even if the Complainant's income had decreased, she did not show a decrease of 20% or more as required by Sections 1403 and 1405(d).

Exceptions granted; ID vacated; remand to OALJ for further hearing.

  • ID issued May 2013; Complainant not timely served; she was still waiting for ID at time she filed Exceptions in September 2013.
  • Had Complainant received ID timely, Complainant would have had the opportunity to file new Complaint reflecting more accurate change in income.
  • Administratively inefficient to require filing new formal; remand to determine if 2nd PUC PAR is warranted under Section 1405(d).
Larry Moyer v PPL

PM 1/9/14
C-2011-2273645

The Complainant alleges that the bills, credits and payments for the virtual metering of his solar panels at his residence are inaccurate; he has not received an accounting or explanation of the payments. PPL denies that it failed to compensate the Complainant properly for the excess generation produced by the solar panels and explained that it will apply its virtual meter aggregation program to qualifying host and satellite accounts in accordance with its tariff.

ALJ Fordham dismissed the Complaint finding that the Complainant only had a light on the host account and therefore, did not qualify for virtual metering since there was no non-generational load.

The Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that the ALJ had a fundamental misunderstanding of the evidence, as well as an erroneous interpretation and application of PPL’s tariff and a disregard for previous Commission rulings. PPL filed Reply Exceptions arguing that the Commission must rely on its regulations not statements made during the rulemaking; the Complainant’s request was inconsistent with the well established principals of statutory construction and ignored the record evidence; the credits were consistent with its tariff and that the request to revise the bill format for virtual metering customers was not warranted.

ID vacated; remand to OALJ for further development of the record.

  • PPL directed to provide information pertaining to billing credits and payments for Complainant's accounts; if not settled, remand for hearing.
  • Request for oral argument denied; record reopened.
  • PPL waived objection to net meter and virtually aggregated the Complainant’s existing metering accounts.
Stephen Merrigan v. PECO

PM 12/19/13
F-2013-2373941

The Complainant’s service is subject to termination and he requests an “affordable” PAR. PECO asserts the Complainant does not pay his bills on time and in full; he defaulted on a PUC PAR.

ALJ Pell dismissed the Complaint for lack of prosecution since the Complainant did not appear at the hearing. The ALJ noted that the Complainant attempted to withdraw his Complaint without prejudice, which was opposed by PECO. The ALJ found that the request to withdraw or to re-schedule the hearing was not timely submitted and no good cause for the request was provided.

Motion Brown

  • Given Complainant’s pro se status and apparent good faith attempts to continue the hearing, Complaint is dismissed without prejudice.
Jennie Carter Harris v. PGW

PM 12/19/13
F-2013-2367030

Complainant objects to a lien imposed on her property—she believed she was enrolled in PGWs Landlord Cooperation Program only to find out later that while she was enrolled, her property was not registered. She request the Commission order PGW to remove the lien and transfer responsibility of the payment to the tenant. PGW filed PO raising PUC’s lack of subject matter jurisdiction over a Municipal Lien.

ALJ Cheskis ruled that while the Commission lacks subject matter jurisdiction involving a dispute over a Municipal Lien, it retains jurisdiction if there are underlying Section 1501 allegations/issues.. The ALJ also ruled that the Complainant’s difficulty in enrolling in the PGW’s Program and the failure to register her property was beyond the PUC’s jurisdiction; this is a private contract dispute between the Complainant and PGW.

ID adopted.

Joint Dissent Statement Cawley and Brown

  • PUC has jurisdiction over customer service under Section 1501 and if the PUC does not entertain this issue, who does?
  • PGW should have answered the Complainant’s request for assistance with the Program’s website.
Vincent Wagner v. UGI

PM 12/19/13
F-2013-2356645

The Complainant seeks a lower PAR for his commercial account. The Company asserts PUC PAR is not permitted for commercial account under Chapter 14.

ALJ Jandebeur ruled that the account was properly classified commercial; there are no regulations which entitle a commercial account to a PAR. The ALJ noted that the Complainant has had the benefit of and defaulted on 2 Company PARs and 1 BCS PAR. The Company expressed its willingness to permit the Complainant to re-instate the BCS PAR with a catch up payment.

ID adopted.

Fred Wilson v. Columbia

PM 12/19/13
C-2013-2367375

The Complainant alleges that Columbia has illegally placed a gas line in an exclusive ROW held by the water company. Columbia filed a PO raising the PUC’s lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

ALJ Jandebuer granted the PO finding the Commission lacks subject matter jurisdiction to resolve disputes involving a ROW.

The Complainant filed Exceptions restating his position that the ROW only permits water facilities, not gas lines on his property and raising safety concerns. Columbia filed Reply Exceptions asserting that the ROW for the water facilities does not contain any exclusive language and that interpretations of a ROW are not appropriate before the PUC. Columbia objected to the Complainant’s newly raised safety issues The Company affirmed its compliance with all applicable gas pipeline safety regulations.

ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • PUC lacks subject matter jurisdiction to entertain or resolve ROW issues.
  • Issues cannot be raised for the first time in Exceptions.
Lisa Martin v. PECO

PM 12/19/13
F-2013-2360697

The Complainant alleges incorrect billing and request she not be held responsible for charges to a rear apartment unit at a previous service address. PECO asserts that the Complainant never requested discontinuance of service and as a result remained responsible for the balance.

ALJ Barnes dismissed the Complaint and found that the Complainant was not eligible for a PAR. The ALJ also permitted PECO to late file 2 exhibits.

The Complainant late-filed Exceptions which were treated as a Petition for Reconsideration. The Complainant asserts that it was unfair that they did not receive discovery prior to the hearing and that a continuance should have been granted to permit proper preparation. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID that the Complaint is responsible for the $9,592.07 balance incurred at the prior service location. PECO contends that the Complainant had ample opportunity between the filing of the Complaint and the hearing in which to issue a request for discovery. The Company also supported the ALJ’s ruling permitting PECO to late-file two exhibits; the Complainant did not timely object but waited until the Exception stage to object.

Petition denied; ID adopted.

  • Complainant raised issues regarding procedural matters and arguments not explicitly addressed by the ALJ.
  • Complainant was given time to review and object to the late-filed exhibit but did not file any objection.
  • Complainant’s name was on mortgage for property; her social security number was used to establish electric account and for the financial information used to enroll the account in CAP.
Barbara Pezzuto v. Met-Ed

PM 12/19/13
F-2012-2309903

The Complainant alleges incorrect charges and she received a termination notice. She argues her bills became excessive once she was placed on budget billing. The Company denied the allegation and sought to dismiss the Complaint, based on res judicata; her 2010 Complaint raised the same allegations.

ALJ Cheskis dismissed the high bill claim but ruled that the Complainant was entitled to a PUC PAR. He found tat the PAR settled the 2010 Complaint was not a PUC PAR, but rather a Company PAR.

The Complainant filed Exceptions raising new issues. The Company filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID and requested the newly raised issues be stricken.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted.

  • No evidence to sustain high bill allegation.
  • The account balance grew as a result of not paying monthly bills in full.
  • A PAR established to settle a complaint is not a PUC PAR.
  • PUC directed PAR.
  • New arguments may not be raised at the Exception stage.
Fred Lavner vs. PECO

PM 12/5/13
C-2013-2357426

The Complainant alleges incorrect charges on his bill, poor customer service and requests a PAR.

ALJ Cheskis dismissed the Complaint that PECO had improperly billed him or provided poor service, but did grant the request for a PAR.

Motion Witmer

  • The Complainant has defaulted on prior PUC PARs (April 2010 and May 2012) as well as 2 Company PARs. The Complainant testified that his income had dropped.
  • The loss of income occurred prior to the last PUC PAR in May 2012.
  • Absent a change in income the PUC may not issue another PAR; there has been no change of income since the May 2012 PUC PAR.
Sottile v PGW

PM 12/5/13
C-2013-2352676

The Complainant alleges that PGW provided inadequate service by failing to keep 3 separate appointments to turn on his service; failed to bill him for 3 years; and the make-up bill contained incorrect charges. PGW asserts that the missed appointments were due to the confusing service address; his address was on one street and the entrance to the home was on another; and a bill was not sent for 3 years due to lack of access to the home.

ALJ Heep dismissed the claim regarding incorrect charges on the account, but found that PGW provided unreasonable service and recommended a fine of $200.

Motion Brown

  • A civil penalty of $200 is not commensurate with the violation of poor customer service.
  • PGW should be assessed a $1,000.00 civil fine for failing to issue monthly bills.
Thanh Nguyen v PGW

PM 12/5/13
F-2012-2329983

The Complainant alleges there are incorrect charges and he should not be responsible for a make-up bill which was issued after PGW replaced his meter. PGW responds that the meter was recording correctly, but that the AMR was not transmitting the readings. PGW also indicates that there was a theft of service at the property.

ALJ Vero dismissed the Complaint but found that PGW was in violation of Section 1501; there were 23 zero readings in 54 months and PGW never went to the property to investigate. The ALJ found that the removed meter was working within the PUC guidelines and that PGW properly issued the make-up bill for previously unbilled service due to theft of service. The ALJ did note that PGW did provide for a longer payback period than that required under Section 56.14; and assessed a fine against PGW in the amount of $1,750.00.

ID adopted.

Femea v UGI Penn

PM 12/5/13
F-2012-2334504

The Complainant seeks to have his service restored alleging that he did not default on a PAR. The balance on the account is approximately $5,000.00; the account was terminated for non-payment. The Complainant has defaulted on 4 PARs.

ALJ Jandebeur found that the Complainant’s bill did properly advise as to when the PAR began. While Chapter 14 does authorize a second PAR when there has been a change (decrease) in income, the Complainant’s income has increased not decreased. The Company may require full payment, plus a restoration fee, prior to service being restored consistent with Chapter 1407.

The Complainant filed Exceptions restating his position, that he knows he needs to pay the bill, but needs help getting service restored. The Company filed a Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted;

  • There was no decrease in household income.
  • The May 2012 Commission Order provided notice of the amount due and the date due for the PAR.
Jeremy Kashuba v PECO

PM 12/5/13
C-2012-2333019

The Complainant alleges that the power line to his property is hanging dangerously low and wants PECO to repair it. PECO maintains that the Complainant is responsible for repairing the pole in questions, because it is located on private property and it is not owned by PECO. As part of its investigation PECO discovered that another customer owned the pole located near the house is also in need of maintenance work.

ALJ Heep dismissed the Complaint finding that there was no immediate danger established with respect to the sagging wires or that any actions on behalf of PECO cause the wires to sag; she also dismissed without prejudice the claim regarding the second pole since the allegation was speculative and finding no safety concerns. The ALJ did direct that a copy of the ID be provided to TUS for its consideration and review.

The Complainant filed Exceptions disputing the findings of the ALJ and arguing that the ALJ had misunderstood his position. Specifically, the Complainant contends that since both poles at issue provide service to both he and his neighbor, PECO is forcing the Complainant to provide power to another property by requiring him to repair or replace either poles. Furthermore, the Complainant asserts that PECO witness lied under oath, when he stated the pole was 400-500 ft. from the road, since the witness admitted he had never taken any actual measurements. In its Replies to Exceptions PECO supports the findings of the ID.

Exceptions denied in part and granted in part; ID modified; Complaint dismissed.

  • Per PECO’s tariff, it is responsible for the first span of wire up to that first private property pole; the leaning pole and siding wires are located beyond that first span of wire and first customer support. The leaning pole is not PECO’s responsibility.
  • The Complainant’s concern regarding the second pole was not speculative. However, PECO is not responsible for the repair replacement of either pole at issue, despite the fact that both poles support a power line thatserves the Complainant’s neighbor as well as the Complainant.
  • The poles at issue are located entirely on private property; PECO is not responsible per its tariff.
  • Due to the potential safety hazards represented by the substandard condition of the pole located on the Complainant’s property, the matter was referred to the BIE for further action.
Harold Brake v West Penn

PM 11/14/13
C-2013-2367308

Complainant alleges he is being charged for smart meter prior to its installation and he wants charges waived until meter is installed. Company filed PO since charges are in approved tariff.

ALJ Melillo granted the PO finding that there was no claim stated upon which relief can be granted.

Complainant filed Exceptions stating the ID is invalid since it is not signed; he was not permitted to make oral argument nor advised of PUC process; just because the Company followed the law, that does not make the law prudent, just or fair; and the Company is not permitted from charging for a service it does not permit (smart meter not installed). West Penn filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

Exceptions merely object in very general terms to ID because he disagrees with it.

West Penn has not violated any provision of Code, Regs or Orders of PUC.

Hearing is not necessary since PUC cannot grant requested relief.

Frank Rezzetano v DQE

PM 11/14/13
C-2012-2337862

Complainant did not appear at hearing and ALJ Watson issued ID dismissing matter with prejudice. No Exceptions were filed. Final Order entered. Complainant filed Petition for Reconsideration.

Petition denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

No reason to disturb Final Order; no new evidence.

Ron Carson v PECO

PM 11/14/13
C-2012-2337615

Petition for Reconsideration of Opinion and Order which denied request for PAR since he defaulted on prior-PUC PAR. Complainant alleges he was confused about the hearing and his desire to obtain counsel.

Motion Coleman

Complainant was adequately informed about the nature of the hearing and rules regarding obtaining counsel and had ample time to either hire counsel or seek continuance.

Emory Blackshir v PECO

PM 11/14/13
C-2012-2335357

Complainant alleges incorrect charges and seeks a PAR. PECO contends balance is over $19,000 and the Complainant is abuse PUC process to avoid paying bill and delay lawful termination.

ALJ Melillio found the Complainant failed to establish a prima facie case of excessive billing or entitlement to another PUC PAR.

The Complainant filed Exceptions restating his position. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Complainant not entitled to another PUC PAR; income has not changed.
Complainant failed to make prima facie case of excessive billing.

Hartnett v PPL

PM 11/14/13
F-2012-2329578

Complainant is unable to pay bills and seeks a PAR. Company previously settled 2009 complaint by enrolling Complainant into its CAP program.

ALJ Salapa found that the company properly explained the increase in the CAP payments several times; a PAR could not be directed since he previously defaulted on BCS PAR as part of the 2009 complaint.

Exceptions granted in part; ID modified; Complaint dismissed.
Complainant waived any right to object to testimony or exhibits but not doing so at the hearing.
BCS PAR never went into effect since Company enrolled Complainant in its CAP program before the BCS PAR began.

Bachmann v Penelec

PM 11/14/13
C-2012-2312422

Complainant challenges the billing cycle of Penelec which are stated in its tariff.

ALJ Long dismissed the Complaint finding Penelec’s actions consistent with its tariff and noted that the Company offered several billing alternatives in an attempt to resolve the matter.

Complainant filed Exceptions restating allegations; Company filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Company tariffs set forth billing options.
Tariffs approved by the PUC are binding on customers and utility.

Steve Atuahene v PECO

PM 11/14/13
C-2012-2299868

Complainant filed Petition for Reconsideration of Final Order dismissing high bill and service interruption complaint.

Petition denied.

No new or novel argument presented.

Kisha Dorsey v PGW

PM 10/31/13
F-2012-2313679

The Complainant seeks a PAR on her balance which consists of CAP and non-CAP arrears.
Special Agent Hunt granted a PAR only on that portion of her balance not subject to PGW’s CAP rates.

Motion Coleman

  • PUC cannot establish PAR on CAP arrears. 1405(c).
  • PUC can establish PAR on non-CAP arrears. 1405(b)
  • PUC should not establish PAR for non-PCAP arrears based on the Complainant’s poor payment history and her inability to keep prior Company PAR.

Statement Brown

  • Reminded utilities that they have greater discretion than PUC in granting PARs.
  • Suggested practices for utilities to help payment troubled customers who are making good faith payments maintain their service.
Teresa Sugar v DQE

PM 10/24/13
F-2012-2330853

Complainant alleges inability to pay bills and seeks another PAR. Company notes she defaulted on both PUC and Company PARs.

Special Agent Hunt dismissed the Complaint finding that there had not been a change of income so another PAR was not permitted under Sections 1405(b)(2) and 1403.

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging error; Special Agent did not admit the list of medications taken by her brother or an email exchange regarding a potential settlement. DQE supports the ID’s findings.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed

  • Complainant defaulted on PUC PAR and there had been no change of income.
  • Complainant is Level 2 customer; alleged illness does not demonstrate the onset of the illness which resulted in a significant loss of the household income per Section 1403.
  • Offers of settlement or discussions thereof are not admissible evidence. 52 Pa Code § 5.231 (d).
Shawn Kay v Penelec

PM 10/24/13
F-2012-2324869

Complainant alleges incorrect charges on bill and seeks affordable PAR. Company asserts that the Complainant defaulted on numerous Company PARs and the PUC PAR.

ALJ Coldwell dismissed the Complaint finding that without a change in income the PUC could not order another PAR.

Complainant filed Exceptions expresses disagreement with the ID and wants Penelec to work with him on a reasonable PAR.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed

  • Household income has not changes since issuance of BCS PAR.
  • Offer of settlement are not admissible evidence and was not considered.
Tiffany Wolfe v PGW

PM 10/24/13
C-2012-2321178
C-2012-2315775

Late-filed Exceptions treated as Petition for Rescission of PUC Order entered May 2, 2013. Complainant alleges she did not reside at Service Location; PGW asserts the matter was disposed of in the 2010 Complaint wherein a Certificate of Satisfaction was entered as a result of a settlement agreement between the Complainant and PGW.

Petition denied;

  • Complainant not credible in light of ALJ Pell noting her express agreement in the 2010 complaint and reciting from that hearing’s transcript.
  • Complainant vacated Service Location without taking service out of her name; she is legally responsible for charges while account in her name.
Thomas and Margery McCarey vs. PECO

PM 9/26/13
C-2013-2354862

Complainants do not want smart meters on their property. PECO filed PO that Act 129 does not have op-out for customers.

ALJ Cheskis agreed that Act 129 mandated PECO to install smart meters for all customers and relied on PUC precedent to dismiss the Complaint.

Exceptions denied; ID Adopted
Act 129 sets forth time frame for utility compliance or if customer wants ahead of schedule.

Robert S. Brossman vs. PECO

PM 9/26/13
C-2013-2351093

Complainant seeks an affordable PAR. Special Agent Hunt found arrears were all incurred while in CAP.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted.
All arrears incurred while enrolled in CAP.
1405(c) prohibits PAR on CAP arrears.

Shymar McBride vs. UGI Gas

PM 9/26/13
F-2013-2345438

Late-filed Exceptions treated as Petition for Reconsideration of ALJ Barnes’ ID which dismissed Complain for failure to appear at the hearing.

Petition denied.

Dismissal consistent with precedent for failure to appear.

Ramona Foster Lang vs. PECO

PM 9/26/13
F-2012-2336694

Complainant seeks a lower PAR than directed by BCS (Level 2 Income). PECO opposed a lower PAR since she had not demonstrated a decrease in income and she defaulted on the BCS PAR.

Special Agent Hunt dismissed the Complaint finding that although the household income had decreased so had the size of the household; therefore the BCS PAR was the most favorable that could be offered under Section 1405(d).

The Complainant filed Exceptions stating that since the hearing, her household size had increased by 2. PECO field Reply Exceptions stating that the ID was based on the record evidence and should be upheld.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted.
There was no change of income so another PAR is not permitted.
Complainant may file an informal complaint if she seeks a lower PAR based on events that have occurred after the hearing.

Douglas Champlin vs. PPL

PM 9/26/13
C-2012-2328598

Late-filed Exceptions treated as Petition for Reconsideration of ALJ Barnes’ ID which dismissed the Complaint for failure to appear at the hearing.

Petition denied.
No good faith effort made to attend the hearing.
PUC declines to exercise discretion to vacate the dismissal.

Douglas Park vs. PPL

PM 9/26/13
F-2012-2308984

Late-filed Exceptions considered as Petition for Reconsideration of ALJ Barnes’ ID which dismissed the Complaint regarding foreign load balance but ordered Level 1 PAR.

Petition denied: ID modified
No reason to overturn ID
ID modified --BCS PAR, when timely appealed, does not become operative so Complainant only had 1 PUC PAR.

Deidra Alston vs. NFG

PM 9/26/13
F-2011-2236871

Late-filed Exceptions were treated as Petition for Reconsideration of ALJ Melillo’s ID dismissing Complaint.

Petition denied.
ID fully supported by record evidence
Nothing new or novel presented

Bertha Jones v. PGW

PM 9/12/13
C-2013-2364858

Complainant alleges unspecified incorrect charges on her bill. PGW filed a PO alleging that the Complaint lacked specificity.

ALJ Salapa granted the PO setting a deadline for the filing of an amended complaint. The Complainant did not file an amended complaint; the Complaint was dismissed. ALJ Salapa distinguished his ruling from Elliot v PECO wherein the PUC remanded the hearing finding that there was an underlying BCS Decision to provide info to the utility to prepare for the hearing. In the present proceeding, there is no underlying BCS Decision to inform PECO of the alleged incorrect charges nor has there been any PAR on the account.

ID adopted.

Precious Apartments v. PGW

PM 9/12/13
F-2013-2359935

Complainant disputes the charges as a result of her tenants taking time to establish service. PGW asserts Complainant is a PA corporation and must be represented by counsel.

ALJ Pell issued a Prehearing Order requiring the Complainant to engage counsel and have the appearance filed with the PUC. The Complainant did not have counsel file the required appearance and the Complaint was dismissed.

Motion Gardner

  • Complaint was signed by an individual and the complaint form does not indicate the Complainant is a PA corporation.
  • It is not clear if Complainant is a corporation.
  • Matter remanded to OALJ to determine if the Complainant is a PA corporation.
Joe Ventura v. Peoples

PM 9/12/13
C-2013-2357296

Complainant alleges outrageous gas bill for his commercial account. Peoples filed a PO arguing that the Complaint fails to allege that the Company violated a PUC statute, regulation or order. Peoples asserts that the alleged charges are consistent with its Tariff.

ALJ Salapa granted the PO finding the complaint is legally insufficient since the Company complied with its tariff.

Motion Gardner

  • Complaint is legally sufficient; “his bills are questionable and out of line”.
  • A factual dispute exists since Peoples in its Answer stated the bills were correct.
  • Matter remanded to OALJ.
  • ALJ should determine if mediation is appropriate.
Brenda Crawford v. PECO

PM 9/12/13
C-2012-2335088

Complainant seeks a PAR. PECO asserts her balance consists entirely of CAP arrears.

Special Agent Hunt denied the PAR request based on Section 1405(c).

The Complainant filed Exceptions stating that the ID did not consider her “inability to pay” and requesting documentation regarding her balance. PECO filed Reply Exceptions noting that under Section 1405(c), a customer’s inability to pay is not relevant.

Exceptions denied and ID adopted.
PUC is limited in its ability to provide a remedy given 1405(c) constraints.

  • PAR not permitted if CAP arrears.
Jack Bleiman v. PECO

PM 9/12/13
F-2012-2284038

Complainant seeks reconsideration of PUC Order dismissing his complaint which upheld PECO’s transfer of the tenant’s balance to the owner as a result of foreign load. The Complainant alleges error of facts, repeats his allegation of trespass by PECO to enter his property to access the meter and that PECO was negligent allowing the tenant to accumulate such a large arrearage.

Petition denied.

  • Complainant’s arguments on reconsideration simply repeat his assertions made at the hearing which were previously considered.
Susan Hewitt v. PECO

PM 9/12/13
F-2011-2273271

Complainant alleges there are incorrect charges on her bill and seeks a PAR. PECO asserts that a PAR is not permitted since arrearage is based on CAP rates.

ALJ Jones dismissed the Complaint finding that the Complainant did not offer any evidence—just her opinion. ALJ also found PUC could not issue PAR since CAP arrears.

The Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing her position.

Exceptions denied and ID clarified.

CAP rates include rates for service while enrolled in CAP as well as deferred pre-CAP arrears.

  • PUC does have authority to issue PAR for non-CAP arrears when the outstanding balance is a mixed arrearage (some portion is CAP arrears).
  • Question for PUC is should they exercise its discretion to direct a PAR since as a practical matter bifurcating an arrearage and establishing a PAR for non-CAP portion is not feasible in most cases.
  • PUC declined to direct PAR in this case due to the Complainant’s poor payment history and her inability to keep prior Company PAR.
Jonathan Bridges v PECO

PM 8/29/13
F-2012-2336109

Complainant seeks a reduced PAR alleging his income has decreased and seeks APR of no more than $199/month. BCS PAR was based on Level 3 income. Balance was $4,626.84.

ALJ Barnes granted the request in part. She found that the Complainant was now a Level 2 customer and that a PAR consistent with Section 1405(b) (24 month amortization period) was warranted.

ID adopted.

Margarita Kron v PGW

PM 8/29/13
F-2012-2332152

Complainant requested that her service be discontinued on May 4, 2010. PGW choose to utilize a placeholder account for the “user without a contract.” Bill accumulated to $3,666. PGW asserts the Complainant is liable for usage.

ALJ Cheskis found PGW’s action unreasonable. The Complainant properly requested discontinuance of service but PGW chose not to shut off the gas but rather used a “placeholder account until a new customer of record applied for gas service.” The Complainant’s tenant resided in the apartment but never put service in their name. The practice of “user without a contract” was not used correctly (meant for short period of time) and cannot be used retroactively to justify sending the Complainant such a large outstanding bill for 2 years when it is undisputed she requested that gas be stopped.

Motion Witmer
PGW made independent decision not to stop service when Complainant requested but instead utilized a placeholder account for the service address.
PGW fined $500 for wasting the Complainant’s as well as the Commission’s time and resources in attempting to justify its actions.

Kimberly Lopez v PGW

PM 8/29/13
C-2013-2343453

Petition for Reconsideration filed to Final Order that dismissed Complaint for failure to appear. Complainant has had a series of medical issues that prevented her attendance at the hearing.

Petition granted, in part; July 2013 Order modified (dismissal without prejudice).
Given Complainant’s health issues, it is unduly harsh under the circumstances to dismiss the Complaint with prejudice.
Complainant can re-file when she is physically able to participate in hearing.

David Oliver v PECO

PM 8/29/13
F-2012-2305431

Complainant alleges incorrect charges due to a faulty meter and questions if he is being billed the correct rate. Service Location is a newly constructed 8,500 square foot residence with geothermal heating. Temporary account at commercial rate was established during construction. Residential rate began 9/9/11. PECO avers that all bills are proper.

ALJ Heep ruled that the rate issue was resolved at the hearing, bills were correct based on actual readings and load usage during construction but PECO violated Section 1501 and fined $450 for the manner it handled the inquiries.

PECO filed Exceptions arguing that the ALJ’s findings and decision rely on allegations within the Complaint and not on the Complainant’s testimony.

Exceptions granted; ID reversed in part.
PECO’s actions do not rise to the finding of inadequate service.
Multiple company reps were involved in the high bill investigation and Complainant’s service.
Complainant’s service was not typical—size and use of geothermal heating system which required the utilization of a temporary construction account as well as the utilization of a billing multiplier due to the size of the property.

Feliciano v PGW

PM 8/29/13
F-2012-2298302

Complainants allege that PGW has not properly accounted for payments and arrearage forgiveness under its CAP. PGW asserts all payments were credited but that as a result of not making timely payments, the arrearage portion was not forgiven.

ALJ Fordham dismissed the Complaint finding that the Complainants only had mere opinion that the payments were not properly credited. PGW presented sufficient evidence that all payments were correctly posted.

Complainants filed Exceptions re-arguing their position.
Exceptions denied and ID adopted.
PGW’s evidence was persuasive and provided documentation regarding each payment posted.

Elco Corp d/b/a A&S Deli v PECO

PM 8/29/13
C-2010-2186754

Remand hearing to investigate high bill complaint of Deli after Commonwealth Court reversed dismissal of Complaint. As a result of metering tampering found, PECO issued make up bill in the amount of $6,025. Hearing was continued twice. Last continuance was requested the Friday before the Monday hearing was denied. Neither Complainant nor his attorney appeared at the hearing.

ALJ Jones granted PECO’s Motion to Dismiss. Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that his attorney was in another federal proceeding and unable to participate in the hearing. The consequence should have been to sanction his attorney not dismiss the case. PECO filed Reply Exceptions arguing that the Complainant’s continuance was not timely and violated the Prehearing Order which set forth the requisite timeframe for such a request

Exceptions denied and ID modified
Attorney’s continuance request was not timely-filed business day before hearing.
Attorney knew of conflict well in advance.
No reasonable explanation for inordinate delay in seeking continuance.
Continuance would prejudice PECO who would have to prepare for hearing for 4th time.
ID modified to correct that 52 Pa Code § 1.115(b) provides that request should be submitted no less than 5 days in advance of hearing (ID stated “must be filed”).

Marcia Shapiro v PGW

PM 8/15/13
F-2012-2318535

Complainant alleges she should not be responsible for the gas bill during the period when there was a gas leak. PGW adjusted the usage for the bill period based on a “system problem” (meter index showed decrease in usage not increase).

ALJ Coldwell found the Complainant sustained her burden of proof and the bill of $181.58, along with LPCs, should be removed from the account. She further found that PGW never explained the system error despite being provided the opportunity to do before the record closed. No fine was assessed based on prior Orders in which the PUC was reluctant to impose penalties given its status as a municipally owned gas utility.

Motion Gardner
PGW is no longer in crisis mode and PUC will no longer abstain from levying civil penalties.
$1000 fine assessed.

Alice Ann Belmonte Gates v PECO

PM 8/15/13
F-2012-2332583

Complainant filed unintelligible Petition in response to the Order which dismissed her Complaint for failure to set forth in a clear and concise manner a claim for which relief can be granted.

Petition for Reconsideration denied.
The Petition fails to set forth a clear and concise statement of facts alleged or relief requested; her Petition is unclear and is addressed to “Judge Murphy”.

James Creehan v DQE

PM 8/15/13
C-2012-2997124

Petition for reconsideration filed to Order dismissing high bill complaint and replies to the Company’s Reply Exceptions and asserts improper motives on the part of the Company and PUC staff. Company filed an Answer in support of the Order which found the present complaint was the same as the 2011 Formal which was settled.

Petition denied.
The allegations alleging unethical conduct of the Company’s counsel and the ALJ are impertinent and are scandalous and were not considered.
Petition raised same issues rejected in Order.
No valid reason to vacate PUC Order.

Donald Rinald v Columbia & Direct Energy

PM 8/15/13
C-2012-2292780

Complainant alleges that the pricing change on his gas bill did not match the advertising and the billing appears to be an unauthorized rate increase. The Company was approved to covert to therm billing (energy consumed); had billed based on gas consumed. The NGS admitted a billing error occurred when Columbia switched to therm billing and issued a refund.

ALJ Coldwell dismissed the Complaint finding that Columbia has 8 different systems which do not interconnect. Every customer does not get a measurement of the exact thermal value of gas to individual meters; the gas is measured every 15 minutes and the weighted average of the month is the value used. Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that his bills do not permit him to re-calculate his bills in violation of his right to know how the bill is calculated. He also challenged the refund from the NGS. Columbia filed Reply Exceptions supporting the ID and restating that the time for the Complainant to object to the billing change was in the last rate case where it was approved. The NGS filed Reply Exceptions noting that the Complainant did not object on the record to the amount of the refund and that issue had been waived.

Exceptions denied; ID modified.
PUC approved the therm methodology; Company made several attempts to thoroughly explain to Complainant how this methodology works, both prior to and during the hearing.
The individual calculations for the therm multiplier are not hidden from the customers.
The change to therm billing does not represent a material change to the EGS contract.
All gas enters Columbia’s system intermixed, regardless of the individual source of the upstream supply.
PUC Regulations require the NGS’s marketed prices to be presented in the standard pricing unit of the Company’s.

Michael Sirak v Met Ed

PM 8/15/13
C-2011-2279502

Complainant alleges his electric service has been unreliable for the past 17 years and request remedial measures including a change in policy regarding restorations, a more reliable line or extensive reconstructive measures and posting of repair schedules on the Company website. Company asserts that most of the outages were due to unforeseen weather events and tree related issues that were timely corrected.

ALJ Melillo found the Complainant did not establish a prima facie case of service inadequacy and dismissed the Complaint. Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that it is unreasonable to have a restoration prioritization policy that results in the same customers always being restored last and that “major events” should count against a utility in determining reasonableness of service. The Company filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions granted in part; ID modified; Complaint dismissed.
Difference in time to restore customers after major storm does not constitute inadequate service.
Company has taken actions to improve reliability.
Complainant’s Exceptions that both Circuits historically have not been susceptible to the same service conditions was granted.
PUC will not grant remedial relief when there has been no finding of 1501 violation.
Company’s restoration process is reasonable; there are many factors involved in determining service restoration priorities during major outages.

Darryl Hicks v PGW

PM 8/15/13
C-2010-2207800

Complainant filed Petition for Reconsideration arguing he never received the ID which contained numerous errors and his Complaint should not be dismissed. No Company response.

Petition denied. Complainant’s response to the New Matter is too late and the issue was not raised at the hearing.
No valid reason for PUC to rescind its Order

Barbara Johnson v PECO

PM 7/16/13
C-2013-2351696

Complainant objected to the monthly fee for the off-peak meter since PECO eliminated the rate in 2009. PECO asserted that while the rate was eliminated, the meter is necessary to render service to the appliances connected to that meter regardless of the rate charged to the Complainant. PECO filed PO seeking dismissal of Complaint since rate is authorized in its Tariff.

ALJ Salapa granted the PO finding that the Complaint fails to allege that PECO has violated the Code, regs or PUC orders. Rather, the PUC previously ruled that elimination of the off-peak rate was consistent with the Electricity Generation Customer Choice Competition Act; not ruled that Act requires elimination of the off-peak meters.

ID adopted.

John Snow vs Equitable

PM 7/16/13
C-2012-2315572

Complainant alleged faulty gas meter caused an explosion and fire at residence and sought damages. Equitable asserted no evidence of a gas leak and denied fire was the result of the meter.

ALJ Dunderdale found Equitable inadequately provided customer service for failure to maintain the meter; its equipment caused the explosion and fire; failed to file with PUC an Incident Report when Complainant sustained minor physical injuries and his residence sustained extensive damage. A fine of $30,000 was assessed.

Equitable filed Exceptions arguing that there was no record evidence to support finding that meter cause the fire; negative inference inferred by ALJ is not substantial evidence; ALJ sua sponte introduced 2 issues and fined Equitable which denied the Company due process.

Exceptions granted in part; ID reversed; Complaint dismissed
Complainant did not satisfy burden of proof that meter caused the explosion and fire.
Evidence shows explosion and fire occurred in the vicinity of the meter and not that the meter was the cause.
ALJ did not give proper weight to Equitable’s witness which completely contradicted the testimony of the Complainant’s witnesses.
Error of law to draw negative inference from failure to submit meter or result of any test by Equitable.
Complainant cannot support its burden of proof solely through reliance on the Company’s failure to introduce the meter.
Adverse inference cannot serve as substantial evidence to support finding of fact because an adverse inference does not constitute evidence.
Allegation of delay in shutting off service was not raised in the Complaint; Equitable’s failure to object at hearing constituted an amendment of the Complaint.
No evidence that delay contributed to a dangerous situation or caused additional damage to the residence.
ALJ erred in finding violation of Section 1502 of Code for failure to report incident; issue not raised at hearing.
Case not remanded since release of Incident Report is discretionary with PUC.
Matter referred to BIE for further investigation.

Kimberly Hrenyo v PPL

PM 7/16/13
F-2012-2314680

Complainant alleged once meter was replaced the usage dropped and sought a credit for prior usage based on a defective meter. PPL tested meter and performed load survey which supported position that all bills were correct.

ALJ Barnes dismissed the Complaint finding that Complainant had the potential for the usage and inferred that the construction for the pole building accounted for the increased usage.

Complainant filed Exceptions challenging the ALJ’s finding and asserting several factual errors in the ID. PPL filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions granted in part; ID modified; Complaint dismissed.
PUC agreed that Complainant did not establish a prima facie case re: high bill but disagreed with ALJ’s reasoning.
Increased usage is tied to total number of cooling degree days.
Load study supports potential usage and meter tested with PUC Regulations.

Leon Zuckerman v Columbia

PM 7/16/13
C-2012-2297606

Complainant alleged incorrect charges and misapplication of payments based on estimated readings. Columbia denied allegation and asserted service was terminated for non-payment; Complainant sent in 1 check as payment for 2 accounts without instructions as to the allocation of the payment

ALJ Buckley dismissed the Complaint for failure to appear.

Complainant late filed Exceptions stating no service of hearing notice which was treated as a Petition for Reconsideration.

Petition denied.
Assertion that he did not receive Hearing Notice was not credible since all other notices/orders were received.
Service presumed complete since documents were not returned by US Postal Service.

Daniel Brunda v PPL

PM 7/16/13
C-2012-2286040

Complainant alleged that EMFs from PPL’s power lines present a health, safety and quality problem. PPL asserted there is no scientific basis for a conclusion that exposure to EMFs from electric power lines causes or contributes to negative health effects in humans.

ALJ Dunderdale dismissed the Complaint noting that the PUC has previously found that there is no scientific or conclusive evidence to indicate that EMFs arising from electricity flowing through transmission lines caused adverse health effects.

Complainant filed Exceptions disagreeing with the ALJ’s findings and attached books that he previously authored to support his position.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Complainant’s position is nothing more than his unsubstantiated view that all power lines, not those owned by PPL, emit harmful EMFs.
PPL presented evidence that its power lines are safe and that the EMF levels were well within the limits widely accepted by experts in the scientific community.
Consequences of Complainant’s position to reduce the voltage of its distribution lines would result in a violation of Section 1501 since PPL would be providing inadequate and unreliable service

Kathleen Moran Roberto v UGI Penn

PM 7/16/13
C-2011-2253878 et al

Consolidated Complaints alleging Company’s predecessor promised to install gas lines to their properties and in the interim would provide propane gas at a discount. As a result of 2009 rate case (which was approved by the PUC), Company asserted that costs subsidies were removed from base rates and phased out. Company also stated that it cannot extend the gas mains to the Complainant without a CIAC since requested extensions are uneconomical.

ALJ Jandebuer dismissed the Complaints finding that the tariff requirement for CIAC was reasonable; Company had no obligation to serve since Complainants are outside the Company’s service territory.

OCA filed Exceptions arguing that Complainants were customers, not applicants, so CIAC is not appropriate. Company asserted not appropriate to have other customers pay for the $2.4M cost of extensions.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Line extension tariff protects existing customers from bearing cost of uneconomic main extensions and to maintain just and reasonable rates for all customers.
Tariffs approved by PUC are prima facie reasonable.
Utility is not obligated to make line extensions that are uneconomical or unreasonable.
Utility may have reasonable rules and regulations governing the conditions under which it shall be required to render service.
Burden of proof on the Complainants to demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that the facts and circumstances have changed so drastically as to render prior approval of Tariff unreasonable.

James Creehan v DQE

PM 5/23/13
C-2012-2297124

The Complainant alleges his meter is malfunctioning and his bills are incorrect for the period 12/2010 to 2/2011. DQE asserts that the same issues were presented in a 2011 complaint which was amicably resolved and an uncontested Certificate of Satisfaction was filed.

ALJ Hoyer dismissed the Complaint finding that the Complainant is precluded from raising the same issue before the PUC a 2nd time.

The Complainant filed Exceptions alleging ex-parte communications between the ALJ and counsel for DQE; he did not agree with the Certificate of Satisfaction; BCS employees should be reprimanded or retrained and that he did prove that his meter was spiking. Finally, he states that the ID contains several errors related to dates documents were filed. DQE filed Reply Exception supporting the ID and challenging the Complainant’s allegations of impropriety of BCS employees.

Exceptions denied; ID modified; Complaint dismissed.
The allegation of impropriety regarding the ALJ are unfounded.
Date of filing is date deposited in mail as shown by Postal Service stamp on envelope.
Complainant failed to timely object to the Certificate of Satisfaction and prior complaint docket was closed. He cannot now challenge the Certificate of Satisfaction.
Complainant cannot accept prior settlement credit, fail to object to Certificate of Satisfaction and file a 2nd complaint to pursue the same claim.

Mari Jensen v PECO

PM 5/23/13
F-2011-2270675

PECO seeks reconsideration of Order which directed PECO to recalculate the amount due to the Complainant for the end of year reimbursement for customer-generators with unused accumulated kilowatt-hours. PECO asserts that it needs additional time (6 months) to company with the directive and seek recovery of the costs associated to upgrade its billing system so future compensation can be automatically rendered. The Complainant challenges PECO’s new and novel arguments.

Petition granted in part and denied in part.
No new or novel argument to reinstate the ID.
PECO adequately supported the request for additional time given the number of customers involved, time period over which the calculations must be performed and the manual nature of the calculations.
Time extension to June 20, 2013 will not have material adverse effect on affected customers since interest will be applicable to refunds.
PECO can seek (no guarantee) of IT costs through Generation Supply Adjustment cost recovery mechanism. PECO has burden in such recovery proceeding.

Berger Development v PGW

PM 5/9/13
C-2012-2340584

Complainant challenges PGW’s lien for unpaid utility bills after he requested that service be terminated because the property was vacant. PGW terminated service in 2009 but asserts that once it discovered gas was being used in 2012 it appropriately issued a make-up bill for previously unbilled usage. PGW filed a PO challenging the PUC’s jurisdiction to hear a complaint involving a municipal lien. No answer to the PO was filed.

ALJ Salapa granted the PO and dismissed the complaint finding the PUC does not have jurisdiction citing PUC precedent.

The Complainant filed Exceptions stating that the amount and determination is being challenged and that his deposit was not properly applied to the outstanding balance. PGW filed Reply Exceptions arguing that the issues raised in the Exceptions should have been raised in the answer to the PO.

Exceptions granted in part; ID modified; remand to OALJ for hearing.

PGW’s Answer was timely filed.
The Complainant has raised issues of fact as to the shut off date, payments of prior invoices and accrual of service charges after the alleged shut off date.
Case remanded for hearing on disputed billing amounts.

Coleman dissent

Gnana Chinniah v PPL

PM 5/9/13
F-2012-2325248

Complainant challenges the transfer of the outstanding balance for a rental property upon the discovery of foreign load (electric service also served a shed). He argues that the former tenant was aware of the foreign load and agreed to it. Once the foreign load was removed, the account was put in the name of the new tenant.

ALJ Salapa dismissed the Complaint finding PPL’s action appropriate and that the tenant’s agreement regarding the foreign load does not supersede Section 1529.1

The Complainant filed Exceptions challenging the finding of foreign load, the applicability of Section 1529.1(the property does not contain more than 1 dwelling) and ignoring the agreement of the tenant.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
PPL properly transferred the account to the Complainant per Section 1529.1.
A tenant cannot waive rights pertaining to foreign load charges and is not permitted to accept utility service which is not exclusive to their home.
PPL’s investigation into the allegation of foreign load was reasonable

DeNinno v Peoples Gas

PM 5/9/13
C-2010-2171553

The Complainant challenges a bill that transferred the outstanding balance of $22,413 for a multi-unit commercial building when foreign load was detected. ALJ Johnson dismissed the Complaint finding that the Complainant was the owner until the sale is completed. A Final Order adopting the ID was issued on 11/10/11.

Almost 12 months after the docket was closed, the Complainant filed a Petition for leave to late file Exceptions stating the he did not receive the ID or Final Order. Specifically he challenges the finding that the property was residential rather than a commercial property with an apartment on the 2nd floor. Peoples oppose the Petition based on the Complainant’s testimony that he does not open his mail and his Petition does not meet the standard for reconsideration.

Petition denied.
The Complainant’s statement that he did not receive the ID (certified mail was returned as undeliverable) is not sufficient to overcome the presumption that he received the mailed Final Order. Complainant’s testimony and delay in seeking reconsideration were factors in the denial of the Petition.

Shirley Thomas v PECO

PM 4-18-13
C-2012-2317175

Complainant disputes the amount of a past due balance and seeks a more reasonable PAR. PECO asserts that the bill is correct and that she is not eligible for a PAR having defaulted on 3 previous PUC PARs.

ALJ Jones dismissed the Complaint finding that the Complainant did not introduce any evidence that the outstanding balance was incorrect. She also denied the PAR request since there had not been a change in income and she previously defaulted on a PUC PAR per Chapter 1405(d).

ID adopted.

Mark Mazza v PECO

PM 4-18-13
C-2012-2318472

Complainant alleges that since he has not exhausted the appellate process for the prior 5 complaints that he filed, PECO’s 10-day notice for non-payment of $9,600 is invalid. He seeks the notice stayed, vacated or stricken. In the alternative, he seeks a PAR and reduction of all bills due to his unemployment. PECO filed a PO arguing that this complaint is identical to the previous 5 complaints that have been filed to avoid termination for failure to pay his bills. Complaint # 2, and 3 are currently before the Supreme Court of PA and #5 is before the Commonwealth Court. The issue is all those cases involve the notice of termination and PECO refusal to grant a PAR.

ALJ Barnes granted the PO and dismissed the complaint finding it identical to the matters currently pending before the Courts.

The Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that the ALJ was biased and the subject matter in complaint #6 is only similar and not identical to the previously filed complaints.

Exceptions granted in part; ID vacated; remand to OALJ for expedited hearing.
Allegations that ALJ was bias are without merit.
Issue exists as to how the amount due on the termination was derived.
Utility is permitted to terminate service for failure to pay undisputed amounts even when a dispute is pending.
ALJ directed to determine how much of the outstanding balance is disputed in the on-going appellate litigation; how much is undisputed and when the amounts became undisputed. Only those amounts raised in the present complaint are to be considered—Complainant is not permitted to dispute amounts that were not previously in dispute.
ALJ directed to investigate the Complainant’s payment history (PUC concerned about the potential misuse of its litigation process).

Marjorie Davis v Columbia

PM 4-18-13
C-2012-2305069

Complainant alleges that the gas leak at her home was caused by Columbia while doing work on the gas line near her home. She seeks reimbursement of the $459 she paid for the repairs and states that no one from the company returned her call. Columbia filed PO arguing that the PUC cannot award damages.

ALJ Johnson denied the PO finding that the issue was the reasonableness of the service provided. The ALJ found that the Complainant did not prove that Columbia caused the leak and that Columbia had responded to her concerns and that she was not satisfied with the answers.

The Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that Columbia caused the gas leak and she is entitled to be reimbursed for the damage to her gas pipe inside her home. Columbia fled Reply Exceptions stating that the Complainant only offered speculation as to the cause of the gas leak and that the PUC does not have jurisdiction to award damages.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Complainant only offered speculation as to the cause of the leak and the culpability of Columbia.
PUC cannot award damages.

Barbara Medaglia v Met Ed

PM 4-18-13
F-2012-2300999

Complainant requests a PAR which Special Agent Alexander denied. A Final Order was entered dismissing the Complaint. Due to a procedural error, her Exceptions were not considered and are being treated as a Petition for Reconsideration. Complainant alleges that she is unable to pay the established PAR due to medical issues.

Petition for Reconsideration granted; remand to OALJ.
Complainant’s timely Exceptions were returned due to an incorrect zip code.
Complainant presented new information (change of income) that may affect the PAR under Section 1405(b).

Patricia Robinson v PECO

PM 4-18-13
C-2012-2300615

Complainant’s husband filed a Petition for Reconsideration of the dismissal of the complaint for failure to appear and prosecute arguing that she was ill and unable to attend the scheduled hearing. PECO responded arguing no proof of illness was presented and that the previous hearing had been continued due to her illness.

Petition for Reconsideration denied.
Complainant did not meet the Duick standard for reconsideration.
Complainant failed to appear or present evidence why a 3rd hearing should be scheduled.

Daniel Brown v PECO

PM 4-4-13
F-2012-2325085

Complainant states his bills are too high for the winter months and seeks a PAR. PECO asserts that the entire outstanding balance consists of CAP arrears and a PAR is prohibited by Chapter 14.

ALJ Pell dismissed the Complaint for failure to appear and prosecute.

ID adopted.
Gardner and Cawley dissenting

Artafia Robertson v PGW

PM 4-4-13
F-2012-2324005

Complainant alleges there are incorrect charges and disputes bills back to 2003. She seeks a PAR and enrollment into CAP. PGW denied the PAR request until the CAP arrearage is paid. PGW has not received appropriate documents to re-enroll into CAP. Balance is over $10,000.

ALJ Jones dismissed the Complaint for failure to appear and prosecute.

ID adopted.
Gardner and Cawley dissenting

Maria Duran v PGW

PM 4-4-13
C-2012-2317174

Complainant challenges make-up bill of $7500 and states she has not used gas since 2007. PGW asserts the make up bill was for the period 11/07 through 4/12 as a result of meter tampering (a magnet was placed on the meter which prevented the transmission of the recorded usage).

ALJ Heep dismissed the complaint finding that the unsigned, undated letter from the electrical company that installed the electrical appliances was not evidence and that the Complainant had the potential for the usage. Also, her testimony was found not be credible. The meter was tested and found to be operating within proper range and the 4 year statute of limitation on the make-up bill was waived due to the meter tampering.

ID adopted.

Joseph Thurby Jr. v West Penn

PM 4-4-13
C-2011-2254048

Complainant is owner of car dealership who alleges that a series of 4 power outages between May and August 2011 affected his business. West Penn argues that the outages were the result of a fallen tree; blown breaker and lightning (West Penn has no record of the 4th alleged outage).

ALJ Long dismissed the complaint that West Penn filed to maintain adequate facilities. There was no record evidence that the Company violated any PUC statute or regulation. Rather the ALJ found that West Penn responded in an appropriate timeframe and resolved the matter.

ID adopted.

Walter Hodorowski v PGW

PM 3-14-13
C-2012-2305049

Complainant alleges that due to limited income and health issues, they cannot afford the BCS PAR and seek a monthly PAR of $115. Outstanding balance is almost $10,000. PGW asserts there have been 2 PUC PARs and that the current household income prevents entry into CAP (had previously been in CAP twice).

ALJ Buckley dismissed the Complaint since Chapter 14 prevents another PAR.

Complainant filed Exceptions stating that the ALJ failed to consider relevant evidence on hardship and case should be remanded.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • Another PAR is prohibited by Chapter 14, §1405(d).
  • Terms of PAR are dictated household income as set forth in Chapter 14 and request to pay $115 cannot be granted.
Anthony Ditsious v Penelec

PM 3-14-13
F-2011-2274306

Complainant filed 4 separately docketed complaints regarding the company’s disconnection/reconnection policy/fees. Penelec relies upon its tariff which sets forth the approved fees.

ALJ Johnson found the 2002 incident was barred by the statute of limitations. He further ruled that there was no unreasonable service as the company’s rep corrected an error in info provided to the complainant 4 days after the incorrect info was given and rejected the unsubstantiated argument that the tariff was unfair.

Complainant filed Exceptions restating his objection to the fees. Penelec filed Reply Exceptions arguing that the info/argument in Exceptions was not admitted into record by ALJ and should not be considered.

Exceptions granted, in part; ID modified; Complaint dismissed.

  • Pleadings filed by Pro Se complaints will not be dismissed for failure to conform to Regs.
  • Extra record documentation attached to exceptions was not considered.
  • Personal opinions are not factual evidence regarding the reasonableness of a tariff provision.
  • Suggestion that company representative verbally explain all terms, conditions and tariffs “is impractical.” Sufficient that tariff is readily accessible on company website.
  • ID was incorrect when stated the company contacted the complainant on 8-26-11. Record reflects complainant initiated the call. However error is immaterial to outcome.
Joey Maluchnik v Penelec

PM 3-14-13
C-2011-2245451

Complainant alleges unexplained high bills for his vacation home. Penelec argues that res judicata bars this complaint since he had an informal complaint in 2008 and 2009 alleging the same issue/time frame.

ALJ Dunderdale dismissed the complaint finding that 2 meters were removed and tested and there was potential for the usage. The ALJ did find that Penelec provided unreasonable service based on the fact that it never conducted any tests at the service address but rather the company educates the consumer telephonically bout high usage. She found that the only reason for the telephonic inquiry was to convince the consumer that he/she was the cause of the high bill. Penelec was fined $1000.

Penelec filed Exceptions arguing that with the finding that its high bill investigation did not do enough was inconsistent with the record evidence. Company policy, which is consistent with PUC precedent, does not permit the company to go inside a customer’s home to inspect the customer’s internal equipment and wiring.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • Company tariff sets forth separation between its electric distribution system and wiring and equipment on customer’s premises.
  • PUC Regulation (52 Pa Code §57.19 (g) support Penelec’s actions.
  • Complainant could and should have consulted an electrician for diagnosis of problem.
  • PUC precedent support holding that Penelec is not responsible for wiring and equipment inside a customer’s premise.
  • Chapter 56, §56.151 does not require utility to use all methods – only “reasonable under the circumstances.”
  • Since violation is not sustained, no penalty.
Ann Wilson v PECO

PM 2/28/13
F-2011-2272410

Complainant alleges an over billing and wants her balance reduced to zero. PECO alleges the matter was previously dismissed in a complaint challenging the same charges.

ALJ Heep dismissed the Complaint based on the doctrine of res judicata. All charges are accurate.

The Complainant filed Exceptions challenging late fees and rearguing that her payment have not been accurately reflected in her bills. PECO filed Reply Exceptions supporting the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • Complaint is not arguing “classic” overbilling situation, i.e., broken meter, change in occupants or erroneous readings.
  • Complaint’s argument that her bills do not reflect accurate payments is without merit. Rather there were several months were payment was not on time or less than amount due.
  • Amount added to bill is result of default on PAR not overbilling.
Maria Gonda Caiaccia v DQE

PM 2/28/13
F-2011-2263256

Complainant alleges her meter is not correctly recording her usage since her bills have doubled but her usage is the same and that her bills do not make sense as to the allocation of her CAP payments. DQE asserts that the usage is correct based on her potential for use (electric heat) and that some of the amounts on the bill represent CAP write-offs and not amount actually billed.

ALJ Long ruled that there was no record that the bills were miscalculated or that credits were not properly applied. She did rule that it was impossible to track the application of her CAP credits and directed DQE to work with BCS to review its billing format.

The Complainant filed Exceptions challenging her usage. DQE filed Reply Exceptions supporting the ALJ’s finding that the meter accurately recorded the usage.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • Bills are correct and fall within her potential for usage.
  • DQE directed to provide an explanation to Complainant within 30 days of what she paid; what her CAP credits were; what her billing would have been if not in CAP.
Woodhall & Galagza v Equitable

PM 2/14/13
C-2010-2170467

The Complainants allege that with the installation of their new furnace they should have realized a greater reduction in their gas consumption. Equitable performed a consumption analysis and determined that their consumption did decrease by 9% for 09/10 to 08/09. For the period 08/09 to 07/08 consumption decreased 7%. Per EPA standards, the new furnace is rated “medium to base” efficient.

ALJ Long dismissed the complaint stating that the Complainants failed to demonstrate that the company violated the Code, Regulation of PUC Order.

ID adopted.

Brittany Vohrer v PECO

PM 2/14/13
C-2012-2303471

The Complainant seeks not to be responsible for service for her stepfather who moved out of the premise and that her mother without her knowledge put the service in her name. PECO denied service since the lease submitted to prove when she moved in was altered. The account balance is almost $10,000. There is also an outstanding balance for a previous address. The Complainant did not appear at 2 hearings.

ALJ Jones dismissed the Complaint with prejudice finding that the Complainant did not appear at the telephonic hearing that she requested (the message from the Complainant’s phone indicated “she was on the other line”).

The Complainant filed Exceptions alleging her phone was not working. PECO filed Reply Exceptions supporting the ID and noting a letter from Complainant wherein she admitted she knew she missed the hearing.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
Complainant had sufficient notice of hearing.

  • Complainant was not credible.
Miro Kamenik v PECO

PM 2/14/13
F-2012-2281997

Complainant seeks a more favorable PAR. He is a Level 4 with an arrearage of almost $18,000. PECO supports the BCS PAR of budget plus $2,907.

Special Agent Hunt dismissed the Complaint and affirmed the BCS PAR.

The Complainant filed Exceptions requesting a PAR of current bills plus $200. PECO filed Reply Exceptions supporting the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • The Complainant’s proposed PAR is not permitted under Chapter 1504(b)(4).
Ulonda Beaty v PPL

PM 2/14/13
C-2011-2253209

The Complainant seeks a PAR and states her bills are too high. PPL responds that the Complainant was removed from CAP and that a PAR was not permitted.

Special Agent Alexander sustained the complaint in so far as to establish a Level 2 PAR for the non-CAP arrearage.

The Complainant filed Exceptions stating that since the hearing her income has decreased and she can not afford the PAR. PPL filed Reply Exceptions stating that even taking into consideration the reduced income for the household, a Level 2 PAR was appropriate.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.

  • No merit in the Exceptions and household income is still Level 2.
Darryl Hicks v PGW

PM 2/14/13
C-2010-2207800

Complainant argues there are incorrect charges on his bill and that once his meter was changed he will billed $6000 for unbilled services. He seeks to have all charges prior to 2005 removed. PGW contends that the Complainant was in its CAP program but removed for non-payment and that he is barred from seeking a refund going back more than 4 years.

ALJ Fordham dismissed the Complaint finding that the requested relief was barred and that the Complainant presented no evidence, only his opinion as to why he was correct.

The Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that since PGW did not follow its internal procedures for removing the meter, he is not responsible for the re-billing. PGW filed Reply Exceptions supporting the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed.
The undisputed evidence shows that the Complainant did in fact challenge the re-billing and PGW produced a letter advising he was eligible for a PAR.

  • Sections 3314(a) and 1312(a) bars the challenge to the 2005 meter exchange.
Theresa Gavin v PECO

PM 1/24/13
C-2012-2325258

Complainant alleges a safety problem with PECO’s installation of a smart meter in an adjoining house and she has suffered health effects. She also seeks to “opt out” of having a smart meter installed at her premise. PECO filed a PO arguing that the legal mandate under Act 129 requires the installation of smart meters and that the law does not permit an “opt out”.

ALJ Melillo granted the PO since there were no issues of fact. Consistent with PUC precedent, the Complaint was dismissed.

ID adopted.

Maria Povacz v PECO

PM 1/24/13
C-2012-2317176

Complainant argues she did not authorize PECO to install a smart meter and her service should not be terminated for failure to permit the installation. PECO filed a PO arguing that Act 129 requires the mandatory installation and that the PUC has dismissed similar complaints.

ALJ Cheskis granted the PO based on the statute, Code and PUC precedent.

The Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that the Energy Policy Act of 2005 makes smart meter installation optional. PECO filed Reply Exceptions asserting that Act 129 is controlling and mandates smart meter installation. Further, PECO contends that the health issues stated in the Exceptions which were never raised at the hearing are irrelevant.
Exceptions denied; ID adopted

  • Hearing was not necessary since there are no issues of fact.
  • Installation of the smart meter is consistent with the Code and there is no provision for an “opt out”.
Hodak v Penelec

PM 1/24/13
C-2011-2274277

Complainants assert a reliability problem with their residential service. Specifically it is alleges that there are buzzing noises, scorch marks and electrical shocks and that the transformer has exploded. Penelec responded that it has visited the premise 19 times in 2 years and that no problems related to their service was discovered.

ALJ Dunderdale ruled that the Complainants provided no expert testimony to support their claim. Rather, the testimony was based on assumptions as to what caused the problems. The Complaint was dismissed without prejudice so that the Complainants could return to the PUC for assistance if further testing reveals that Penelec’s equipment and facilities are the cause of the problem.

The Complainants filed Exceptions rearguing their position supplemented by new evidence as well as “additional exceptions”. Penelec moved to strike the new evidence and argued that the Complainants did not carry their burden.

Motion to Strike granted; Exceptions denied; ID adopted

  • The “additional exceptions” were rejected as being untimely.
  • The extra-record statements and comments are hearsay and cannot be used to challenge the ID.
  • The record contains no evidence that the problems being experienced are related to Penelec’s service or facilities.
  • The other customers being served by the transformer have experienced no problems.
  • The Complainants are not precluded from returning to the PUC is they can provide expert testimony that the facilities or service is inadequate.
Thai Van Thieu v PGW

PM 1/10/13
C-2012-2326598

Complainant objects to the City’s lien against his rental property for his tenant’s unpaid gas bills. PGW filed a PO for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

ALJ Barnes granted the PO and dismissed the Complaint.

ID adopted.

Statement Gardner
Membership in PGW’s Landlord Cooperation Program would have protected the Complainant from the lien process.

Michael Salko v UGI Penn Natural Gas

PM 1/10/13
C-2012-2308313

Complainant alleges that UGI is not honoring the settlement agreement. UGI had agreed to have his calls directed to two identified employees rather than his calls being recorded in the call center. ALJ Jandebeur found UGI’s action reasonable in providing three options that would prevent the Complainant’s call from being recorded. The Complainant chose to call the Call Center where all calls are recorded rather than calling the identified employees directly.

ID adopted.

Sue Christmas v PECO

PM 1/10/13
F-2011-2273245

The Complainant argues there are incorrect charges on her account and her service was terminated because PECO failed to honor the PAR for the account. She also complains about the method of termination (her yard was dug up) which increased the restoration fee. PECO states the balance included a carried forward balance and the Complainant defaulted on the PAR by failing to pay her current monthly charge in November 2008.

ALJ Vero ruled that while the charges and amount due were correct, she found that PECO’s billing practice was confusing and that its bill in December 2008 only partially reflected the BCS PAR. The ALJ found that since the Complainant, a school teacher, could not understand her bill that is indicative of PECO’s confusing billing practices. A $1000 fine was assessed. The ALJ found that PECO’s actions to dig up the yard rather than seek access to the meter amounted to unreasonable service. A $500 fine was assessed.

ID reversed

Motion Gardner

  • Section 1405(f) authorized a utility to terminate service when a customer fails to pay the undisputed portion of a bill that is not subject to a PUC PAR.
  • PECO improperly terminated service since unpaid charges were before the PAR went into effect.
  • Actions of PECO were not unreasonable under §1501. No fine warranted.
  • PUC already directed BCS to work with PECO on bill changes which have been implemented so bills comply with PUC’s plain language policy statement on billing.
  • PECO appropriately notified Complainant through its notices that termination was an option if access to the meter was not provided.
  • Utilities have an obligation to prevent large arrearages.
  • Reasonable service requires restoration of a customer’s property to a condition similar to that which the property was in before the utility engaged in the earth disturbing activity.
Mary Kingcade v PECO

PM 1/10/13
C-2011-2244748

The Complainant alleges PECO improperly terminated her service, assessed LPCs, created a new account number with a transfer balance, denied her CAP arrearage forgiveness and denied her medical certification. PECO asserts her medical certification was denied because she failed to make equitable payments.

ALJ Fordham dismissed the Complaint. The Complainant filed Exceptions re-arguing her case.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted.

  • PECO complied with the PUC’s regulations when it refused to accept more than three medical certifications without the required payments per §56.114.
  • PECO is permitted to require a deposit as a condition of service given the Complainants poor payment history per §56.41.
  • PECO properly assessed LPCs when timely payments were not made.
  • Issue regarding LIHEAP and CRISIS payment is result of delay from when Complainant was notified of award and the date payments were made to PECO.
Jennifer Parker v Peoples

PM 12-20-12
C-2012-2293532

The Complainant claims her bills incorrectly apply low income benefits to her account and her bills are difficult to read and understand. Peoples refute the allegations but does admit that there was an issue with LIHEAP grants and its billing system.

ALJ Cheskis ruled that the Complainant did not carry her burden of proof. He stated that a number of factors may have caused confusion—Peoples’ new billing system and a change in how DPW implements the LIHEAP process. The ALJ did find that while Peoples did make mistakes, the mistakes were corrected and Peoples did provide reasonable service.

The Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that her LIHEAP grant was not properly credited to her account. Peoples filed Reply Exceptions supporting the ID and argue that the Complainant has not offered any evidence that her account is not correct other than her opinion.

Exceptions denied, ID adopted and Complaint dismissed.

  • Complainant provided no evidence that bills as rendered were incorrect.
  • Issues of how DPW handled the LIHEAP grant are beyond scope of proceeding.
Moon Kim V PPL

PM 12-20-12
F-2012-2286037

The Complainant alleges she is being charged more than what was stated in her “On Track” agreement letter. PPL asserts that the monthly payment was increased by $8 as a result of its last rate case to offset program costs.

ALJ Jandebeur ruled that PPL properly notified customers of the increase and the reason for the increase and that the bills were correct as rendered.

The Complainant filed Exceptions arguing she cannot afford the increased monthly charge. PPL filed Reply Exceptions stating that its CAP program is properly administered and her PAR is correct based on her income level.

Exceptions denied and ID adopted.

  • No evidence that PPL is not properly bill according to its CAP program.
Mari Jensen v PECO

PM 12-20-12
F-2011-2270675

The Complainant alleges that PECO is not using the correct method to calculate the end of year reimbursement or cash out for customer generators with unused accumulated Kwhs. PECO filed a PO arguing that the matter if not dismissed should proceed as a declaratory order.

ALJ Pell ruled that PECO did in fact follow the PUC’s Regulation in its calculations and that a hearing was not necessary.

The Complainant filed Exceptions which consisted of a letter which was previously sent to PECO but was never made part of the record. PECO filed Reply Exceptions arguing that the newly raised statement should not be considered because they do not relate to the sole issue of the Complaint and that PECO has followed the Regulations.

Exceptions granted in part and ID modified.

  • Hearing is not required when there are no material facts in dispute.
  • ALJ interpretation of Section 75.13(d) was rejected and PECO must recalculate the compensation due using the methodology in the PUC’s Final Omitted Rulemaking Order. Said recalculation and refund is due within 30 days.
Matthew Gillette v PPL

PM 12-20-12
F-2011-2266733

Complainant alleges that he is being overcharged. This was an appeal of the BCS Decision dismissing the complaint. The Complainant’s meter malfunctioned in 2008 and he was not billed for a period of 30 months. The Complainant did not respond to PPL’s request to replace the meter until 2011. PPL rebilled the account based upon average usage over 30 months.

ALJ Jandebeur ruled that there are 2 blocks of time where actual usage was known. The average usage for both periods was 930 kWh. The ALJ found that both parties acted unreasonably in the handling of the meter replacement. The ALJ directed PPL to rebill for 30 months using the tariff rate in effect during each of the time periods.

The Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that the make-up bill should be calculated using a 6 month not 30 month average. PPL filed Reply Exceptions supporting the ID.

Exceptions denied and ID adopted.

  • In reviewing make up bills, PUC will consider both the time period and the kWh usage.
  • The customer remains liable for what should have been billed and amount paid.
Delores Asencia v PGW

PM 12-20-12
C-2011-2251832

Complainant objects to a lien placed by PGW on her mother’s property. PGW asserts that in spite of terminating service to the property on more than 2 occasions, gas continued to be used until PGW was able to access the property and block the flow of gas in 2005. At the time the gas was blocked the balance was almost $23,000. PGW did test the meter and it was found to be operating within PUC allowable limits.

ALJ Cheskis ruled that although the issue of a city lien was outside the PUC’s jurisdiction, how PGW handled the matter by permitting the balance to grow and not correctly stopping the flow of gas was a violation of Section 1501. The ALJ found that PGW’s action of turning the service off at the curb box was unreasonable since clearly others (plumber or contractor) could easily illegally restore service and PGW was aware of this common occurrence. The lack of payment on the account was a clear indication that the customer did not intend for service to be provided. No civil penalty was imposed based on PUC precedent but the matter was referred to Law Bureau to track cases where PGW violates the Code or Regulations. Finally, the ALJ reduced the outstanding balance to $3702 (balance at time PGW first attempted to terminate service).

PGW filed Exceptions arguing that the amount of the lien was placed on the property and the Complainant does not have standing to challenge it since she is not the customer of record and did not own the property. Finally PGW argues that the time period to challenge the debt is outside the 4 year statute of limitations.

PGW’s Exceptions granted in part, ID reversed in part and Complaint dismissed.

  • PGW’s action by shutting off service at curb box was not unreasonable service and finding is not supported by record evidence.
  • Since access to meter was denied, PGW acted reasonably by shutting off service at curb box.
  • PGW visited the premise 11 times in an attempt to access the meter and ALJ’s findings that PGW should have accessed the property sooner were speculative and not based on record.
  • Complainant does not have standing to contest bills from 1999 and 2005 since she was not a customer or property owner.
  • Time period of bills in dispute (between 1999 and 2005) are outside the 3 year statute of limitation in Section 3314(a).
Mimose Innocent v PPL

PM 12-20-12
F-2010-2184996

PUC dismissed Complaint requesting a lower PAR. Complainant filed a Petition for Reconsideration stating that issues were overlooked.

Petition for Reconsideration denied.

  • Duick standard not satisfied and issues were fully litigated and considered in July 2012 Order.
  • No new information to cause PUC to reconsider the PAR.
Patricia Robinson v PECO

PM 12/5/12
C-2012-2300615

This complaint alleging incorrect charges on the bill was dismissed by ALJ Heep for failure to prosecute. No exceptions were filed and a Final Order was entered per Act 294. A Petition for Reconsideration was filed by the Complainant alleging that due to illness she was unable to attend and she did not get notice of the rescheduled hearing.

  • Petition for Reconsideration granted pending review and consideration of the merits.
Joseph Palla v. Peoples

PM 12/5/12
F-2012-2293016

Complainant asserts Peoples transferred account into his name due to foreign load at the rental property but failed to notify him for over 2 years. Peoples assert bills were sent to service address in Complainant’s name (it did credit for LPC during period).

ALJ Dunderdale found that (1) Peoples correctly opened account in Complainant’s name due to the presence of a foreign load; (2) Peoples violated Section 1501 by failing to send a letter or attempt to notify Complainant of presence of foreign load; (3) Peoples violated its own internal procedures by allowing account to remain delinquent for two (2) years (no payments ever made after balance placed in Complainant’s name) or to attempt to secure any payment; (4) a civil penalty of $2,600 was assessed against Peoples and (5) a refund of $2,099.46 was due to Complainant for charges since Complainant was denied opportunity to correct foreign load for 2 years.

ID adopted.

Mario Devito v PGW

PM 12/5/12
C-2012-2300430

The Complainant challenges the outstanding PGW’s payoff request arguing that the bills were from his tenants. PGW placed several liens against the property for the outstanding balances. He argues that it is PGW’s fault for letting the bills accumulate. PGW filed a PO arguing that the PUC lacked jurisdiction to entertain a complaint about a municipal lien. A Certificate of Satisfaction was subsequently filed by PGW.

ID vacated and the proceedings closed.

  • Certificate of Satisfaction filed and Complainant was given 10 days to advise PUC if objection to closing file.
  • The 10-day objection period expired and no objection filed.
Nehemiah Thomas v PECO

PM 12/5/12
F-2012-2294555

Complainant alleges there are incorrect charges on his bill, PECO employees are trying to kill him, were terrorists, were following him, stole his bike and illegally terminated service. PECO filed a PO asserting that this matter had been fully litigated in a prior complaint (C-2010-2187197) and that the PUC lacked jurisdiction over the alleged criminal matters.

ALJ Dunderdale granted the PO finding that the prior complaint fully considered the issues raised and that the PUC does not have jurisdiction over criminal matters.

The Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing the merits of the prior complaint.

Exceptions denied, the ID adopted and the Complaint be dismissed.

  • PO was correct and no hearing required.
  • PUC does not have jurisdiction over criminal matters.
  • Complainant is attempting to re-litigate the 2010 complaint.
Mohamad Mansaray v PECO

PM 12/5/12
C-2011-2258219

The Complainant, a commercial customer, alleges that there are incorrect charges on his bill and that PECO began charging for services before he signed his lease. PECO asserts that the lease provided with the application states that he took possession in February 2011 not April. A BCS Decision affirmed PECO’s start date for service (Feb.).

ALJ Fordham ruled that the lease and the commercial service application that service began on February 1, 2011 and the bills were correct as rendered. The outstanding balance was ordered to be paid within 60 days of a final order.

The Complainant filed Exceptions challenging the ALJ determination and challenging PECO to produce video of his presence in their offices. PECO filed Reply Exceptions arguing that the Complainant’s position that the lease and application had the wrong date was without merit.

Exceptions denied and the ID adopted.

  • No record evidence that the Complainant was not a customer as of 2/1/11 based on lease and commercial application.
Michael Ingram v PECO

PM 12/5/12
C-2011-2246492

The Complaint involves a foreign load situation which was discovered when service was terminated to the 2nd floor tenant. The Complainant states he corrected the situation the day it was discovered. PECO transferred the 2nd floor account with existing arrearage to the Complainant’s account. This issue was the subject of a 2010 complaint which was dismissed. PECO filed a PO in this proceeding alleging the present Complaint was barred by the doctrine of res judicata.

ALJ Fordham granted the PO since the present complaint is identical to the previously dismissed 2010 complaint.

The Complainant filed Exceptions re-arguing the merits of his complaint.

Exceptions denied, ID adopted and the Complaint be dismissed.

  • Pro se complainants do not have to conform to Regs for Exceptions—PUC will liberally construe the Regs for pro se litigants.
  • A hearing is not required since matter was previously litigated.
  • Exceptions address 2010 ID findings which were never filed in that proceeding.
  • Since res judicata bars complaint, no need to address claim that complaint fails to state a claim on which relief can be granted.
Stefani-Lee Pilipie v PPL

PM 12/5/12
F-2010-2210130

Complainant alleges inaccurate bills, fraud, lying and high usage. A hearing was scheduled but the Complainant failed to appear.

ALJ Jandebeur dismissed the complaint for failure to appear and prosecute.

The Complainant filed Exceptions stating that her attorney had a conflict and the hearing should have been postponed. PPL filed Reply Exceptions argues that the Complainant never notified the PUC that she was represented by counsel and said counsel never filed an appearance in the matter. Further, PPL states that the Complainant has failed to identify any attorney representing her in this complaint and that the Exceptions were filed pro se.

Exceptions denied, ID adopted and the Complaint be dismissed with prejudice.

  • No appearance filed by counsel on her behalf nor identified by Complainant.
John Starzmann v PECO

PM 12/5/12
C-2010-2192759

The Complainant alleges there is a reliability, safety or quality issue with his service. PECO asserts that there were 2 instances where there was a voltage issue with the service.

ALJ Cheskis ruled that PECO exceeded the allowable variation as set forth in Section 57.14(b) of the PUC’s Regs on 2 separate occasions in 2010 and fined PECO $750. He ruled that the incidents did not rise to the level of systemic issues that required network modernization as requested by the Complainant. The ALJ rejected the claim that PECO’s customer service response was inadequate.

PECO filed Exceptions that the incident in May 2010 was the result of lightning striking and damaging its system and the June 2010 incident was the result of PECO taking a portion of its system out of normal configuration in order to conduct maintenance. As such the Regs apply to normal system operations not a lightning strike or routine maintenance.

Exceptions granted, ID reversed and the Complaint dismissed.

  • May incident was result of cause beyond the control of PECO and not the result of inadequate design, maintenance or operation.
  • No record evidence that Complainant advised PECO of the June incident and issue was beyond scope of complaint.
  • No record evidence that PECO provided unreasonable service in its response to the Complainant.
  • PUC is not super board of directors for utilities and will not interfere with managerial decisions regarding customer service.
  • PUC does actively review the customer activities of EDCs pursuant to Chapter 28 of the Code.
Mitchell Pfeffer v. PECO

PM 12/5/12
C-2008-2074802

Complainant alleges incorrect charges on bill and seeks a fair PAR. PECO asserts balance of over $20,000 is due to balances transferred from other service addresses.

ALJ Heep (ALJ Heep issued ID 3 years after hearing before ALJ Fordham) ruled that the record evidence did not support that the balance was correct (i.e. calculations did not add up). Further, PECO issued shut off notices when Complainant was in compliance with PAR. The ALJ did not assess a fine since Complainant was relieved of paying $14,328.64 because of billing errors. A PAR consistent with Level 4 income was established for the balance of $8,338.

PECO filed Exceptions arguing that (1) the accumulated balance was not challenged until many years later after PECO converted to a different billing system which in part contributed to the confusion (i.e. arrearage forgiveness amount added back to account); and (2) the record does not have info regarding the household’s income so record must be reopened for such data so PAR, consistent with Chapter 14, can be established.

Exceptions granted, in part, ID reversed, in part and remanded for further hearings.

  • ALJ’s reduction of bill was not warranted based on record that reflects why account balance continued to grow.
  • Calculation of “actual” monthly balance forwarded is remanded; PECO to provide documentation demonstrating how it arrived at the precise balance forwarded so PUC can determine if bills during period in question were correct and if adjustment is warranted.
  • Issue of appropriate PAR is remanded for evidence of current gross monthly household income and amount of current arrearage so appropriate PAR can be established.
  • LPCs and service reconnections are not appropriately charged when customer adheres to BCS PAR. PECO to determine impact of those fees and make adjustment to account.
Dawn Smith v. Penelec

PM 11-8-12
C-2012-2292814

Complainant alleges that Penelec was responsible for a fire at rental property owned by her which resulted in $2,000 damage. Penelec filed a PO’s since the PUC lacked subject matter jurisdiction to award damages and also challenged Complainant’s standing to bring Complaint for her tenant.

ALJ Buckley granted the PO’s finding that the Complainant could not file a Quality of Service Complaint on behalf of her tenant—no standing.

Motion Gardner
Although PUC cannot award damages, it still retains jurisdiction to hear Section 1501 Violations.
ALJ’s reliance on Rohrbaugh, 727 A2d 080(1999) was misplaced.
Allegation that property damage was a result of Penelec’s faulty equipment not that tenant requested discontinuation of service as in Rohrbaugh.
Landlord has standing and interest is substantial, direct and immediate--she owns the property and is responsible for repairs.

Godfrey Kalaluka v PAWC

PM 11-8-12
C-2011-2262810

Complainant alleges the overdue balance of $15,000 is incorrect and PAWC refused to honor a med cert and restore service after it illegally terminated the service. PAWC argues that the high balance is due to 2 bankruptcy petitions being dismissed and the transfer of the pre-bankruptcy arrearage into the balance. PAWC also states that proper termination procedures were followed for non-payment (Complainant defaulted on 16 PARs) and without any payment it would not accept a 3rd or 4th med cert.

ALJ Jandebeur ruled that the balance was correct and owed to PAWC and that the termination process under Chapter 14 was followed. She also found that the company does not have to accept a 3rd and 4th med cert when the customer is not making paying as set forth in Section 56.116.

The Complainant filed Exceptions challenging the ALJ’s findings and alleging that PAWC’s call center was abusive to him. PAWC filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID.

Exceptions denied and ID adopted.

PAWC not required to segregate the prior account balances from current account. Including the prior arrearages does not constitute “double billing”.
LPCs were appropriate and were not assessed on arrearage during both bankruptcy proceedings.
Termination was proper and lawful. Complainant was clearly aware of the pending termination.
A customer is entitled to no more than two med certs when customer does not make equitable payments.

Petra Ministries v Peoples

PM 11-8-12
C-2010-22206889

The Complainant disputes a $6200 gas bill at its church. The Church is represented by counsel but an appearance was never filed. Due to counsel’s busy schedule, 2 continuances were granted. When counsel did not appear at the 3rd hearing, ALJ Long dismissed the Complaint for failure to appear.

The Complainant filed Exceptions stressing that his schedule prevented his appearance and arguing the gist of the Complainant’s case. Counsel alleges that failure to reverse violates the Complainant’s due process and fundamental fairness. The Company filed Reply Exceptions supporting the ID and concluding that counsel’s schedule is irrelevant to proceeding and the Complainant had actual notice that failure to prosecute the matter could result in the complaint being dismissed.


Exceptions denied and ID adopted.
Complaint was properly dismissed for failure to appear.
Two continuances were granted when Counsel did not appear due to a scheduling conflict and no valid reason was offered for providing another opportunity for hearing
Not in public interest and would prejudice parties by requiring to prepare for another hearing.

Orlando Rivera v PGW

PM 11-8-12
C-2010-2164222

The Complainant alleges he was overbilled because his gas service at his commercial property was shut off in 2002 yet PGW sent him a bill in 2010 for $13,000. PGW discovered in 2006 that gas was still in use by means of a bypass of the meter. The Commission remanded the matter to develop a record for the amount of gas consumption and the methodology used to calculate for the unbilled consumption over the billing period.

ALJ Nguyen found PGW’s calculations were reasonable and the make-up bill for the unauthorized use of gas was correct.

The Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that PGW’s calculations are not based on record evidence. PGW filed Reply Exceptions stating that its calculations were based a public report by a governmental agency and need not to entered into the record per Section 5.406(a) (2).

Exceptions denied and ID on Remand adopted.
ALJ correctly calculated the amount owed for the unauthorized use of gas based on the record evidence.
Complainant never objected to PGW’s exhibit which reflected their methodology and did not identify what he thought was inaccurate during the hearing.
Complainant never proffered any calculations in support of his position.

Mary Kingcade v. PGW

PM 11-8-12
C-2009-2134662

Complaint alleges PGW failed to notify her that it was replacing pipes and meter and that old equipment was faulty and caused high bills and eventual termination of service. PGW responds that bills were actual readings and pipes were replaced when service was restored in response to a medical certification; Pipes were replaced due to safety concerns. PGW has taken disciplinary action against employee for failure to call the “One Call System” and has implemented company-wide procedural changes re: “One Call System”.

ALJ Vero ruled that the replaced pipe did not affect the usage recorded on the meter and the Complainant did not present any evidence to support her claim that PGW did not correctly credit her account for payments. Rather, her balance grew when she was dismissed from PGW’s CAP program. The ALJ found that she had the potential for usage consistent with her bill. The ALJ, consistent with PUC precedent, did not assess a fine even through PGW did violate Section 1501. ALJ reasoned that since PGW is municipally owned, a fine would add additional burden on PGW’s ratepayers. The ALJ did waive the digging fee assessed by PGW to the Complainant.

The Complainant filed Exceptions challenging PGW’s action regarding failure to notify “One Call” and ALJ’s admittance of PGW’s late filed exhibit. The Complainant seeks damages for inconvenience when service off and fine assessed to PGW. The Reply Exceptions were filed by PGW supporting the ID.

Exceptions denied and ID adopted.

While Complainant did prove by a preponderous of the evidence that PGW violated Section 1501 when it failed to call “One Call” before digging, a fine is not warranted.

Joint Statement Coleman and Witmer

Utilizes are reminded to call “One Call” to reduce number of line hits which may interrupt service to households and businesses and may endanger life and property with potentially catastrophic consequences.

David Moore, Jr. v. PECO

PM 10/24/12
C-2012-2309932

Complainant alleges PECO improperly refused to change his rate from commercial to residential service despite the conversion of his business to a residence and seeks a recalculation of the bill and a PAR. PECO filed a PO alleging this is a re-filing of an identical complaint which was dismissed by the PUC in May 2011.

ALJ Buckley found that the present complaint is identical in all of its relevant particulars to the 2011 complaint and therefore the doctrine of res judicata was applicable.

ID adopted.

Gail Debrow v. PECO

PM 10/24/12
F-2011-2270781

Complainant disputes PECO’s claim that she tampered with her electric meter and alleges that the fee assessed by PECO is too high. She requests that the PUC investigate PECO’s practice. PECO asserts that it investigated the matter based on an anonymous tip that Gary Wilson, an electrician, was tampering with the meter. PECO met Mr. Wilson at the property and explained the purpose of the visits and determined that the meter was bypassed. PECO’s fee is set forth in its PUC approved tariff.

ALJ Nguyen found that the meter had been tampered with but ruled that PECO’s fee was not based on its cost of reconnecting the service and the therefore unreasonable. The ALJ relied on a case from a Municipal Court in Ohio.

PECO filed Exceptions stating that the ALJ ruling was inconsistent with PUC precedent in which the PUC had affirmed the tampering fee and was inconsistent with the record evidence. (PECO had provided a summary of the expenses that comprised the tampering fee).

Exceptions granted in part, ID reversed; Complaint dismissed.
PECO’s tampering fee is reasonable and in conformance with PUC approved tariff.
Record evidence supports finding of meter tampering.
ALJ’s reliance on municipal case in Ohio was not on point since issue in that case did not address tampering fee.

Victory Condo Assn v PECO

PM 9/27/12
C-2011-2268126

Complainant alleges PECO did not apply the most advantageous rate to a residential condo building and as a result overpaid by $145,683.55. PECO filed a PO asserting that once advised in 1/2011 that circumstances had changed, the rate was modified the following month.

ALJ Pell dismissed the complaint finding that there was no genuine issue of material facts and that PECO was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. ALJ Pell found that any argument as to what transpired at the time service was initiated (2008) was barred by the 3 year statute of limitation. Also under Section 1303, PECO does not have an affirmative obligation to monitor the usage characteristics of the customer and determine the proper rate. Instead the responsibility is on the customer to provide the utility with ACTUAL notice of a change in service conditions before the utility must determine and supply service at the most advantageous rate.

The Complainant filed Exceptions alleging material issues of fact and that PECO actively concealed the contract minimums and requests a hearing. No Reply Exceptions were filed.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted.

Complainant’s new management company advised PECO in 2008 that the existing contract would be retained.
PECO promptly changed the account in 2011 after being notified by the Complainant’s Board president.
PUC adheres to the legal principle that the customer has to provide actual notice to the utility about the conditions of service so that the utility can properly determine the rate.
The Complainant did not provide implied actual notice to PECO and PECO had no duty imposed on it to inquire about the most advantageous rate that applied to the Complainant.

Mohn v PPL

PM 9/13/12
C-2012-2301470

Complainant alleges that trees harvested by PPL as a part of its vegetation management program are being stored under a power line that runs through her property which constitutes an eyesore and hazard. She also alleges that a portion of the timber is located on her property. PPL alleges that the facilities complained of are located on PPL’s property, not the Complainant’s. PPL filed a PO since the claim arises from a real property dispute.

ALJ Salapa granted the PO and dismissed the Complaint since the PUC lacks subject matter jurisdiction.

Motion Gardner
Matter remanded to determine if PPL’s actions complied with its vegetation management plan as well if there was violation of Section 1501.
Storage of timber on her property for 2 years after customer’s expressed concern could potentially implicate Section 1501.
Vegetation management is within PUC jurisdiction, specifically Section 1501.

Karaffa v Peoples

PM 9/13/12
C-2012-2288380

Complainant objects to People’s denial of reimbursement for its riser replacement (i.e, section of gas service line between the underground service line and inlet to the meter) claiming she was never informed of the deadline for claims. Peoples claims the request for reimbursement had to be filed before 5/11 and that the Complainant’s claim was filed after the deadline.

ALJ Corbett dismissed the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction since it was a customer service line and not the utility’s facilities. The ALJ found that Peoples had no duty to the Complainant under the Code for the repairs or for any reimbursement.

Motion Powelson[2]
Matter remanded to address the following issues:
Did Peoples pay for replacement program out of retained earnings or ratepayer funds?
Did Peoples’ activities precipitate the riser leaks?
Did Peoples’ investigate the root cause of the riser leaks? Were service line installer materials or methods at fault for the leaks

Heim v PPL

PM 9/13/12
C-2012-2284892

Complainant contends that although he qualifies for the CAP program, PPL will not enroll him. The Complainant had a BSC PAR but he alleges he cannot afford that PAR. PPL responds that it does not determine the eligibility for the CAP but rather a CBO determines eligibility. Account balance is over $11,000. Complaint is an untimely appeal of the BCS Decision.

ALJ Salapa denied the complaint finding the PUC approved PPL’s CAP program and Complainant was not eligible since at the time he applied, he had a PAR and was not payment troubled. The ALJ denied the request for another PAR since he was not eligible for another one under Chapter 14 and could not reinstate the BCS Par since he was not appealed and he had defaulted on the PAR. The ALJ also found the Complainant has not acted in good faith given his poor payment history.

ID adopted.

Chase v PPL

PM 9/13/12
F-2011-2273494

Complainant seeks removal from budget billing and a PAR. Complainant failed to appear at the scheduled hearing and no contact info was available to reach her.

ALJ Hoyer dismissed the Complaint for failure to appear and prosecute.

Motion Witmer
Matter remanded for in-person hearing.
There is no indication whether the Prehearing Notice was sent to the Complainant.
Inappropriate to schedule a telephonic hearing when Complainant indicates there is no phone service.
If Complainant does not participate in hearing to be scheduled in Harrisburg, then the Complaint will be dismissed for failure to prosecute.

Simcones v Peoples

PM 9/13/12
C-2011-2260079

Complainant objects to People’s denial of reimbursement for its riser replacement (i.e, section of gas service line between the underground service line and inlet to the meter) claiming she was never informed of the deadline for claims. Peoples claims the request for reimbursement had to be filed before 5/11 and that the Complainant’s claim was filed after the deadline.

ALJ Hoyer dismissed the complaint finding the PUC does not have jurisdiction to award damages and that the Company did not have the legal duty to reimburse but voluntarily chose to do so. The ALJ did comment that the Complainant was treated unfairly but without a legal obligation, the Company did not violate the Code, Regulations or any PUC Order.

Motion Powelson[1]
Matter remanded to address the following issues:
Did Peoples pay for replacement program out of retained earnings or ratepayer funds?
Did Peoples’ activities precipitate the riser leaks?
Did Peoples’ investigate the root cause of the riser leaks? Were service line installer materials or methods at fault for the leaks?

Stewart v PECO

PM 9/13/12
F-2010-2210240

Complainant alleges there was a meter mix up and as a result he was without service from 4/2009 to 9/2009 (disputed period) but he did pay $100 on the account based on a conversation with BCS. PECO sates that the meters at the location were transposed (3rd floor meter registered usage from 2nd floor) and while there was a slight underbilling once the meters were corrected, PECO did not rebill for the additional usage.

ALJ Melillo sustained the complaint as to the inaccurate billing during the disputed period and directed PECO to issue appropriate credit for what was billed versus what was consumed for the disputed period. ALJ dismissed complaint that he received no service and that any billing during the disputed period was improper. The ALJ dismissed PECO’s claimed usage since the witness did not explain the company’s calculations and no witness was presented from the billing department to explain the charges. ALJ found PECO did rendered reasonable service since meter mix-up was correct in a reasonable time period.

ID adopted.

Nixon v West Penn

PM 9/13/12
C-2011-2266144

Complainant alleges that the power transmission lines are emitting radiation at levels that exceed federal mandated thresholds. West Penn filed a PO for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and/or the application of res judicata and collateral estoppel.

ALJ Chestnut granted the PO and dismissed the complaint finding it legally insufficient based on the general allegation of a violation of an unidentified FCC regulation and that the alleged violation of Section 1501 was previously dismissed in a prior proceeding and the Complainant did not file Exceptions to that ID.

Exceptions denied and the ID modified.
Complainant has not submitted any explanation of how the info presented in the exhibits might relate to the FOF or COL and his Exceptions are legally insufficient.
PUC lacks subject matter jurisdiction re alleged violation of FCC regulations on unspecified violation of IEEE standards.
Complainant did not allege a violation of the Code and as a result Complaint cannot be addressed as an alleged violation of Section 1501.
A hearing is not required since this Complaint raises questions of law, policy or discretion, not facts. A hearing would not enable the Complainant to better explain his position or provide additional facts which would alter the inevitable conclusion that the PUC lacks subject matter jurisdiction.
Res Judicata is not appropriate since this Complaint materially differs from his complaint at Docket No. C-2011-2228810.

Knabb v West Penn

PM 8/30/12
C-2011-2279186

Complainants allege that faulty equipment caused a power surge which resulted in damage to a heat pump. West Penn does agree that there was a power outage and abnormal voltage conditions existed but denied the claim for damages concluding that high winds caused the condition and it was beyond the Company’s control.

ALJ Long denied the request for damages and found that the Company was not responsible for the equipment damaged—it was a random weather-related event.

ID adopted.

Oral Dissent Gardner

Mullins v PGW

PM 8/30/12
C-2011-2266040

Complainant alleges she is not responsible for gas bill since she did not reside at the service address. She further asserts that another person broke into the home, illegally used the service and this was reported to the police. PGW transferred the amount to the Complainant’s new service address after a PAR was established.

ALJ Heep found that the Complainant did not reside at the premise and that she did contact PGW and discontinue service. No fine was assessed.

ID adopted.

Motion Gardner
ALJ erred in concluding that a fine is not “allowed” against PGW.
PUC is tracking PGW violations and will be considered when PGW files for regulatory approval.

Bruner v UGI

PM 8/30/12
F-2011-2257037

Complainant filed a Petition for Reconsideration stating she did not know of the hearing. UGI responded that the Hearing notice was not returned and that a subsequent PAR negotiated with the Complaint renders the Petition moot.

Petition for Reconsideration denied.
Complainant failed to respond to Secretarial Letter asking if matter had been resolved.
Complainant did not provide specific information as to lack of notice for hearing.
Complainant failed to satisfy Duick standard.

Bhatti v PPL

PM 8/30/12
C-2011-2251413

Complaint alleges incorrect charges on her bill and was verbally abusive at the hearing and on several occasions attempted ex parte contact with the ALJ.

ALJ Dunderdale dismissed the Complaint finding that the Complainant refused to give the company access to conduct a high bill investigation or to remove the meter for testing. Further the ALJ found that the Complainant’s’ testimony was merely her allegations that her bill is too high and that she has not acted in good faith.

The Complainant filed Exceptions asserting she is being discriminated against and that her documents should have been made part of the record. The Company filed Reply Exceptions supporting the ID.

Exceptions denied and the ID adopted.
Complainant was provided full and fair opportunity to present her case but she refused to state claim or requested relief.
ALJ properly rejected irrelevant or duplicate exhibits proposed by the Complainant.
When customers are on budget billing, the reconciliation of the account may result in a 13th payment in a given year.
Complainant refused the request to test the meter or to have company perform a load test.
Complainant’s argument is solely based on her allegations.

Kat Lyons v Penelec

PM 8/30/12
C-2011-2238862

Complainant asserts she was overbilled and wants her security deposit returned and credit for the overcharges. The Company asserts it correctly read and tested the meter and that Complainant has the potential for the use.

ALJ Corbett found that the claim that the January 201 bill exceeded 7% of the estimated potential consumption and directed the Company to adjust the bill and issue a credit.

Penelec filed Exceptions arguing that the ALJ improperly applied Waldron and the use of the space heater could explain the 7% difference.

Exceptions granted in part and ID modified.
Complainant made prima facie showing that January bill was unreasonably high.
Penelec provided sufficient evidence to rebut, i.e., meter tested accurate and use of space heater could have contributed to higher usage during billing period.

Greco d/b/a Phoenix Estates v PPL

PM 8/30/12
C-2011-2229033

C-2010-2198079

Complainant, a commercial customer, filed 2 complaints which have been consolidated. The first alleges he did not receive notice of the pending termination and the second alleges he was improperly terminated. PPL states that payment was late and when he did use a vendor he failed to call PPL about the payment as stated on the receipt.

ALJ Jandebeur dismissed the first complaint for failure to carry his burden of proof. Regarding the second complaint, the ALJ also dismissed that complaint finding that although he states his employee called PPL to advise of the payment, the employee did not testify.

The Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that the parties stipulated that the employee had called PPL and the ALJ ignored this fact. The Complainant also alleges his payment history is irrelevant and had the ALJ granted the requested continuance, his employee would have testified. PPL filed Reply Exceptions arguing that the Complainant mischaracterizes the stipulation and there was no evidence to support that PPL was contacted about the payment.

Exceptions be denied and the ID adopted.
ALJ correctly stated stipulation regarding witness’s testimony.
Findings of Fact are based on record evidence and many were not bases for ID.
ALJ correctly denied the request for continuance.

Greco v PAWC

PM 8/30/12
Case # C-2011-2226099

Complainant, a commercial customer, alleges his domestic water service was improperly terminated. PAWC states that the Complainant deliberately allowed his fire service account to become past due so that service would be terminated rather than asking for service to be discontinued and final billed. The Company mistakenly terminated the domestic water account. The Complainant wants the Company fined.

ALJ Jandebeur found that PAWC did not provide unreasonable service but rather made an error and corrected the error in 4 hours.

The Complainant filed Exceptions alleging that the ALJ was biased and a fine is clearly warranted. PAWC filed Reply Exceptions supporting the ID.

Motion Powelson

The actions of the Complainant contributed to odd and unfortunate event.
Complainant deliberately became delinquent on fire service account.
Service to fire line was discontinued without PAWC’s knowledge.
Technician erroneously terminated domestic service but restored service within 4 hours.
PAWC has implemented verification process to foreclose this type of error in future.

Statement Gardner
Dissented on Motion.
Lack of payment does not excuse careless work on PAWC’s part.
Fine of $250 should be imposed.

Jackson v PECO

PM 8/30/12
Case # C-2010-2195248

Complainant denies that she ever established service in her name and seeks copies of the false documents to assist her in filing fraud charges. PECO removed the charges after it determined that a person purporting to be the Complainant requested the service in the Complainant’s name.

ALJ Dunderdale did not find PECO’s witness credible regarding meeting with the Complainant. Further she found that PECO’s business records were haphazard and confusing. No fine was assessed because the ALJ found no harm to the Complainant but did suggest that PECO make copies of the ID documents in the future.

PECO filed Exceptions challenging the conclusion that it did not provide reasonable service when it opened the account in the Complainant’s name based on the record evidence arguing that the documents presented to PECO were not blatantly fraudulent.

Exceptions granted and ID modified.
ALJ erred in finding PECO provided unreasonable and inadequate service when it opened account in Complainant’s name at another address.
Both PECO and Complainant were victims of 3rd party’s fraud.
PECO followed the appropriate verification procedures and quickly took corrective action.

L. Richard Adamovich & Michael Salanick v. West Penn

PM 8/2/12
Case # C-2011-2256848 - L. Richard Adamovich v. West Penn
Case # C-2011-2247926 - Michael Salanick v West Penn

Two separate complaint from customers who suffered appliance damage due to a high voltage event on the electric distribution lines that serve their residence. West Penn alleges that a large live locust tree (outside of its ROW) broke and leaned into its facilities causing an outage. Tree was trimmed in 2006.

ALJ Long found that the record does not support a finding that the company failed to properly maintain the ROW or otherwise failed to render reasonable service. The Company’s vegetation and trimming maintenance is consistent with PUC Regulations.

ID Adopted

Statement Gardner
Vegetation management schedule must be balanced against the duty to provide safe, reliable and adequate service.
Company complimented on proactively revising its vegetation management program.

Curl v. PECO

PM 8/2/12
Case # C-2011-2270181

Complainant filed a timely appeal of the BCS Decision and seeks a PAR that has no upfront payment and $50 towards the arrearage of $3,679.65. PECO asserts the account balance is $8,430.88 of which $3,679.65 is CAP arrears.

ALJ Chestnut dismissed the complaint since the Complainant failed to prosecute the matter. At the hearing, the ALJ permitted the parties to attempt to settle the matter and while the Complainant did not disconnect from the telephonic hearing, no one spoke. PECO’s counsel left a message on another number listed for the account and the ALJ waited several days for the Complainant to contact her to explain why the hearing had been abandoned.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that they can not afford the upfront payment (CAP arrears). No Reply Exceptions were filed.

Exceptions denied and the ID adopted.
Precedent requires complaint be dismissed for failure to appear.
Even if hearing had been completed, PUC is limited to provide remedy in case since arrearage is CAP related and A PAR is prohibited under Section 1405(c).

Bethay v. PECO

PM 8/2/12
Case # F-2011-2266250

Complainant alleges a billing dispute but failed to show at the hearing.

ALJ Nguyen granted PECO’s Motion to Dismiss for failure to appear.

Complainant filed Exceptions attaching medical bills which reflect she was hospitalized at the time of the scheduled hearing. PECO filed Reply Exceptions arguing that the surgery was pre-scheduled and that the Complainant had the obligation to notify the PUC and ask for a continuance.

Exceptions denied and the ID adopted.
There is no dispute that the Complainant received the Hearing Notice.
While there appears to be good cause for continuance (schedule surgery), Complainant failed to follow procedure for continuance.

Maholik v. PECO

PM 8/2/12
Case # F-2011-2263263

Complainant alleges he was assessed a meter tampering fee of $920. He seeks a reduction in the fee. PECO asserts that the tampering fee is set forth in its Tariff and was properly assessed because service was used without PECO’s authority.

ALJ Nguyen sustained the complaint and found the Complainant not responsible for the fee which he deemed unreasonable based on his analysis of a PECO tampering fee of $350 in the matter of Jenkins v PECO. (In that case the tampering occurred over 13 days and in the present case, the time period was 2 years).

PECO filed Exceptions challenging the finding that the tampering fee of $920 was unreasonable since the fee is not related to the time period of the theft. Case # C-approved tariff, the fee is based on the costs incurred to investigate and to repair the tampering. Finally, PECO states that the ID is directly contrary to recent PUC precedent which found the tampering fee of $920 was reasonable (see Ouellette v PECO).

Exceptions denied and the ID adopted.
Duration of unauthorized usage is a relevant factor under PECO Tariff.
There was no evidence of damage to PECO’s equipment or that meter needed repair or replacement.
Testimony of PECO ($920 fee is standard) inconsistent with Tariff (factors dictate the calculation of the fee and be done on case by case basis).
PECO’s position changed in Exceptions and Tariff does not authorize a flat fee.

Cooper v. PECO

PM 8/2/12
Case # F-2011-2254904

Complainant timely appealed the BCS Decision alleging incorrect charges on her bill and seeks a PAR to avoid termination. She also disputed charges transferred from a previous property. PECO asserts that the balance of $11,764.10 is correct and that the Complainant incurred the charges at the prior property and failed to pay the final bill. PECO also asserts that a substantial portion of the balance is related to her enrollment in the CAP Program and a PAR is not permitted.

ALJ Cheskis sustained the Complaint in part. He found that $2,615 of the balance was incurred while in the CAP Program and that the Complainant be permitted to make a one time payment in that amount and that the rest of the balance be paid over 24 months per Section 1405(b)(2).

The Complainant filed Exceptions stating that she can not make the lump sum payment. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID which correctly finds that the CAP portion of the arrearage is not permitted to be the subject of a PAR per Section 1405(c).

Exceptions denied and the ID adopted.
Section 1405(c) prohibits PAR on CAP arrearage.
PECO permitted to require upfront payment for CAP arrearage as condition of continued service.
PAR appropriate on non-CAP dollars per Section 1405 (b)(2).

Brown C. v. PECO

PM 8/2/12
Case # C-2011-2239827

Complainant seeks Reconsideration of the Order entered 1/27/12 which dismissed the Complaint. No Exceptions were filed and the Final Order was entered per Act 294. Complainant alleges she can not afford the PAR and needs assistance.

Petition for Reconsideration denied.
Petition did not address failure to appear at hearing.
PECO directed to contact Complainant to determine eligibility for CAP.

L. Richard Adamovich & Michael Salanick V. West Penn

PM 8/2/12
Case # C-2011-2256848 - L. Richard Adamovich v. West Penn
Case # C-2011-2247926 - Michael Salanick v West Penn

Two separate complaint from customers who suffered appliance damage due to a high voltage event on the electric distribution lines that serve their residence. West Penn alleges that a large live locust tree (outside of its ROW) broke and leaned into its facilities causing an outage. Tree was trimmed in 2006.

ALJ Long found that the record does not support a finding that the company failed to properly maintain the ROW or otherwise failed to render reasonable service. The Company’s vegetation and trimming maintenance is consistent with PUC Regulations.

ID Adopted

Statement Gardner
Vegetation management schedule must be balanced against the duty to provide safe, reliable and adequate service.
Company complimented on proactively revising its vegetation management program.

Curl v. PECO

PM 8/2/12
Case # C-2011-2270181

Complainant filed a timely appeal of the BCS Decision and seeks a PAR that has no upfront payment and $50 towards the arrearage of $3,679.65. PECO asserts the account balance is $8,430.88 of which $3,679.65 is CAP arrears.

ALJ Chestnut dismissed the complaint since the Complainant failed to prosecute the matter. At the hearing, the ALJ permitted the parties to attempt to settle the matter and while the Complainant did not disconnect from the telephonic hearing, no one spoke. PECO’s counsel left a message on another number listed for the account and the ALJ waited several days for the Complainant to contact her to explain why the hearing had been abandoned.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that they can not afford the upfront payment (CAP arrears). No Reply Exceptions were filed.

Exceptions denied and the ID adopted.
Precedent requires complaint be dismissed for failure to appear.
Even if hearing had been completed, PUC is limited to provide remedy in case since arrearage is CAP related and A PAR is prohibited under Section 1405(c).

Bethay v. PECO

PM 8/2/12
Case # F-2011-2266250

Complainant alleges a billing dispute but failed to show at the hearing.

ALJ Nguyen granted PECO’s Motion to Dismiss for failure to appear.

Complainant filed Exceptions attaching medical bills which reflect she was hospitalized at the time of the scheduled hearing. PECO filed Reply Exceptions arguing that the surgery was pre-scheduled and that the Complainant had the obligation to notify the PUC and ask for a continuance.

Exceptions denied and the ID adopted.
There is no dispute that the Complainant received the Hearing Notice.
While there appears to be good cause for continuance (schedule surgery), Complainant failed to follow procedure for continuance.

Maholik v. PECO

PM 8/2/12
Case # F-2011-2263263

Complainant alleges he was assessed a meter tampering fee of $920. He seeks a reduction in the fee. PECO asserts that the tampering fee is set forth in its Tariff and was properly assessed because service was used without PECO’s authority.

ALJ Nguyen sustained the complaint and found the Complainant not responsible for the fee which he deemed unreasonable based on his analysis of a PECO tampering fee of $350 in the matter of Jenkins v PECO. (In that case the tampering occurred over 13 days and in the present case, the time period was 2 years).

PECO filed Exceptions challenging the finding that the tampering fee of $920 was unreasonable since the fee is not related to the time period of the theft. Case # C-approved tariff, the fee is based on the costs incurred to investigate and to repair the tampering. Finally, PECO states that the ID is directly contrary to recent PUC precedent which found the tampering fee of $920 was reasonable (see Ouellette v PECO).

Exceptions denied and the ID adopted.
Duration of unauthorized usage is a relevant factor under PECO Tariff.
There was no evidence of damage to PECO’s equipment or that meter needed repair or replacement.
Testimony of PECO ($920 fee is standard) inconsistent with Tariff (factors dictate the calculation of the fee and be done on case by case basis).
PECO’s position changed in Exceptions and Tariff does not authorize a flat fee.

Cooper v. PECO

PM 8/2/12
Case # F-2011-2254904

Complainant timely appealed the BCS Decision alleging incorrect charges on her bill and seeks a PAR to avoid termination. She also disputed charges transferred from a previous property. PECO asserts that the balance of $11,764.10 is correct and that the Complainant incurred the charges at the prior property and failed to pay the final bill. PECO also asserts that a substantial portion of the balance is related to her enrollment in the CAP Program and a PAR is not permitted.

ALJ Cheskis sustained the Complaint in part. He found that $2,615 of the balance was incurred while in the CAP Program and that the Complainant be permitted to make a one time payment in that amount and that the rest of the balance be paid over 24 months per Section 1405(b)(2).

The Complainant filed Exceptions stating that she can not make the lump sum payment. PECO filed Reply Exceptions in support of the ID which correctly finds that the CAP portion of the arrearage is not permitted to be the subject of a PAR per Section 1405(c).

Exceptions denied and the ID adopted.
Section 1405(c) prohibits PAR on CAP arrearage.
PECO permitted to require upfront payment for CAP arrearage as condition of continued service.
PAR appropriate on non-CAP dollars per Section 1405 (b)(2).

Brown C. v. PECO

PM 8/2/12
Case # C-2011-2239827

Complainant seeks Reconsideration of the Order entered 1/27/12 which dismissed the Complaint. No Exceptions were filed and the Final Order was entered per Act 294. Complainant alleges she can not afford the PAR and needs assistance.

Petition for Reconsideration denied.
Petition did not address failure to appear at hearing.
PECO directed to contact Complainant to determine eligibility for CAP.

Gila Williams vs. PGW

PM 7/17/12
Case # C-2010-2197891

Complainant alleges that PGW failed to complete a repair to her basement wall where PGW’s service line enters the premise. PGW relies on the BCS Decision which found no liability on the part of the Company. PGW is willing to perform additional sealing work on the back of the basement wall and back of the front foundation wall if Complainant provides access to the space.

ALJ Melillo found that PGW rebutted the prima facie case of the Complainant by presenting credible evidence that it made all the repairs to its facilities for which it had access. The problem is the difficulty with accessing the service pipe located between the 2 foundation walls which is not of PGW’s creation but was due to the building design.

The ALJ did comment on the safety concerns associated with the Complainant’s service conditions i.e., PGW does not have readily available access to its service line in the event of a gas leak. PGW should consider another option of serving Complainant such as relocation of the service to an entry point from the back of the property.

Motion Gardner
Case remanded for further fact finding regarding the circumstances under which the conduit pipe and service line were installed.
Question for PUC is whether PGW knew or should have known that the service line and conduit pipe would be under the living room floor and therefore, difficult and costly to access for repair.
Matter also referred to Gas Safety Division to investigate whether there is a safety issue with the service line and what other actions may be warranted.

Linda Spotti v. Equitable Gas Co.

PM 7/17/12
Case # C-2011-2255047

Complainant alleges that her PUC PAR is too high and that she needs a lesser budget amount. Service at the premises had been terminated after Complainant defaulted on numerous PARs and in order to restore service, the Complainant was required to pay a budget amount plus $232 per month. The Complainant paid the restoration amount but has defaulted on the monthly arrearage plan. The outstanding balance is almost $5,000. The Company alleges that it is inappropriate to grant the Complainant another PAR.

ALJ Johnson dismissed the formal Complaint finding that the Complainant’s testimony lacked credibility in relevant parts. The ALJ specifically found that the Complainant’s testimony using the pronoun “our” to discuss the finances for the house leads to the reasonable conclusion that there is more than one occupant at the service address and, therefore, the income level has not been properly established. Furthermore, the Complainant offered no testimony as to how she maintained the house since November 2009 stating that she had no income.

The Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that the budget from the PUC is too high and she cannot afford it. She seeks to have a lower budget payment.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted.

PAR not appropriate since Complainant defaulted on numerous company PARs and 2 CAP enrollments.

Connie Connor v. PECO

PM 7/17/12
Case # F-2010-2205777

Complainant alleges that there are incorrect charges on her bill and that she never resided at the property where service was provided. She disputes the LPCs assessed for the non-payment on this bill and seeks full credit. PECO responds that the bills are correct and that the Complainant is not entitled to a PAR.

ALJ Hoyer dismissed the Complaint finding that the Complainant did not meet her burden of proof in that she provided no exhibits to show that she had lived somewhere else. PECO listed her as the customer of record from October 2008 to March 2009 and when that final bill was not paid, the outstanding balance was transferred to her new address.

Complainant filed Exceptions stating that she had been the victim of identity theft and that she had a lease to prove she was living elsewhere.

Motion Coleman
Remand not appropriate because it sends the wrong message to give the Complainant “another bite of the apple” simply because she did not make her case at the hearing.
Complainant to provide to PECO a copy of lease and evidence to validate claim of identity theft.
PECO should make the necessary billing adjustments if Complainant establishes to PECO’s satisfaction that she did not reside at the service address and did not benefit from the service.
A copy of the lease alone is not substantial evidence that the Complainant is not responsible for the service at the property since customers are permitted to have multiple service accounts.
PECO to advise BCS, in writing, of resolution.

Alfred Stempo v. Met Ed

PM 7/17/12
Case # C-2010-2200864

Complainant, a commercial customer, alleges that he is current with PAR but the company is demanding $9,000 to avoid termination. He alleges that the balance was forgiven in a prior settlement. Met Ed argues that the $9000 was transferred into the account after the Bankruptcy Petition was dismissed.

ALJ Coldwell dismissed the Complaint finding that that the prior settlement (the 2009 Formal Complaint) was not at issue and the Company properly froze those dollars after the bankruptcy filing.

The Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that the entire account and pre-bankruptcy amount were part of the 2009 settlement and that the Company’s failure to explicitly tell the Complainant that the pre-bankruptcy amount had been removed from the account and was not part of the settlement was a violation of Section 1501. Met Ed filed Reply Exceptions arguing that the pre-bankruptcy amount was never part of the 2009 Complaint and that the settlement document is clear as to what was settled.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted
Met Ed appropriately closed the pre-bankruptcy petition account and opened a new account.
Company appropriately added the petition arrearage into the Complainant’s account.
Complainant is a sophisticated customer who was repressed by counsel.

Enoch Jerome v. PECO

PM 7/17/12
Case # F-2010-2196584

Complainant alleges that he is being charged at a commercial rate when he should be charged a residential rate. He seeks a credit for all the over billing. PECO responds that the property was designated as commercial property at the time service was connected and billed. PECO changed the classification 12 days after being notified. PECO’s tariffs do not provide refunds retroactively unless it was the Company’s failure to respond to a customer’s request.

ALJ Pell denied the Complaint and found that the Complainant’s failure to review his bills from 2003 to 2010 and to notify PECO of the incorrect classification was not inadequate service on the part of PECO. The ALJ found that other than his testimony, the Complainant did not offer anything to demonstrate that he had, in fact, requested a residential rate in 2003 instead of the commercial rate. To the contrary PECO’s records reflect that the Complainant requested the commercial rate when he initiated the service.

The Complainant filed Exceptions reiterating the positions but provided no other explanation. PECO filed Reply Exceptions supporting the ID as being consistent with the record evidence. PECO also asserts that it has no obligation to provide the information requested by the Complainant, i.e. copy of every bill PECO has issued on his account and a comparison chart of what he would have paid had he been billed for residential.

Exceptions granted; ID reversed
PECO’s practice is to require a new commercial account to be completed for service but never produced a copy of the Complainant’s application.
PECO required to produce copy of all bills and difference between residential and commercial rates for the time period.

Brenda Pasel v. PECO

PM 7/17/12
Case # C-2010-2195209

Complainant alleges that her electric bills are incorrect and that the interest rate she is being charged is extremely high. She seeks to have her bill re-calculated at a PAR that she can afford.

PECO denies that the Complainant is unable to pay her bill and asserts that the Complainant has defaulted on prior PUC PARs and, therefore, is ineligible for a new PAR. Finally, PECO alleges that because the Complainant did not pay her bill timely and in full she was properly subjected to LPCs calculated consistent with PUC’s Regulations. The balance at the time of hearing was $13,609.23.

ALJ Salapa recommended that the Complaint be dismissed finding that the Complainant failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that PECO had improperly calculated its LPCs or in any way provided unreasonable service. The Complainant failed to specify a particular time period when the incorrect charges appeared on her bill. She simply checked the checked the box on the Complaint form in Paragraph 4. The ALJ ruled that the Complainant was not entitled to a new PAR because she failed to comply with the terms of the BCS Decision issued in 2010 which the Complainant did not appeal.

The Complainant filed Exceptions objecting to the fact that her case was transferred to Harrisburg where she did not have the opportunity to have an in-person hearing. She seeks to have PECO forgive the LPCs and establish to a PAR that she can afford. She states she simply can not pay $850 per month for LPC.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted.
No evidence to support discharging LPCs.
PECO appropriately charged 1.50% per month on unpaid balances.
Per Section 1405(d) and 1403, a PAR is not appropriate without a 20% decrease in income.

William Diedrich v. PECO

PM 7/17/12
Case # F-2010-2191381

Complainant alleges that his meter was broken and that PECO did not fix it in a timely manner and then charged him late fees. The Complainant argues that he should not have to pay so much money to PECO after PECO took so long to fix the problem and re-bill him. PECO admitted that the digital display on the meter was defective but readings were still transmitted. PECO denied its budget adjustments were improper.

ALJ Dunderdale ruled that PECO’s meter was defective and that the Complainant was over charged for services from October 2008 to May 2009. The ALJ found that PECO’s arguments that the meter was not defective (the RF was defective not the meter) and had elected to re-bill Complainant for business reasons alone were lacking in credibility. The ALJ stated that there was no reason why a public utility would elect or chose to charge for lower consumption than was recorded unless the public utility knows the recorded consumption was incorrect. The ALJ found that the Complainant met his burden of proof that he had been overcharged for electric services. However, he did not meet the burden of proof that the late charges assessed by PECO were assessed in error. The ALJ found that PECO provided unreasonable service and violated Section 1501 and recommended a fine of $1,000.

PECO filed Exceptions to the findings that it provided unreasonable service in taking 6 months to complete the high-bill investigation, the negative inference drawn from the fact that the meter was not tested and that the Complainant had met his burden of proof.

Exceptions granted in part; ID modified
PECO violated Section 1501 when it delayed multiple times in handling the high bill investigation (6 months to file written utility report to PUC).
Complainant failed to establish over-billing per Waldron.
PECO presented credible evidence that the digital display on the meter was defective and that actual consumption readings were being sent to PECO.
PECO accurately resolved the billing dispute by recalculating the bill to reflect the Complainant’s typical usage.
Complainant stopped making payment based on conversation with PECO.
Fine reduced to $250 since actions were not intentional.

Mimose Innocent v. PPL Electric

PM 7/17/12
Case # F-2010-2184996

Complainant alleges that her electric bills are too high and seeks another PAR. Complainant is a Level 3 customer who has defaulted on 23 payment arrangements since 2003. The past due balance at hearing was $4,865.71. PPL contends that it properly billed Complainant for usage and that the bill separately identified the charges from the EGS that the Complainant selected.

ALJ Jandebeur dismissed the Complaint finding that due to the Complaint’s failure to make a good faith effort to maintain previous PARs, another PAR is not warranted.

The Complainant filed Exceptions alleging that the supplier was charging too much and that she as single parent, she needs more time to pay off the balance. PPL filed Reply Exceptions alleging that Complainant provided no testimony during these hearings to support an allegation of improper billing.

Exceptions denied; ID modified
Due to the Complainant’s failure to maintain multiple prior PARs, she is not eligible for another PAR.
Crawford is not applicable since the Complainant was terminated for non payment.
No evidence presented on change in income.

Samy Azer vs. PPL

PM 6/21/12
Case # F-2011-2248345

This matter involves 2 complaints. In the first, the Complainant alleging safety, reliability or quality problems due to his commercial meter (he argues he should have a residential meter), seeks a refund of overcharging and PAR if there is any outstanding balance. In the second, the Complainant alleges that PPL has failed to remove a second meter on his property despite his numerous requests. PPL responds that the charges are correct (there are 2 meters) as billed and the Complaints should be dismissed.

ALJ Cheskis ruled that the Complainant at least on 5 occasions, based on PPL’s records and his testimony, requested that the 2nd meter be disconnected. PPL’s conduct was per se unreasonable in that it took 5 attempts to have service disconnected. The Complainant is not responsible for any charges from July 7, 2008 forward. PPL was ordered to remove the meter within 15 days due to the safety concerns reflected in the record. Regarding the high bill complaint, the ALJ ruled that the Complainant had not met his burden of proof based on the potential load profile and historical usage. The Complainant is a Level 1 customer and a PAR consistent with Chapter 14 was established.

ID adopted.

Willie Jessie vs. PGW

PM 6/21/12
Case # C-2011-2247087

Complainant alleges that he is not responsible for the gas bill since service was off when he purchased the property. PGW asserts that while it discontinued service at the request of the former owner in 2001, it discovered twice (and shut off by PGW) in 2003 that gas was in use at the property. A make up bill in the amount of $2,393.24 was issued. In 2004, BCS dismissed the informal complaint disputing the make up bill.

ALJ Nguyen dismissed the Complaint finding that the Complainant’s testimony was general in nature and contained only assertions. Furthermore, the Statute of Limitations barred the appeal of the BSC Decision after 6 ½ years.

The Complainant filed Exceptions stating that he never authorized gas service and that the property was vacant. PGW responds that the record reflects that service was twice turned on at the premise by someone other than PGW. As the owner of the property he is responsible.

Complainant’s Exceptions denied; ID adopted.
No record evidence that PGW unlawfully billed the Complainant or that he was billed in excess of its tariff rates.
PGW properly billed for the unauthorized gas usage at the service address owned by the Complainant and that such usage was based on actual meter readings.
The Complainant’s appeal of the BCS Decision was untimely since it was filed 6 years after BCS Decision was issued.
Complainant’s testimony was based on unsupported assertions devoid of any evidence.

James Munro vs. PECO

PM 6/21/12
Case # C-2010-2214718

Complainant alleges there are incorrect charges on his bill. PECO alleges that the Complainant is attempting to dispute charges for which he previously accepted responsibility and which was the basis for a PAR for that amount and that the charges are more than 3 years old and barred by Section 1312.

ALJ Vero dismissed the Complaint finding that the Complainant did in fact previously admit liability and the high bill dispute is barred by the Statute of Limitations. The ALJ found that the high balance was the direct result of his poor payment history. The high bill Complaint for the period December 2010 to January 2010 was also dismissed on the basis that any circumstantial evidence that was submitted to support his claim was insufficient to demonstrate that his potential for usage was low. His request for a 2nd PUC PAR was denied based on Crawford.

The Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing his record position. PECO filed Reply Exceptions noting the record support for the ALJ’s findings.

Complainant’s Exceptions denied; ID adopted as modified.
The ALJ accommodated the Complainant by arranging to start the hearing in the morning rather than the schedule time.
The Complainant’s testimony likely falls within an exception to the hearsay rule pertaining to an admission by a party-opponent. Testimony however, did not present new evidence nor was it dispositive to the outcome of the case.
ALJ did not exhibit bias in favor of PECO.
The Complainant was disputing charges for which he had continuously admitted liability based on the 3 prior PARs.
There is no record support that the Complainant entered into a PAR with PECO in 2008.
ALJ correctly ruled that the Complainant should not be reimbursed for paying current charges on his bills without contributing towards his arrearage.
ALJ properly applied the legal standard for evaluating high bill complaints.
ALJ properly did not address settlement discussion consistent with 52 PA Code §5.3231(d).
While PUC agreed with ALJ that the Complainant was not entitled to a PAR, the PUC disagreed with the ALJ’s reliance on Crawford since the present Complainant was an active customer unlike the customer in Crawford. PUC denied PAR since the Complainant did not present any evidence to demonstrate a change in his income.

Margaret Walzer vs. DQE

PM 6/7/12
Case # C-2011-2240934

Complainant alleges an inability to pay her electric bills. DQE asserts that the Complainant has defaulted on at least 1 PUC and company PAR. She is a Level 2 customer.

Special Agent Hunt found that the Complainant has a poor payment history and has made only 4 payments in 201. She did experience a change of more than 10% in her income per Section 1403. Under Section 1405(d) the PUC can issue a 2nd PAR but based on the Complainant’s conduct, the ALJ denied the request for a 2nd PAR.

ID adopted.

Daniel Schutzer vs. Columbia Gas

PM 6/7/12
Case # C-2010-2192381

Complainant seeks a refund for a portion of the customer charge when his service was terminated for non-payment. Columbia asserts its billing is correct.

ALJ Long ruled that Columbia does continue to assess a customer charge when service is terminated. The sole issue is whether the Complainant is due a refund? ALJ Long ruled that the Complainant was NOT entitled to a refund finding that Tariff Rule 13.1 is not mandatory and provides Columbia the discretion to prorate a customer charge if disruption is beyond the company’s control. The ALJ dismissed the argument that Columbia “voluntarily” interrupted his service—rather he was terminated for non-payment. Furthermore, the ALJ ruled that “there does not appear to be unreasonable service” (restoration was delayed 2 days for lack of access to the meter).

The Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that the ALJ’s interpretation of Tariff Rule 13.1 was incorrect in that the provision is mandatory that a refund be provided. He also objected to the conclusion that Columbia’s actions were not unreasonable arguing that the delay in restoring service and lack of termination notice (and timing) constituted unreasonable service. Columbia filed Reply Exceptions arguing that the Complainant’s reliance on the force majeure provision in the tariff was incorrect and the delay in restoration was the direct result of the Complainant’s conduct.

Exceptions denied and ID adopted.
Columbia Tariff Rule 13.1 in not applicable—that provision limits Columbia’s liability for damages resulting from failure to furnish sufficient supply of gas.
Columbia Tariff Rule 18 is applicable—relating to termination of service and there is no provision for the prorated monthly charge in the event of termination.
Complainant’s actions (voluntarily not paying his bill on time) resulted in the termination.
Columbia was within its rights to terminate and the restoration was delayed by the Complainant’s actions.

Guy Lauren vs. PGW

PM 6/7/12
Case # C-2008-2058148

Complainant alleges he did not authorize his tenants to initiate gas service and that PGW allowed the bill to accrue and he is not responsible for the debt. PGW asserts that the balance of $9,715 is for unauthorized usage and that the Complainant was aware that gas service had been initiated. The Complaint was amicably resolved in 2008 whereby the Complainant would provide occupancy dates for his tenants and that PGW would pro-rate the disputed amount between the tenants. The City of Philadelphia filed a lien for the outstanding balance in 2009 since one of the tenants (PHA) had not yet paid its portion of the bill. Complainant alleges by filing the lien, PGW reneged on the settlement. PGW responds that the imposition of the lien was not part of the settlement.

ALJ Fordham ruled that the Petition to enforce the Settlement was moot and the request to join PHA as an essential party was denied since PHA did not have to be joined in order to contest the bill and was not a party to the settlement.

The Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that the placement of the lien was not part of the settlement and should be barred. PGW asserts that the City has the right to file a lien for any outstanding monies owed to PGW and that the settlement never addressed the imposition of liens. Finally, PGW argues that the PUC does not have jurisdiction to entertain challenges to the municipal lien.

Exceptions denied and ID adopted.
PGW complied with the Settlement by billing the tenants for their proportionate share of gas used.
City of Philadelphia has the authority to file a lien for the unpaid portion.
The Settlement is silent on the City’s right to file the lien.
The filing of the lien by the City did not violate the terms of the Settlement between PGW and the Complainant.

Cawley dissented.

LaVerne Diggs vs. Columbia

PM 5/24/12
Case # C-2012-2284906

Complainant alleges that Columbia refused to provide gas service to the newly constructed home and that Columbia has facilities already on the property. Columbia argues that it does not provide service in the area and that the facilities located on the property are owned by an interstate pipeline transmission company, not by Columbia. In fact all conversations that were had by the Complainant were with the interstate company employees and did not speak with Columbia. Columbia seeks to have the complaint dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

ALJ Salapa granted the PO finding that the PUC does not have jurisdiction over the interstate pipeline company and cannot grant the relief requested.

ID adopted.

PGW v Fallyn Gardiner

PM 5/24/12
Case # F-2011-2244383

PGW appealed the BCS Decision which found the customer not liable for $8,374.07 for gas service to the premise. The customer alleges she contacted PGW and discontinued service.

ALJ Nguyen dismissed PGW’s appeal ruling that PGW had a “duty to inquire about the fact or condition in question” as to whether the customer had vacated the premise when it was unable to access the meter for several years. The ALJ ruled that the customer has given implied actual notice that she wished to have her service terminated.

ID adopted.

Cassie Wright vs. PECO

PM 5/10/12
Case # C-2011-2253839

Complainant filed Petition for Reconsideration of the PUC’s Final Order, 12/15/11, stating that the PECO rep lied and that she has never been on the CAP Rate. PECO filed its Answer stating that there was no basis for reversing the Final Order as the PUC does not have jurisdiction to entertain the issue of perjury.

ID adopted.

William Femea, Sr. vs. UGI Penn

PM 5/10/12
Case # C-2011-2231821

Complainant alleges an inability to pay his gas bills and that he has received a termination notice. Complainant is a Level 4 customer. There have been 4 defaulted company PARs. Balance is $3,607.27.

ALJ Alexander ruled that the Complainant was not entitled to a PUC PAR based on the precedent set forth in Buchanan v PiCase # F-200902137873

The Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that he just needs another chance with a more affordable PAR.
Exceptions granted and the ID modified.
Buchanan case is distinguishable because the complainant in that case was an applicant seeking to restore service following termination for non-payment. Here, service has not been terminated.
Section 1405(e) is not applicable since Complainant is not seeking reinstatement of a prior PUC PAR following a default.
PAR with 2 year payback period was ordered.

Harold Goldstein vs. Met Ed

PM 5/10/12
Case # F-2010-2203037

Complainant seeks PAR and is a timely appeal of the BCS Decision which granted a PAR. There have been 4 company PARs since 2008. The PUC PAR is the subject of the appeal. Balance is $3.578.26.

ALJ Cheskis ruled that based on his income, the Complainant was a Level 4 customer had the PAR had to retire the debt over a 2 year period per Section 1405 (b)(2).

The Complainant filed Exceptions stating he can not afford to pay the PAR established.

Exceptions denied and ID adopted.
PUC PAR is consistent with Section 1405 (i.e., 2 year payback period).
Complainant provides no basis to modify the ID.

Stanley Elliott vs. PECO

PM 5/10/12
Case # F-2010-2202059

Complainant alleges incorrect charges relating to an outstanding electrical bill from his uncle’s residence that was added to his account and for which PECO alleges he had accepted responsibility. Complainant disputed the claim and requested that the Commission determine who had the outstanding bill transferred in his name and to make that person responsible for paying it. PECO contends that the Complainant was not credible and that he lived at the premise during the period when the arrearage was accrued.

ALJ Coldwell sustained the Complaint finding that PECO continued to treat the account as a CAP account because of the uncle’s status and to apply a LIHEAP applied for and granted to the uncle.

PECO filed Exceptions arguing that it is irrelevant how the account was classified. The Complainant was added as the primary ratepayer and he benefited from the service – i.e., Complainant was customer as defined by Chapter 14.

Exceptions granted in part and the ID modified.
PECO failed to establish that the Complainant was responsible for the arrearage at his uncle’s residence.
The Complainant never followed through with the process of providing his ID as instructed by the company nor did he make any payment to restore service.
PECO never informed the Complainant of the amount of the arrearage at the time of the attempted transfer in October 2008.
ALJ’s reasoning that Complainant was not responsible since account was not removed from CAP or that the uncle applied for a LIHEAP grant was incorrect. The CAP and LIHEAP programs are not necessarily ratepayer specific.

Sharon Bracken vs. Champion Energy

PM 4/26/12
Case # C-2011-2256514

Complainant alleges a billing and service dispute with the EGS. She thought her contract with Champion was limited to a 3-month period and then her service would revert to PPL. It did not and as a result of a computer error, the Complainant did not receive any bill related to the EGS services for 4 months which would have reflected a higher rate was now effective. She did receive (and open) an electronic email that her contract had expired. The EGS did credit the account $204.24 which reflected the lower contract rate for the disputed period.

ALJ Barnes dismissed the Complaint rejecting the high bill claim and notice arguments. The ALJ found that the Complainant did not prove a prima facie case of high billing—reliance on a mistaken belief that her generation supplier has switched because she was receiving bills from PPL was not persuasive. Regarding notice, the ALJ found that the e-mail satisfied the PUC’s notice requirements. Judge Barnes did address the make-up bill sent by the EGS and found that the EGS failed to follow Chapter 56 by not sending a bill insert to explain the make-up bill or to set up a PAR for the period of the make-up bill in violation of Section 56.14. The ALJ fined the EGS $400 ($100 for each month).

Motion Coleman

The ID properly notes that Section 56.14 requires that make up bills be amortized and the Complainant should have been given a pay back period lasting as long as the period during which the unbilled service accrued. Champion, as a licensed EGS, is required to follow Chapter 56 billing regulations.

The issue of contract renewal notices being sent electronically was not raised as an issue. Suppliers who are using email contract renewal/change notices, are encouraged at a minimum to provide advance notice to customers of the intent to use email notices.

Wallace & Janet Martin vs. DQE

PM 4/26/12
Case # F-2010-2214227

Complainants allege unreasonable service in the manner that DQE handled a billing inquiry. The Complainants alleged they sent 5 money orders that were never credited to their account and as a result a 10-day notice was issued and $0.40 in LPCs was assessed.

ALJ Hoyer dismissed the Complaint finding that the Complainants did not produce any evidence regarding the amount or the date of the money orders. The 10-day notice was properly sent after BCS dismissed the informal complaint and that DQE provided reasonable and adequate service under Section 1501, even though the company incorrectly listed an incorrect phone number for the Complainants and was unable to contact the Complainants to discuss the matter.

ID adopted.

Michelle Adderton v PECO

PM 1-12-12
Case # C-2010-2176672

Complainant alleges incorrect charges relating to residential electric and gas service. She claims she moved in 2009 and her ex-husband should pay the outstanding balance of over $25,000. BCS denied the informal complaint and found that the Complainant failed to notify PECO to request service be discontinued.

ALJ Chestnut dismissed the complaint finding that the Complainant failed to discontinue service until 2009, in spite of the fact that she had contacted PECO on other matters in 2008, and continued to visit the property. The ALJ did state that although the balance appears high, it should be remembered that the arrearage was accrued over a number of years and included both electric and gas services.

ID adopted.

Wanda Ramaley v Penn Power

PM 1-12-12
Case # C-2010-2152571

Complainant alleges her payment of $2,157 was not properly credited to her account and seeks a lower PAR. Complainant was hospitalized and not available for the scheduled hearing. Judge sent a letter asking her what she wanted to do with her complaint. No response so DQE filed Motion to Dismiss for failure to prosecute.

ALJ Dunderdale issued an ID granting DQE’s Motion and dismissed the complaint with prejudice.

ID adopted.

Haleema Alkhatib v PECO

PM 1-12-12
Case # C-2011-2242125

Complainant alleges that NFG misread the gas meter and over-billed his rental property. NFG obtained an actual reading when the account was established and the total consumption for the 2 month period was $139.76. NFG offered to test the meter but the Complainant declined. The present customer (the tenant) has not complained to NFG regarding level of the gas bill.

ALJ Buckley ruled that the estimated meter readings were reconciled or “trued up” with the actual readings at the opening and closing of the account. ALJ applied Waldron and found that Complainant did not carry his burden that his bills were inaccurate. The Complainant did not provide any relevant facts or circumstances to support his contention that he was overbilled.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that the meter was never tested and it was NFG’s responsibility to test the meter. He also argues that the estimated bill was not correct since the estimate was based on bill from prior tenants’ consumption and had 3 people resided in the property and for the disputed period, the property was vacant. NFG filed Reply Exceptions noting that the Complainant had changed the scope of the complaint from NFG did not read the meter correctly to NFG failed to test the meter. NFG noted that the Complainant refused the meter test. Finally, the Company states that the estimated bill was of no consequence, since the opening and closing meter readings were based on actual readings.

Exceptions denied and ID adopted.
Complainant failed to prove bills were inaccurate.
Complainant did not meet any criteria under Waldron, i.e. energy potential, prior history.
Complainant’s arguments were based on a subjective comparison of the usage at the property as compared to usage at his other rental properties when they were vacant.
NFG offered to test the meter but the Complainant declined the offer.

Gerald S. Lepre v Equitable

PM 1-12-12
Case # C-2010-2189362

Complainant seeks reconsideration of the PUC Order which denied his complaint alleging that his gas service was improperly terminated without notice. He alleges that ALJ Johnson’s ID was based on the admittance of impermissible and unauthenticated hearsay evidence; he was prejudiced by not getting a free transcript; and that PUC never addressed his allegations of unreasonable service in handling the first settlement or the lack of billing and improper termination.

Equitable answered the Petition noting the inconsistencies in the Complainant’s testimony and that the PUC considered all relevant evidence in reaching its decision.

Petition denied.
There are no new or novel arguments or legal authority for Complainant’s position.
Issues raised in Petition are merely rearguments previously considered and rejected.

1-A Realty vs. PPLM

M 4/12/12
Case # F-2010-2166554

Complainant objects to the fact that as the owner of a trailer park, PPL has disconnected the street lights that were wired to meters serving individual residents thereby creating a foreign load situation and placed the account in his name. Each tenant was reimbursed $10 for the street lighting.

ALJ Buckley ruled that the Complainants’ reliance on a discontinued policy statement was misplaced. The willingness of the residents to agree to foreign wiring on their meters cannot supersede the requirements of Section 1529.1. The Complainant created a foreign load situation where none previously existed. The Complainant is responsible for the 21 electric accounts unless and until the foreign load is corrected.

The Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that the foreign load was corrected in August 2009 and that none of the residents complained about the foreign load. It was further argued that the changing PUC interpretation of Section 1529 renders the express language of the statute meaningless. PPL filed Reply Exceptions contending that the issue is that a foreign load situation existed and has not yet been resolved. PPL’s actions were consistent with Section 1529 and controlling case law.

Exceptions denied and ID adopted.
There are no “private agreement/lease exceptions” to Section 1529.
There is no de minimus exception to Section 1529.
Section 1529 imposes a mandatory obligation on utilities to transfer account into landlord’s name upon discovery of foreign load.
To correct the foreign load, the wiring for the street lights must be removed completely from the residents’ meters and the lights metered separately from any residential meter and account.
Company directed to work with Complainant to attempt to devise a mutually acceptable means of removing the foreign load from the tenant’s accounts.

ROY WINSTON VS PGW

PM 3/29/12
Case # C-2019-2181504

Complainant alleges there are incorrect charges on his bill (and that the account should be residential not commercial). PGW asserts the account is now properly classified as commercial (there is a mix use—residential, pool hall and grocery store). Customer was erroneously enrolled in CAP program but changed after it was discovered in 2009 that there was also a pool hall and grocery store being serviced from 1 heater. BCS issued PAR in March 2010 for budget plus $109 per month towards balance of $7,551.61. At the hearing, it was determined that the Complainant died in July 2010. PGW asserts that theCase # F-2010-2171931 which dismissed the previous complaint bars the present complaint from being litigated.

ALJ Jones found that the doctrine of res judicata was applicable and that the present complaint should be dismissed with prejudice.

Motion Gardner

  • Complaint should be dismissed but no on the doctrine of res judicata.
  • The previous complaint was dismissed for failure to prosecute and was not fully litigated on the merits so the doctrine of res judicata is not applicable.
  • Since the Complainant is deceased the normal remedy to remand is not applicable.
  • Matter dismissed without prejudice
LARRY AND GAIL NEWMAN VS PGW

PM 3/29/12
Case # C-2011-2273565

Complainants seek to have lien placed on property removed as a result of the outstanding balance incurred by their tenant for gas service. PGW filed PO challenging the PUC’s jurisdiction to entertain the complaint.

ALJ Nguyen granted the PO agreeing with PGW that the PUC lacks the authority to hear the complaint regarding the lien imposed by the City of Philadelphia.

The Complainants filed Exceptions stating that the PUC does have authority to address why PGW provided service with no payment for 3 years. PGW filed Reply Exceptions noting that no error of fact or law was raised and arguments raised by the Complainant are “merely a collateral attack on the filing of the liens”. Furthermore, PGW followed proper procedure regarding the “user without a contract” and attempted to have the resident of the property apply for service which eventually happened.

Exceptions denied and ID modified.

  • PUC does not have authority over municipal liens and cannot grant the relief requested.
  • Complainants raised 3 claims of unreasonable service in Answer to PO.
  • Complainants cannot object to PGW not issuing bill for 3 years since they were not the customer.
  • Complainants object to PGW continuing to provide service without payment and PUC expressed concern that PGW placed property in a “placeholder” account without identifying the customer or receiving payment for service.
  • Complainants object that PGW did not notify then of the Landlord Cooperation Program but PUC ruled failure not violation of Section 1501.

Statement Witner

  • Concerned that PGW created a “placeholder” account and waited 2 years before taking action to identify the new customer of record and yet continued to provide service.
  • Utilities must be diligent in timely determining the correct party to bill rather than allowing a sizable balance to accrue over a number of years in a “placeholder” account.
THEODORE PRESUTTI VS DQE

PM 3/29/12
Case # F-2010-2174509

Complainant contends he was overcharged in 2008, 2009 and 2010 because “the billing amount was sometimes different even though my consumption remained the same.” Complainant states his 2006 discounted rate should continue indefinitely. Meter was tested twice and found operating within PUC Regulations. Since 2007 the rates and surcharges charged by DQE changed 29 times to reflect approved rates and surcharges.

ALJ Long dismissed the Complaint finding that the bills as rendered and the recorded consumption were correct. Average usage remained consistent from year to year. A PAR consistent with Level 1 income was granted since he has not previously had a PUC PAR.

Complainant filed Exceptions restating argument that if consumption is the same, the bill amount should also be the same and that his discounted rate from 2006 should continue. DQE responds that all charges are correct (Complainant fails to grasp line item surcharges, etc.) and that it can not provide a discounted rate for him and not other customers per Section 1304. Recent changes to the company’s rates reflect an effort to bring customer rates in line with market rates. His account does continue to receive a discount on distribution charges during the winter heating months.

Complainant’s Exceptions denied and the ID modified.

  • ID modified to include Waldron discussion.
  • Complainant failed to establish that potential for usage was low.
  • Complainant’s average consumption has only changed slightly.
  • PAR given to repay balance in 2 years.
Melissa Randall v. PECO

PM 3/15/12
Case # C-2011-2219901

Complainant alleges the PAR she received from her last Formal Complaint is not affordable and she was not able to comply. She requests a new PAR. PECO answered that the PAR granted in the last Formal Complaint granted the Complainant a 6 month PAR on the outstanding balance of $10,770 and that there had not been a change in income so the doctrine of res judicata applied.

ALJ Jones issued an ID finding that the change in household income was not legally sufficient (Section 1403 and 1405(d)) and the PUC could not issue a subsequent PAR.

The Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that the “facts” in the ID are incorrect (son had unemployment not husband and debt older than 4 years does not have to be paid) and that the terms for the PAR for her account continually changed from year to year. Finally she asserts that she can not comply with the PAR and is willing to pay $200 each month plus usage. PECO filed Reply to Exceptions arguing that the Complainant’s “change in income” does not meet the 20% threshold as required by Chapter 14.

Exceptions granted in part; Initial Decision modified.

  • Subsequent PAR denied since change in income was less than 7% (need 20%) per Sections 1407(d) and Section 1403.
  • Per Section 1405(b) the arrearage must be paid off within 6 months.
  • ID modified to reflect correct household income (did not affect result).
Donald Hale v. UGI Penn Gas

PM 3/1/12
Case # C-2010-2206955

Complainant objects to his tenant’s account being placed in his name once foreign load was discovered. He claims he corrected the problem in 2006. UGI states that the predecessor utility said the problem was corrected, but after receiving another tenant complaint UGI inspected and found a foreign load in April 2010.

ALJ Corbett dismissed the complaint finding that foreign load currently exists. The finding of the predecessor utility is irrelevant. Section 1529.1 is clear—the property owner is financially responsible for a tenant’s entire account once foreign load is verified on the tenant’s utility service.

The Complainant filed Exceptions stating that he fixed the problem in 2006 and it is not fair that he is responsible for $2,000 gas bill. UGI filed Reply Exceptions arguing that even the Complainant agrees that a foreign load currently exists at the property and per Section 1529.1, the Complainant is responsible for the account until the current foreign load is corrected.

Exceptions denied and the ID adopted.

  • UGI appropriately placed the 1st floor tenant’s account in the Complainant’s name per Section 1529.1.
  • Complainant never denied that foreign load existed in 2010 and did not present any evidence to the contrary.
  • Per Ace Check Cashing, utility, upon discovering foreign load, MUST list the account, including any arrearages, in the landlord’s name.
  • The landlord is then responsible for paying the utility bills until the foreign load is corrected.
  • After the foreign load is corrected by the landlord and verified by the utility, the utility is to place the account back in the tenant’s name.
  • However, the landlord remains responsible for any arrearages on the tenant’s account.
  • Rule applies even if the amount of usage attributable to foreign load is considered de minimus.
  • Issues between tenant and landlord are not within PUC jurisdiction but Court of Common Pleas.
Faye Payne vs. PGW

PM 2/16/12
Case # C-2011-2247124

Complainant objects to the lien placed by the City for a debt to PGW stating she has not been a landlord since 2008. PGW filed PO arguing that the PUC does not have authority to hear complaints regarding the Municipal Lien Act.

ALJ Salapa granted the PO and dismissed the Complaint finding that the PUC lacks jurisdiction to determine the validity of the lien placed on the property by the City of Philadelphia or to order PGW to remove the lien.

The Complainant filed Exceptions stating that she never got her hearing since the PO was granted. She challenges the accuracy of the bills rendered and asserts that the PUC can hear complaints that raise the accuracy of bills. PGW responded that the issue is not the accuracy of the bills but rather the City’s ability to place a lien on the property for unpaid gas charges. Finally, PGW asserts that the Complainant had the opportunity to respond to the PO but choose not to respond.

Exceptions denied and ID adopted.

  • The Complainant misinterpreted the Notice and thought a hearing had been held without her. No hearing was necessary since legal issues not factual are properly raised.
  • The PUC does not have jurisdiction to hear the matter.
  • To the extent that the Complainant is challenging the accuracy of her bills, it is a collateral attack on the authority of the City to collect unpaid gas bills by filing liens under the Municipal Lien Act.
  • Case is distinguishablCase # C-2010-2213955, in that complainant in Vicario was the customer and not the owner of the property.
  • Carlock precedent (hearing for pro se complainants) is not applicable.
Carla Nixon vs. PECO

PM 2/16/12
Case # C-2011-2240763

Complainant alleges she never lived at or received service at the property on Germantown Avenue in Philly. PECO asserts that the bills are accurate and she also owes for former address balances (for each prior address there is an outstanding balance). The total outstanding balance is $8,227. Customer has defaulted on several PARs.

ALJ Nguyen ruled that per Section 1407 was not applicable since he believed the Complainant when she testified that she never lived at the Germantown address. The ALJ stated that while a customer assumes a moral obligation to pay a bill that has been placed in their name, if they do not live at the premise, there is no obligation to pay the bill.

PECO filed Exceptions stating the Complainant testified that her mother placed the service in her name but offered no evidence to support the “bald assertion.” PECO also argues that the ALJ’s interpretation of Chapter 14’s definition for customer is incorrect because there is no provision in Chapter 14 that requires a customer reside at the premise (and such a conclusion is inconsistent with PECO’s tariff which defines the contract between the company and customer).

PECO’s Exceptions granted and ID reversed.

  • Complainant was not able to provide evidence to support claim that she did not call PECO to request service at the Germantown address to show she took reasonable actions to remove the service from her name once she was aware that she was being billed.
  • PECO’s tariff does not require that the party responsible for payment of a residential account must reside at that service address. The Complainant is lawfully receiving service per the tariff and is obligated to pay for the service.
  • ALJ erred in establishing a PAR since she has defaulted on 3 previous PARs and no change in income. See Section 1405(d).
Catherine Brown vs. PECO

PM 2/16/12
Case # C-2011-2239827

Complainant alleges an inability to pay. She failed to appear at the scheduled hearing. ALJ Nguyen dismissed the complaint with prejudice for failure to appear. ID became final per Act 294. Complainant filed Petition for Reconsideration stating that she was without access to mail or a computer and was not aware of the hearing and seeks an affordable PAR.

  • Petition for Reconsideration granted pending further consideration on the merits.
Mary Jane Nestorick vs. UGI

PM 2/16/12
Case # C-2010-2207799

Complainant filed a Petition to Reopen the Record after she failed to appear at the scheduled hearing. Complainant had received a termination notice and sought another PAR. She did not appear at the hearing. ALJ Dunderdale ruled that a result of the Complainant’s failure to appear at the hearing, that the complaint should be dismissed with prejudice. The Complainant alleges she was unaware of the hearing and seeks her day in court. No response was filed to the Petition.

Petition denied and ID adopted.

  • There is no reason to believe that conditions of fact or of law have so changed as to require, or that the public interest requires, the reopening of the proceeding.
Mary Jane Nestorick vs. UGI

PM 2/16/12
Case # C-2010-2202901

Complainant filed a Petition to Reopen the Record after she failed to appear at the scheduled hearing. Complainant had received a termination notice and sought another PAR. She did not appear at the hearing. Special Agent Tiffany Hunt ruled that as a result of the Complainant’s failure to appear at the hearing, that the complaint should be dismissed with prejudice. The Complainant alleges she was unaware of the hearing and seeks her day in court. No response was filed to the Petition.

Petition denied and ID adopted.

  • There is no reason to believe that conditions of fact or of law have so changed as to require, or that the public interest requires, the reopening of the proceeding.
Donna Sue Parsons vs. West Penn

PM 2/16/12
Case # C-2010-2177252

Complainant disputes bills for residential electric service claiming that the Company has not properly credited the account for payments and engaged in collection action after the payments were made and improperly charged a security deposit. Company asserts that all payments were credited and a balance is owed in the amount of $734.44.

ALJ Corbett ruled that (1) the Company was permitted to request a security deposit under Section 1404(a)(3) since the Complaint defaulted on 2 or more PARs; (2) the bills for the account were consistent with seasonal changes and potential load; (3) all payments were properly applied as reflected on the monthly bills; and (4) all collection activity was appropriate and proper.

Exceptions denied and ID adopted.

  • While Complainant did satisfy the first criterion in Waldron, she failed to establish that her potential for energy utilization was low or that her prior billing history showed no previous abnormalities.
  • The Complainant’s entire argument was based on a subjective assessment as to what the bill should be rather than objective evidence of low usage.
  • All payments were properly credited.
  • All collection activity occurred when the account was in arrears status and nothing improper occurred.
Schrum v. Dominion

PM 1-27-12
Case # C-2010-2215571

Complainant opposes proposed rate increase and contest need to call NGS for lower commodity charge. NGS joined in matter and contends PUC lacks subject matter jurisdiction. Both the supplier and Dominion

ALJ Dunderdale ruled that the doctrine of res judicata prevents rate increase action being relitigated. Regarding the NGS complaint, the ALJ agreed with the supplier that the PUC is not empowered to regulate or monitor NGS charges for commodity.

Motion Gardner

  • PUC does have jurisdiction over NGS re consumer services and protection. This power is not insubstantial under the Code, Sections 2208 (a) and (c)(2).
  • Disclosure statements, many relating to price, require that the marketed prices match the billed prices. Section 62.75.
  • Complainant does not allege any violation for the local distribution company (Dominion), their POs are granted.
Nia Peterson v. PGW

PM 1-27-12
Case # F-2010-2215379

Complainant alleges incorrect charges specifically that PGW charged her to replace her meter even though rep said there would be no charge. PGW asserts AMR for meter stopped reporting electronic reads from 6/2009 to 10/2010. Meter was tested and tampering of meter detected. Make up bill issued for $2,102.63 from actual read of meter. Complainant is enrolled in CRP program.

ALJ Vero found make up bill correct. Complainant used the gas and must pay for it. No fine assessed for 1501 violation for not noticing zero recordings for 15 months. ALJ followed PUC precedent not to fine PGW since municipally owned entirely.

Statement Gardner

  • PGW ignored an active account which registered zero usage for 15 months and only discovered that the AMR device was not working when it was investigating a gas leak.
  • PGW should establish an internal policy to effectively monitor for unauthorized use.
  • Under Section 1501, gas companies have a duty to monitor their distribution facilities.

Statement Witmer

  • Troubled by PGW’s lack of diligence in investigating and correcting situations where AMRs consistently record zero readings.
  • PGW strongly encouraged to use the information that it has readily available to actively pursue every opportunity to investigate and correct zero readings in a timely fashion, especially in light of its financial condition.
Margaret & Alan Katz for Michael Katz v. PPL

PM 1-27-12
Case # F-2010-2211384

Complainants filed complaint on behalf of Customer (son and brother) regarding a billing error. A 10- day notice was sent by PPL for outstanding bill of $3,000. Customer has Asperser’s Syndrome and receives SSI. The Complainants chastise the company for not contacting Complainants when the bills went unpaid so the large arrearage would not have accumulated. The Complainants want the balance removed. PPL filed PO challenging the Complainants’ standing to bring the Complaint. PPL denies the incorrect charges and states that it could not share Customer’s private information with others. PPL filed a PO challenging the standing of the Complainants who neither reside at the property nor have power of attorney for Customer.

ALJ Salapa granted PPL’s PO and dismissed the Complaint without prejudice finding that standing is not properly raised in PO but new matter. The proper vehicle is Motion for Summary Judgment. Issue of standing was timely raised. No material issues in dispute (Complainants acknowledge they are not authorized to act on Customer’s behalf).

Complainants filed Exceptions stating that mother had been customer of record but PPL removed her. PPL filed Reply Exceptions arguing that Complainants do not meet definition of customer and have not offered evidence that either their name appears on mortgage, deed or lease for property.

Exceptions granted; ID reversed and remand for hearing.

  • The Complainants alleged an ownership in the service location during the exceptions stage.
  • The allegation of the Customer’s disability has been on record since the beginning.
  • Under Carlock, PUC will not dismiss a pro se complaint on procedural grounds without first giving the pro se complainant the opportunity to explain position.
  • Matter remanded to permit Complainants to orally describe their basic issue and supporting facts.
  • PPL encouraged to meet with Complainant to determine if matter can be settled.
Schrum v. Dominion

PM 1-27-12
Case # C-2010-2215571

Complainant opposes proposed rate increase and contest need to call NGS for lower commodity charge. NGS joined in matter and contends PUC lacks subject matter jurisdiction. Both the supplier and Dominion

ALJ Dunderdale ruled that the doctrine of res judicata prevents rate increase action being relitigated. Regarding the NGS complaint, the ALJ agreed with the supplier that the PUC is not empowered to regulate or monitor NGS charges for commodity.

Motion Gardner
PUC does have jurisdiction over NGS re consumer services and protection. This power is not insubstantial under the Code, Sections 2208 (a) and (c)(2).
Disclosure statements, many relating to price, require that the marketed prices match the billed prices. Section 62.75.
Complainant does not allege any violation for the local distribution company (Dominion), their POs are granted.

Nia Peterson v. PGW

PM 1-27-12
Case # F-2010-2
215379

Complainant alleges incorrect charges specifically that PGW charged her to replace her meter even though rep said there would be no charge. PGW asserts AMR for meter stopped reporting electronic reads from 6/2009 to 10/2010. Meter was tested and tampering of meter detected. Make up bill issued for $2,102.63 from actual read of meter. Complainant is enrolled in CRP program.

ALJ Vero found make up bill correct. Complainant used the gas and must pay for it. No fine assessed for 1501 violation for not noticing zero recordings for 15 months. ALJ followed PUC precedent not to fine PGW since municipally owned entirely.

Statement Gardner
PGW ignored an active account which registered zero usage for 15 months and only discovered that the AMR device was not working when it was investigating a gas leak.
PGW should establish an internal policy to effectively monitor for unauthorized use.
Under Section 1501, gas companies have a duty to monitor their distribution facilities.

Statement Witmer
Troubled by PGW’s lack of diligence in investigating and correcting situations where AMRs consistently record zero readings.
PGW strongly encouraged to use the information that it has readily available to actively pursue every opportunity to investigate and correct zero readings in a timely fashion, especially in light of its financial condition.

Margaret & Alan Katz for Michael Katz v. PPL

PM 1-27-12
Case # F-2010-2211384

Complainants filed complaint on behalf of Customer (son and brother) regarding a billing error. A 10- day notice was sent by PPL for outstanding bill of $3,000. Customer has Asperser’s Syndrome and receives SSI. The Complainants chastise the company for not contacting Complainants when the bills went unpaid so the large arrearage would not have accumulated. The Complainants want the balance removed. PPL filed PO challenging the Complainants’ standing to bring the Complaint. PPL denies the incorrect charges and states that it could not share Customer’s private information with others. PPL filed a PO challenging the standing of the Complainants who neither reside at the property nor have power of attorney for Customer.

ALJ Salapa granted PPL’s PO and dismissed the Complaint without prejudice finding that standing is not properly raised in PO but new matter. The proper vehicle is Motion for Summary Judgment. Issue of standing was timely raised. No material issues in dispute (Complainants acknowledge they are not authorized to act on Customer’s behalf).

Complainants filed Exceptions stating that mother had been customer of record but PPL removed her. PPL filed Reply Exceptions arguing that Complainants do not meet definition of customer and have not offered evidence that either their name appears on mortgage, deed or lease for property.

Exceptions granted; ID reversed and remand for hearing.
The Complainants alleged an ownership in the service location during the exceptions stage.
The allegation of the Customer’s disability has been on record since the beginning.
Under Carlock, PUC will not dismiss a pro se complaint on procedural grounds without first giving the pro se complainant the opportunity to explain position.
Matter remanded to permit Complainants to orally describe their basic issue and supporting facts.
PPL encouraged to meet with Complainant to determine if matter can be settled.

Jallah Buku v PECO

PM 1-12-12
Case # F-2011-2243597

Complainant seeks PAR that “considers his income”. BSC dismissed the informal complaint because the previous PUC PAR was broken. The day of the hearing, the Complainant notified the ALJ of car problems and that he would catch the train. Complainant arrived at 3:35

PM (for 1:30 hearing). ALJ issued Order requesting evidence that his car was not working; nothing has been filed.

ALJ Jones dismissed the complaint without prejudice for failure to comply with ALJ Order.

ID adopted.

James & Patricia Reagan v DQE

PM 1-12-12
Case # C-2010-221
1621

Complainants allege DQE intentionally delayed service even though they paid for underground service to their building. Complainants did not appear at the hearing.

ALJ Hoyer dismissed the complaint with prejudice for failure to appear and prosecute.

ID adopted.

Lidia Herrera v PPL

PM 1-12-12
Case # F-2010-2198869

Complainant seeks PAR. Special Agent Alexander sustained the complaint.

Motion Gardner

Purpose of setting PAR based on income is to insure that PAR is affordable.

Remand for limited purpose of obtaining current income info and establishing PAR.

Rameses Lee v PGW

PM 1-12-12
Case # F-2010-2176674

Complainant alleges there are incorrect charges on his bill. PGW asserts the disputed $1800 is from a make up bill for the period 10/19/07 through 3/12/08 as a result of an error that did not assign the complainant’s account to a billing cycle until 4/08. Complainant is no longer a PGW customer.

ALJ Pell ruled that PGW Exhibit 6 was relevant and admitted. Regarding the high bill complaint, ALJ Pell found that the customer has the potential for the usage (testimony supports finding that heater was not working and after the landlord fixed it, bills returned to normal usage). ALJ Pell also ruled the Waldron Rule could not be applied since the complainant is challenging the period, which includes the initiation of service at the service address, i.e., no normal reading baseline for comparison purposes. A PAR could not be established since the Complainant is no longer a customer.

ID adopted.

Michelle Adderton v PECO

PM 1-12-12
Case # C-2010-2176672

Complainant objects to PECO holding her responsible for her mothers’ bills. PECO asserts that the Complainant used and benefited from the service during the period when the balance accrued. Balance is $2,872.96. The Complainant did not appear at the hearing.

ALJ Pell dismissed the complaint for failure to appear and prosecute the complaint.

ID adopted.

Wanda Ramaley v Penn Power

PM 1-12-12
Case # C-2010-2152571

Commercial customer objects to the termination for non payment since the company could have extended the shut off date so as to allow the business to recoup weekend revenues which would have been used to prevent termination. Complainant seeks damages and lost revenues. Penn Power seeks to dismiss the complaint since the Complainant is a corporation and counsel is needed since the proceedings have become adversarial. Prior to the scheduled hearing, the Complainant notified the ALJ that she had filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection and could not hire an attorney without the court’s approval. Ms. Ramaley was prepared to testify as to what assets were included in the Chapter 13 filing.

ALJ Dunderdale issued an ID dismissing the complaint since counsel for the corporation was not present to prosecute the complaint. The ALJ did state that Ms. Ramaley could testify as to facts surrounding the Chapter 13 filing since she was an officer for the corporation.

ID adopted.

Haleema Alkhatib v PECO

PM 1-12-12
Case # C-2011-2242125

Complainant refused to pay for service with cash and instead states only gold or silver coins are lawful money. PECO filed a PO claims the PUC does not have subject matter jurisdiction (negotiability of an instrument) and the complaint should be dismissed.

ALJ Hoyer found the complaint legally insufficient and portions scandalous and granted the PO and dismissed the complaint.

The Complainant filed Exceptions challenging the finding that the PUC has jurisdiction, his complaint is legally sufficient and no portion of the complaint should be stricken. PECO filed Reply Exceptions supporting the legal analysis in the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID modified; PO granted in part; and complaint dismissed.

PUC does not have jurisdiction to determine the negotiability of the instruments that the Complaisant tendered to PECO as payment for service.

Since the PUC does not have jurisdiction, Compliant was legally insufficient.

Request to dismiss on grounds of scandalous or impertinent denied.

Unlike Carlock, the present case does not rest of the ability of the Complainant to describe the factual underpinnings of her Complaint, so hearing not required.

Gerald S. Lepre v Equitable

PM 1-12-12
Case # C-2010-2189362

Complainant filed a Petition for Reconsideration of the PUC Order entered 8/12/11 which denied the Complaint but did find that not all the issues were resolved by the settlement. No response to the Petition was filed.

Petition denied.

Motion Cawley

Complainant did not notify PUC of change of address so PUC was not able to serve the Order.

Letter filing will be treated as extension to file Petition for Reconsideration so that he can lay out his substantive arguments for reconsideration.

Orlando Rivera v PGW

PM 1-12-12
Case # C-2010-2164222

Complainant alleges that he was overbilled. His gas service was shut off in 2001 but in 2010 he received a bill for $13,000. Complainant also alleges that he received estimated bills for several years before service was terminated. PGW asserts that while the service was terminated, a tampered meter bypass was found at the commercial property and the bill for $13,000 was for unauthorized gas use.

ALJ Nguyen found that no violation of PUC regulations occurred by PGW issuing estimated bills for over 2 years. The ALJ also ruled that the make up bill as rendered needed to be recalculated so that the charges are clearly identified.

The Complainant filed Exceptions that PGW did not prove that gas was used and that PGW did not check the property at least once a year to determine that gas was not being used. PGW argues that the Complainant did not carry his burden of proof and accepts the ALJ’s directive to recalculate the charges for estimated unmetered usage for the period 3/14/02 and 9/14/02.

Exceptions denied; Complaint dismissed; limited remand to OALJ.
Exceptions did not identify any FOF or COL as being erroneous.
Complainant did not provide sufficient record evidence to support a finding that the ALJ did not consider all of the record evidence in making his decision.
No evidence to support assertions that he used alternative heating source.
No evidence to reflect tampering allegations.
Record is clear and unrefuted that meter was tampered with and had been by-passed.
Remand limited to amount of gas to be billed and methodology for unbilled gas between 3-14-02 to 9-14-06.
Consideration should be given to variation in monthly consumption of gas the Complainant is likely to or had the propensity to consume during the time period in question.

Statement Gardner

Reminder to gas utilities the importance of monitoring facilities, including dormant ones, to deter theft.
Utilities under Section 1501 should have internal policy to monitor dormant commercial and industrial accounts for unauthorized usage.

Michelle Chavous v. PECO Energy

Final Order Entered 12/20/2011
Case # F-2010-2215689

Final Order overruling/reversing a BCS decision, finding that the Commission lacked jurisdiction to issue payment terms to a customer under an active Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition, and making final the ALJ’s Initial decision. The Commission does not have jurisdiction over a customer’s request for a payment agreement if that customer has an active Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition pending. The U.S. Bankruptcy courts have exclusive jurisdiction over the customer’s assets. All claims against a debtor, including claims arising subsequent to the filing of a petition, are to be adjusted and paid in accordance with the plan required by Chapter 13. Thus, the customer filing a petition for personal bankruptcy has preempted the commission from establishing any payment schedule with respect to amounts owed by the Customer to PECO Energy. See, e.g., Cyprian Anyanwu v. Philadelphia Electric Company, Docket No. Z-15243299: 55 Pa PUC 221; Nardelli v. Duquesne Light Company, Docket No. Z-00426416 (1999). The customer must seek relief from the bankruptcy courts.

Lorrie Reynolds v PPL

PM 12/15/11
Case # C-2011-2255268

Complainant alleges she was unaware that the owner of the residence put service in her name until she moved and received a bill from PPL for $562. PPL filed a PO since the same Complaint had been liCase # F-2009-2113220 and a Certificate of Satisfaction had been filed resolving that Complaint.

ALJ Cheskis granted the PO finding that the 2011 Complaint was barred by the doctrine of res judicata. The 2009 Complaint pertains to the same issues, causes of action, parties and capacities so Complainant is barred from a second bite of the apple.

Motion Cawley

  • The Doctrine of res judicata does not apply when there was never a final decision by the PUC on the merits.
  • Case here, the Certificate of Satisfaction precludes the complainant from raising the same claims before the PUC a second time.
  • PPL entitled to relief as a matter a law (no facts in dispute).
Cathryn Hilty v PECO

PM 12/15/11
Case # C-2011-2249575

Complainant seeks a PAR which BCS denied since she defaulted on a PUC PAR and there had been no change in income. Prior to the hearing, the Complainant notified the ALJ that she needed a new hearing since she just got out of the mental hospital. Complainant did not appear at the hearing.

ALJ Chestnut dismissed the Complaint for failure to appear and prosecute.

ID adopted.

Cassie Wright v PECO

PM 12/15/11
Case # C-2011-2253839

Complainant alleges that PECO’s counsel misrepresented the fact during the hearing. She asserts she is not on the Cap Rate Program. This is the 3rd complaint filed regarding the CAP arrearage. PECO filed a PO arguing that this Complaint does not set forth a violation and the PUC does not have jurisdiction to entertain matters of perjury.

ALJ Barnes granted the PO dismissing the present Complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The Complainant filed Exceptions that consisted of page 2 of the ID with sentences blacked out. PECO filed Reply Exceptions stating that the ID should be adopted.

Exceptions denied and ID adopted.

Cawley result only

  • Even Complainant is pro se, it is appropriate to grant PO without hearing since there are no factual disputes.
  • PUC does not have jurisdiction to impose sanction for alleged perjury from the utility’s attorney.
Robbin Bass v PPL

PM 12/15/11
Case # F-2010-2205686

Complainant alleges a high bill ($1,200). PPL tested the meter and conducted a load test.

ALJ Jandebeur ruled that nothing in the record showed any anomalies to account for the usage. The usage stands as the correct assessment of the Complainant’s usage. She dismissed the Complaint for failure to make a prima facie case.

The Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that her history of usage does not comport with the high bill and she seeks a PAR. PPL filed Reply Exceptions stating that the customer had the potential to use the electricity; the meter was tested and is operating correctly.

Exceptions granted in part; Complaint dismisses and remanded to OALJ to establish a PAR.

  • Record supports that the meter had not malfunctioned.
  • The new meter continued to register higher than historic readings for Oct and Dec 2010 and Jan 2011.
  • Complainant did not present any direct proof to show that the metered use has exceeded the actual use.
  • Complainant should not face termination because although she failed to comply with the BCS PAR, she did pay more than what would have been required under BCS PAR.
  • Matter remanded to determine a PAR under Section 1405 and the amount of the arrearage on the account.
Ethan Clay v. DQE

PM 12/1/11
Case # C-2011- 2226084

Complainant alleges his commercial service was improperly terminated and wants all termination notices to go to the billing address as well as the service address. Complainant waits till he gets the 3 day notice before he pays his bill

ALJ Corbett ruled that the Company terminated service in violation of the Notice provisions in that personal contact was not attempted. Section 55.2(a). ALJ ordered that the reconnection fee and security deposit be refunded. Finally a fine of $250 was assessed for violation of PUC regulations.

Motion Coleman

  • DQE did not violate regs by hand delivering the termination notice to the service address rather than the billing address.
  • Section 55.2(b) does not require delivery of the 72 hour termination notice to the billing address.
  • Security and reconnection charges were appropriate.
  • Complainant was familiar with termination process; notice was received at the service location and utility not responsible if the notice was mishandled by him/or employees

Joint Statement Gardner and Cawley
Regs should be reviewed so that the ambiguity is corrected.

Dissent Witmer

Linda Nelson v. PECO

PM 12/1/11
Case # F-2010-2195222

Complainant alleges that PECO put $15,541 on her bill and that she is not responsible and wants the charges removed. PECO asserts that the amount was transferred from a previous address where the Complainant terminated electric service but never terminated the gas service before she vacated the property. The bill is for the period 2004 until October 2009 and also included an electrical tampering fee (PECO did not bill for the electric used just the fee).

ALJ Pell ruled that the Complainant was legally responsible for the service since she vacated the property without requesting termination of the gas service. He also ruled that the tampering fee was appropriate since the Complainants did not offer anything to demonstrate that the tampering fee should not be assessed against her account.

ID adopted.

Mark Mazza v. PECO

PM 12/1/11
Case # C-2011-2235775

Complainant filed 4 complaints (#1 & 2 are on appeal to Commonwealth Court and #3 was dismissed by ALJ Salapa) regarding the termination notice he received for non-payment. He alleges that the termination notice includes charges for a bill that was not yet due. He seeks an injunction to stop the shut off and wants to be in a program because he is unemployed. PECO responds that the Complainant does have the ability to pay his bill and that he has a history of late and missed payments. PECO filed a PO to dismiss Complaint #4.

ALJ Barnes granted the PO finding the allegations in complaint 4 are identical to Complaints 1, 2 & 3. The ALJ also found the Complainant’s conduct disturbing in that he was using the PUC process to avoid paying his bills while evading the termination procedures. She precluded the Complainant from filing further informal/formal complaints until the current balance is satisfied.

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging that he did not receive ALJ Salapa’s ID and that ALJ Barnes did not consider the Complainant’s status of making current payments to PECO. He alleges that there are facts in dispute and he is entitled to a hearing.

Exceptions granted in part; ID reversed and the matter remanded for hearing (ID on remand due in 120 days)

  • Causes of action are not identical.
  • PUC must accept Complainant’s response to PO is true allegations (states there are facts in dispute).
  • Complaint #4 concerns different events and is not barred by the prior litigation.
  • PUC shared concerns about abuse of process to avoid paying bill. Complainant MUST pay undisputed bills during pendency of complaint process.
Gregory Berry v. PGW

PM 12/1/11
Case # F-2010-2163390

Complainant alleges that PGW charged him for service that he is not responsible for and that he did not receive a bill prior to April 2008 and the April bill was in excess of $2,700. The Complainant did not contact PGW again until he received a termination notice in April 2008. PGW states that the Complainant called to initiate service but hung up when the company was explaining that a security deposit was necessary. PGW treated the Complainant as a user without a contract and the April bill reflected the usage from the initial call in October 2007.

ALJ Jones ruled that the Complainant did not have clean hands in that he caused the termination of the application process and stated he would contact PGW when he desired service. The Complainant can not complain of not getting a bill when the company could not verify that he was the appropriate person to bill. Had the Complainant cooperated fully he would have received bills in a timely manner. The ALJ found the company did not terminate the service because of the Winter Moratorium was in effect from December through March.

The Complainant filed Exceptions questioning whether PGW had a duty to send a monthly bill to a known user of gas. He challenges the application of a user without a contract stating that PGW knew who he was. He also challenges the fact that PGW did not terminate him during the Winter Moratorium. The Complainant’s position is that PGW should have either billed him or terminated the service. PGW filed Reply Exceptions arguing that the Complainant has failed to show that he was a user without a contract and his action of not completing the application process caused PGW’s inability to bill for the gas. Further, the Complainant has failed to show that he dealt fairly with PGW; failure to terminate in the winter was inadequate service; PGW did not approve of the gas use; sending a termination notice at the end of the winter heating season was unreasonable.

The Exceptions denied, in part and the ID modified.

  • The Complainant failed to complete the application process to allow PGW to establish a residential service in his name so he was a “user without a contract”.
  • Complainant cannot hide behind the technicality that he lacked a contract, did not receive bills and therefore assert he is not responsible for payment.
  • Utilities do owe a duty of good faith and fair dealing to customers but Complainant terminated the application process but knowingly used the gas.
  • A utility does have the ability to terminate service during the winter moratorium upon use of the 3 day notice.
  • Section 1407(d) allows a utility to hold a customer liable for any outstanding balance when the customer resided at the property during the time the outstanding balance accrued.
  • A user without a contract does not mean that the utility approved of the gas service.
  • It was reasonable for the utility to wait 3 weeks for the Complainant to call back to apply for gas service.
  • PGW was correct to back bill for the 5 months of gas usage.
Adamo Peters LLC v PGW

PM 11/10/11
Case # C-2011-2243716

Complainant disputes the liens filed by PGW ($27, 481 for this tenant--$43,360 in total against property) arguing that he had insufficient notice of the liens and should not be held responsible for the unpaid gas bills for his tenants. PGW filed a PO.

ALJ Long granted the PO finding that the PUC does not have jurisdiction to entertain complaints involving Municipal liens. Complaint dismissed.

ID adopted.

Lennia Kutz v. UGI

PM 11/10/11
Case # C-2010-2214107

Complainant is owner of apartment building where she also resides. Account is commercial since all apartments are served off 1 meter. Complainant seeks new PAR which she can afford. She defaulted on BCS PAR.

ALJ Salapa ruled that although commercial accounts are not subject to Chapter 14, the hybrid use (commercial/residential mix) in this case should be treated as residential consistent with PUC precedent. However, ALJ can’t affirm BCS Decision since it wasn’t appealed and it was defaulted; no change in circumstances; so can’t issue new PAR. Full amount due. Complaint dismissed.

ID adopted.

Statement Witmer

  • Does not agree with premise that applicability of Chapter 14 is automatic in situations where an individual in whose name a commercial account is listed also resides at the property.
  • Application of Chapter 14 in hybrid fact scenarios must be on case by case basis.
Esther Cobb v UGI

PM 11/10/11
Case # F-2010-2207096

Complainant appeals BCS Decision which directed the entire outstanding balance plus reconnection fee plus a portion of the security deposit be paid before service would be restored. She seeks to restore the PAR prior to termination. The Company has previously had 2 PARs which were defaulted. There was also a PUC defaulted PAR.

Special Agent Alexander found that the Complainant was an applicant rather than a customer under Chapter 14. The Company was permitted to seek full payment of the outstanding balance pursuant to Section 1407(c) and that BCS properly dismissed the informal complaint. The Special Agent did require that the Company recalculate the amount of the cash deposit consistent with Section 1404.

Motion Powelson

  • Agreement with outcome of case but disagreement with ALJ reasoning.
  • PUC does have authority to establish PARs between applicants and utilities.
  • Ms Cobb has defaulted on previous PUC PAR and has no change in income so PUC lacks authority to issue 2nd PAR.
Rainey Richmond v PECO

PM 11/10/11
Case # F-2010-2187305

The Complainant alleges there “are incorrect charges on my bill” but provides no facts other than “I have the paperwork”. PECO filed a PO stating that the Complaint does not provide information sufficient enough for PECO to formulate an Answer.

ALJ Barnes granted the PO since the Complainant did not file a more detailed amended complaint as directed by the ALJ. Complaint dismissed.

Joint Motion Gardner and Witmer

  • Since the utility has access to all necessary account records, it is likely that PECO was already familiar with the Complainant’s allegations.
  • Given the pro se status, complaint should not be dismissed at the pleading stage.
  • Case remanded for hearing.
  • Commission is undertaking review of its Formal Complaint Form to see if improvements can be made to assist all parties.
Chuck V. De Ninno v. Peoples

PM 11/10/11
Case # C-2010-2171553

Complainant disputes his responsibility for gas as the owner of the building. Company asserts Section 1529 is applicable since both the commercial tenant and residential tenant are served off the same meter. Outstanding bill is over $22,000.

ALJ Johnson ruled that Section 1529 was controlling and it was not relevant if the owner requested service since Section 1529 mandates that service be in the name of the owner where a foreign load exists.

ID adopted.

Avery Mumford v. PGW

PM 11/10/11
Case # F-2010-2170449

Complaint checked box marked “other” on the Formal Complaint Form and wrote “Bill changed to owned of Home.” BCS dismissed the informal Complaint due to lack of information. PGW filed PO seeking more information. PA granted and Complainant directed to amend Complaint. He did not.

ALJ Buckly dismissed the Complaint for failure to file amended Complaint. ID adopted.

Roberta Cruz & Heather Campbell v UGI

PM 11/10/11
Case # F-2010-2149273

Complainant Cruz seeks affordable PAR after being terminated for non payment. UGI wants full arrearage plus reconnection fee per Section 1407(c). Complainant had defaulted on 3 previous PARs and only made 1 payment in 2010 and 2 in 2009.

ALJ Barnes issued ID finding that under Crawford, the Complainant has not shown good faith in paying the utility bill. She also affirmed that UGI’s request under Section 1407 and indicated that UGI is entitled to request security deposit under Section 1404.

Motion Gardner

  • ID appears to indicate lack of good faith but record is lacking.
  • Issue of good faith is determined by each complainant’s individual circumstances.
  • Matter remanded to develop record including date of service, dates of termination, payment dates including LIHEAP payments and billings.
Gretchen Buchanan v Pike County

PM 11/10/11
Case # F-2009-2137873

Complainant alleges an inability to pay for her gas and electric service. She seeks restoration of service and the 2008 BCS PAR reinstated. Service has been off since 5/09 and she has had 1 PUC PAR and 8 company PARs.

ALJ Vero ruled that the Complainant is no longer a customer and must be treated as an applicant and that per Crawford, an applicant is entitled to a PUC PAR. The ALJ also found that the there had been a decrease in income since the BCS PAR. The ALJ reasoned that her employment conditions, the effect on her family life and her attempts to improve her financial future outweighed her poor payment history. She concluded that the Complainant was entitled under Crawford to a PAR for a Level 1 income. The reconnection fee was permitted to be added to the unpaid balance.

Joint Motion: Powelson and Witmer

  • Special Agent erred in finding that circumstances warranted another PAR due to 20% reduction in income.
  • Customer has not made good faith effort to pay outstanding balance and not deserving of another PAR.
Kevin P. Maloney v. West Penn

PM 11/10/11
Case # F-2010-2189973

Complainant alleges that his meter readings are incorrect and seeks interest and penalties removed. Balance is over $17,000; meter was tested. Balance includes amount transferred to account as a result of Bankruptcy Petition being dismissed.

ALJ Barnes ruled that the property is in excess of 18,000 square feet with 5 separate water heaters, 5 furnaces and electric air conditioning. Part of the balance is for Mother-in-law’s outstanding balance when Complainant resided at the service property (2005). There have been 2 broken PARs. Request for security deposit was appropriate given the poor payment history. Interest has been properly applied to the deposit.

Complainant filed Exceptions challenging his responsibility for his mother-in-law’s outstanding bill and contested the meter test’s admissibility since the witness did not perform the test.

Company filed Reply Exceptions stating that it was proper to transfer the mother-in-law’s balance to his account since they all resided at the property.

Exceptions denied and ID modified.

  • Issue of mother in law balance being transferred was barred by SOL—beyond 3 years.
  • Complainant did not make prima facie showing.
  • No evidence that meter had an error more than 2 %.
  • No need to discuss issues when no prima facie showing.
  • This is not a Waldon high bill case since not a 1 time unexplained spike.
Stephanie Crayton v. PPL

PM 11/10/11
Case # C-2010-2163631

Complainant objects to notification from PPL that she was nearing the $700 annual benefit for non electric customers under its CAP Program. Complainant feels letter and conduct was threatening and seek an exception to the dollar limit based on her poor health and limited income. PPL responded that it has properly applied its PUC approved CAP Program.

ALJ Salapa rejected the Complainant’s argument that given her low income, health conditions and home problems the benefit limit of $700 should not apply to her. The ALJ found that the Company is applying the terms of its CAP consistent with the PUC approved program. The contention that sending her a letter to educate the Complainant about the CAP program was a violation of Section 1501 was dismissed. Finally, the fact that the Company contacted the Complainant 3 times after the complaint was filed to see if it could be amicably resolved did not constitute badgering.

The Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that she is insulted that she needs “education” about the CAP Program and made several other incoherent rants about meeting her burden of proof.

Exceptions denied and ID adopted.

  • PPL’s benefit limitation did not violate the CAP Policy statement.
  • Reminder courtesy form letter sent by PPL did not violate Regs or constitute unreasonable service under Section 1501.
  • Contacting the customer on more than 1 occasion is not unreasonable service.
Nehemiah Thomas v. PECO

PM 10/28/11
Case # C-2010-2187197

Complainant alleges he has been over billed and should only pay between $10 and $15 a month for service. PECO investigated the high bill complaint and determined that the bills were correct. House is not insulated and has capacity to use the power. House was tagged as hazardous and power was not restored until the service entrance neutral wire was replaced by the customer.

ALJ Nguyen ruled that the Complainant introduced no evidence that the meter had malfunctioned or had exceeded his actual use. Commission precedent supported a ruling that the utility is not responsible for the customer’s neutral wire. Finally, the Complainant’s reliance on an article as to who is responsible for outdoor repairs was not admissible. The ALJ dismissed the complaint.

ID modified.

Motion Coleman

  • As stated in Bennett Order, limiting the Waldron Rule to just 3 factors creates the situation where a new customer is being asked to produce evidence that he or she does not possess regarding proper usage.
  • A new customer must be able to challenge a high bill.
Stoneburst Realty Corp. & Energy Company v. PECO

PM 10/28/11
Case # C-2010-2181922
- Stoneburst Realty Corp. v. PECO
PM 10/28/11
Case # C-2010-2182009 - Energy Company v. PECO

Complainant contests the security deposit requested by PECO. ALJ Pell issued an interim order directing the Complainant to be represented by counsel and for an appearance by a licensed PA attorney to be filed before the hearing.

Complainant filed Exceptions stating that it did comply with the ALJ’s 2nd Order (appearance was filed before the hearing) and that counsel was not required until the proceeding became adversarial. Complainant alleges that dismissal of the complaint is not warranted.

Exceptions granted; ID reversed; remand for hearing.

  • Issue of whether Prehearing Order was received is not dispositive since Complainant had actual knowledge of the Prehearing Order when he received the Order postponing the matter.
  • There were inconsistent/conflicting instructions in the 2 Prehearing Orders so notice of counsel did comply with the later Order.
  • Matter remanded so Complainant has day in court and a decision can be reached on the merits rather than dismissed on procedural defect.
Wilbert Thomas v. Met Ed

PM 10/28/11
Case # C-2010-2163584

Complainant alleges a reliability, safety or quality problem with his utility service because his house lights blink or become dim. Company investigated and concluded its facilities were operating properly. Certificate of Satisfaction filed but Complainant contested it after the 10 day period. The Complainant is on the same circuit as the industrial manufacturing plant which has made changes to its process to minimize any voltage variation.

ALJ Salapa ruled that the Complainant had Not met his burden of proof and that there was no violation of Section 1501 by the Company failing to eliminate the excess or fluctuating voltage, specifically Section 57.14 which permits variation in voltage. Complainant was not qualified to give credible testimony as to reasons for voltage variation. Request to credit account and replace receptacles was denied. Bills were correct and inside wiring is the Complainant’s responsibility not the Company’s.

Complainant filed Exceptions that were incoherent but basically alleged that he was right and his requested relief should be granted. Company filed Reply Exceptions that supported the ID.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted.

  • List of damaged appliances does not prove that company violated Section 1501.
  • ALJ correctly did not give Complainant’s testimony any weight due to his lack of expertise as an electrician or an electrical engineer.
  • ALJ acted in accordance with Regs and was not biased towards the Complainant.
John Peluso v PPL

PM 10/28/11
Case # F-2010-2152607

Complainant filed a Petition for Reconsideration questioning how the PUC could find the Company’s position more persuasive than his. Penn Power responds that the Complainant never filed Exceptions or replied to the Company’s Exceptions. The Company alleges that the Duick standard for reconsideration has not been raised or met.

The Commission had overruled the ALJ who had sustained the Complaint and dismissed the Complaint.

Petition denied.

  • Arguments presented in the petition are not supported by the record evidence.
  • Complainant has the potential to consume the electricity (3rd prong of Waldron).
  • Petition statement about the size of the sunroom was not supported by record and Complainant did not object to the square footage at the hearing.
William F. Pizoli v DQE

PM 10/14/11
Case # C-2011-2231202

Complainant alleges that DQE trespassed on his property, damaged a tree and replaced the pole in a location that was not the agreed upon location. DQE states that the pole is located in the proper spot given the limitation re: One Call markings and is within the scope of its easement.

ALJ Corbett ruled that the issues of trespass and damages are outside the PUC’s jurisdiction. Regarding the complaint, the ALJ ruled that DQE presented sound reasons for choosing the location that it did—safety of workers and public. The company’s valid concerns outweighed any interest the Complainant may have in minimizing the gap in his split-rail fence or easing his lawn mowing operation.

ID adopted.

Dennis Vicario v PGW

PM 10/14/11
Case # C-2010-2213955

Complainant who resides at the property requests the PUC remove a lien for unpaid gas services. The property is owned by the Complainant’s mother. PGW filed a PO that PUC lacks subject matter jurisdiction.

ALJ Weismandel granted the PO finding that the PUC does not have subject matter jurisdiction over the case pursuant to the Municipal Claim and Tax Lien Law.

Motion Gardner

  • The Complaint not only raised lien related issues but also billing and notice issues.
  • ALJ was wrong to dismiss entire complaint because allegation in the Complaint raise questions of fact as to the correct application of his LIHEAP grants to his balance and the responsibility of PGW to notify the Complainant of his past due balance.
  • Complainant given 20 days to notify the PUC if he intends to proceed with the remand proceeding.
  • If hearing does proceed, it should be done on an expedited basis.
Windell C. Wiggins v PECO

PM 10/14/11
Case # C-2010-2190335

Complainant alleges he never applied for service. PECO’s records reflect that his identity was verified before service was initiated. Complainant did appear at the first hearing but was left in the waiting room. A subsequent hearing was scheduled.

ALJ Jones ruled that the complaint should be dismissed since the Complainant did not appear at the 2nd hearing.

Motion Witmer

  • Complaint should be dismissed without prejudice to preserve Complainant’s due process rights in light of the Complainant’s clear intent and attempt to be heard.
Richard Adams v UGI

PM 10/14/11
Case # C-2010-2182016

Complainant alleges that his “gas beyond the main” rate was changing and seeks gas service to his street. He claims that UGI promised gas to his street. UGI states it is acting within the parameters of the 2009 PGC Settlement.

ALJ Jandebeur issued a directed verdict that the promise, if made, was made to the former owner of the property, not the Complainant and that the Complainant failed to state a prima facie case.

Motion Coleman

  • Obligation to serve is set forth in UGI’s tariff
  • UGI directed to treat the Complainant’s service request made through his Complaint as a written application for a line extension under Rule 5 of the tariff.
  • UGI is to follow the usual line extension process.
  • Complaint should be dismissed without prejudice since Complainant is not prohibiting the complaint process, as necessary, to address any grievance that he may have regarding UGI’s application of its tariff to his service request.
F. John Szatkiewicz v DQE

PM 10/14/11
Case # F-2010-2161237

Complainant alleges high bills as a result of faulty meter and that his bills went down after the meter was replaced. DQE states that bills dropped because consumption dropped.

ALJ Hoyer sustained the complaint finding that a ground existed at the residence both before and after DQE’s visit to the property when the meter was pulled and remounted. The ALJ found that the meter was incorrectly mounted and the socket was damaged which created the ground situation. He directed DQE to recalculate the monthly bills and current balance for the period 2/07 through 3/10.

ID adopted.

Peter Coppola v PECO

PM 10/14/11
Case # C-2010-2186754

Complainant, a commercial customer, alleges incorrect charges on bill for metering tampering and back billing of $5,271.36. Complainant is not the customer of record—A&S Deli—is customer of record.

ALJ Jones issues Order directing counsel to enter appearance on behalf of customer of record in order for complaint to proceed. Complainant appeared at hearing with intent to represent the Deli since he could not afford an attorney. He sought another continuance which was denied.

ALJ Jones issued ID which dismissed the complaint for failure to obey ALJ Order and denied the continuance for cause.

Complainant filed Exceptions stating that the bill is in the name of the individual and not the Deli and seeks a hearing.

Exceptions denied: ID modified.

  • ID modified so that the Complainant is designated as the Deli not Mr. Coppola.
  • The Deli, a commercial customer, is required to be represented by counsel in the adversarial proceeding.
  • Dismiss of the Complaint is warranted when ALJ Orders are not complied with and no compelling reason for failure to comply is stated.
  • Exceptions not considered since filed by non attorney.
Stephen Hymonwitz v PGW

PM 9/22/11
Case # C-2010-2217354

The Complainant alleges that without his knowledge, his tenant had a new commercial gas line installed without his consent or knowledge and then did not pay the bill. PGW did not read the meter until 2006 which added an additional $6000 to the balance. PGW filed a lien against the property. PGW filed a PO asserting that the PUC does not have jurisdiction over the subject matter.

ALJ Coldwell granted the PO finding that the PUC does not have jurisdiction over municipal liens.

ID adopted.

Daniel Shinefield v PECO

PM 9/22/11
Case # C-2010-2213931
/p>

The Complainant is a CAP customer who missed a payment and was dismissed from the program. He seeks a PAR. Balance is over $15,000. PECO filed a PO since Chapter 14 prohibits a PAR for a CAP customer.

ALJ Coldwell granted the PO since the PUC lacks the authority to direct PECO to enter into a PAR with its CAP customer for amounts covered by the CAP rates.

ID adopted.

James Smith Jr. v PECO

PM 9/22/11
Case # C-2010-2209072
/p>

The Complainant alleges that his electric box is defective and that PECO has done nothing despite many complaints. PECO filed a PO asserting that this same complaint was litigated in his 2009 Formal Complaint and therefore he is estopped from prosecuting this Complaint. The 2009 Complaint was dismissed for failure to appear.

ALJ Coldwell granted the PO finding that the parties are the same; the cause of action is the same; the issues decided in the prior adjudication is identical; there was a final judgment and that the Complainant had a full and fair opportunity to litigate the issue in the 2009 action.

ID adopted.

Berna Dikeanyiam v PGW

PM 9/22/11
Case # C-2010-2202957
/p>

Complainant alleges PGW wrongfully filed a lien for an unpaid gas bill accrued by a tenant at another property. She states that the customer was never her tenant and did not have permission to open an account at the subject address. PGW filed a PO that PUC lacks subject matter jurisdiction.

ALJ Colwell granted the PO finding that the matter of the complaint (effectuation of and defense of the statutory lien of the City) was within the jurisdiction of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County.

ID adopted.

New Bethlehem Temple v PGW

PM 9/22/11
Case # C-2010-2193709
/p>

The Complainant alleges a billing dispute with PGW and appeals the BCS Decision that found that the commercial account with no residential involvement was correctly billed based on actual meter readings.

ALJ Chestnut issued a Prehearing Order directing the Complainant to have an entry of appearance of a licensed attorney filed before the hearing as the Complainant was a registered corporation. No appearance was filed and ALJ dismissed the Complaint.

ID adopted.

Ann Falcone Nolan v PECO

PM 9/22/11
Case # F-2010-2186425
/p>

The Complainant alleges that her balance was incorrect and then even though she paid her bill, service was terminated. She seeks a return of the security deposit. PECO states that as a result of several terminations for non payment, the Complainant was required to post a security deposit equal to 1/6 of the outstanding balance. The termination occurred the same day that the Complainant made her payment which was $107 less that the required amount to avoid termination.

ALJ Nguyen found that the termination was proper with PECO having complied with the notice provisions of Chapter 14 and that the reconnection fee and security deposit were also authorized by Chapter 14.

ID adopted.

Linda Rumbaugh v DQE

PM 9/22/11
Case # F-2010-2173715
/p>

The Complainant alleges she was improperly charged for electric service at her prior residence as she turned off all lights etc. and no one resided at the property until a tenant moved in and the usage for those 2 days can not be correct. The amount in dispute is $92.03. Bills were based on an actual meter reading but the company did not test the meter.

ALJ Dunderdale ruled that the Complainant failed to show that the usage noted in her last month was incorrectly measured by DQE. Further, the consumptions that were read by DQE’s equipment are consistent with the amount of electricity to be used over the period when the new tenant moved in prior to the Complainant notifying DQE to close her account.

ID adopted.

Barbara Gallagher v PECO

PM 9/22/11
Case # C-2010-2201568

The Complainant alleges that PECO’s pole is in her front yard without an easement and wants it removed. PECO states it is not the owner of the pole but that it has an easement to place its facilities on the pole. PECO also states that the pole is utilized to provide service to another house behind the Complainant’s property. PECO has offered to reconfigure the facilities but the Complainant would have to share in the cost. The Complainant has refused to transfer ownership of the pole to PECO.

ALJ Nguyen sustained the complaint in part. He found that the PUC cannot determine the validity of the easement. Further that the pole does not present a safety concern. He did find that even though it is a private pole, PECO is the de facto owner and must maintain, inspect, repair and replace the pole and that PECO failed to maintain the pole. No fine was assessed.

PECO filed Exceptions arguing that it does not own or control the pole in question and that other utilities also have their facilities on the pole. The mere existence of their facilities does not make PECO the de facto owner and it has no obligation to maintain or inspect the private pole. The ALJ misconstrued the testimony of its witness regarding PECO’s maintenance and repair policies for its facilities and private poles.

The Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that the property should not be used to serve their neighbor. The assertion is that there is a safety and liability associated with the private pole. Finally, the reconfiguration which continues to serve the neighbor is not a fair resolution. PECO filed Reply Exceptions stating that the Exceptions merely reargue the position at the hearing and the PUC does not jurisdiction to determine the validity of the easement.

Complainant’s Exceptions granted and denied in part; PECO’s Exceptions granted and denied in part; Complaint dismissed.

  • No record support that PECO is the de facto owner of the pole.
  • Section 57.198 requires that PECO inspect and maintain its facilities. No obligation for poles that it does not own.
  • No record support that PECO’s service has not been safe or reliable.
  • It was appropriate for the ALJ to permit lay testimony regarding the impact of the pole on the Complainant’s property and its value. Rarely do homeowners erect utility poles in their front yards for aesthetic reasons.
  • No record evidence that PECO withheld the record of when the pole was placed.
  • No record evidence to support FOF #8 or 12. Other FOFs are not dispositive of the complaint and need not be modified.
  • Since the parties stipulated that there was a valid easement, the issue before the PUC is the service PECO provided not property rights.
  • PUC jurisdiction is not limited to situations where the location of the facilities presents an imminent risk or danger to the public. PUC has broad jurisdiction over the relationship between utilities and the public, including the safety and location of facilities.
  • The current configuration is the most efficient way to serve the neighbor.
  • PECO is encouraged to continue to work with Complainant to devise an acceptable solution to both parties.
  • Cost of relocation must be borne by the Complainant.
Corinna L. Scheffer v Columbia

PM 9/22/11
Case # C-2010-2153353

The Complainant alleges that her Columbia bill incorrectly lists charges from a Supplier that she was tricked into choosing. Columbia purchased the debt from the supplier and could not remove the charges until authorized by the Supplier.

ALJ Johnson sustained the Complaint finding that Columbia did not remove the Supplier charges from her bill for 7 months after the request which violated Section 56.151(5) which required Columbia to investigate the dispute and issue a report within 30 days and Section 1501. A fine of $3000 was assessed.

Columbia filed Exceptions challenging the fine since the Complainant stated at the hearing she had no dispute with Columbia and that Columbia could not unilaterally remove the Complainant from the Supplier’s service and place her back with Columbia. Any obligation to investigate the Complainant’s dispute lies with the Supplier not Columbia. The Supplier also filed Exceptions arguing that the ALJ misinterpreted the obligations of Section 59.92 & 59.93 since Columbia cannot switch the customer but rather the customer must contact the Supplier. The Supplier also supports Columbia’s Exception that challenged the finding of unreasonable service and the fine.

Exceptions of Columbia granted in part; ID modified. Joint Motion Coleman and Witmer

  • The main issue is the delay in the transfer of the Complainant’s gas supply service from the supplier to Columbia.
  • There is no uniform practice by the gas and electric utilities when processing switching requests.
  • Since Section 59.92 and 59.93 were primarily intended to address the switch from incumbent to competitive supplier or between two suppliers, these regulations do not address the issue in this proceeding and a fine is not warranted.
  • Columbia did however not provide reasonable service (Section 1501) during the dispute. When the existing supplier does not comply with the customer’s request to switch within a reasonable time, the EDC/NGDC may and should process the switch request.
  • Columbia violated 62.79 when it did not initiate the customer dispute procedure when the Complainant questioned the charges on her bill.
  • Complainant is entitled to a credit equal to the difference between Columbia and the supplier’s supply charges for the period 11/4/09 through 3/23/10.
  • Section 59.97 and Chapter 56 require that slamming allegation be investigated which was not done in this case.
  • Matter referred to Investigation and Enforcement for review of the supplier’s performance in regards to this Complainant.
Edward J Sopka v PECO

PM 9-12-11
Case # C-2010-2170194

Complainant alleges he has had about 10 outages since 2009 that last more than 2 hours. He seeks trees in his area trimmed and wants a generator for his home to offset future outages. PECO responded that 6 of the outages were storm related and that they installed 2 Resettable Electronic Sectionalizers to reduce the length of interruptions and the number of customers affected. Finally, that its 5 year cycle tree trimming program was completed in the Complainant’s area early 2011.

ALJ Nguyen found that the Complainant’s house is located in a very highly densely populated forested area with mature large growing trees in and around the wires. Section 1501 does not dictate perfect but reasonable service. The ALJ found that PECO responded to the outages with well thought-out programs during the inclement weather. Finally, he denied the request for a generator stating that the PECO was not permitted to purchase the item solely for the customer.

ID adopted.

Edward J Sopka v PECO

PM 9-12-11
Case # C-2010-2170194

Complainant alleges he has had about 10 outages since 2009 that last more than 2 hours. He seeks trees in his area trimmed and wants a generator for his home to offset future outages. PECO responded that 6 of the outages were storm related and that they installed 2 Resettable Electronic Sectionalizers to reduce the length of interruptions and the number of customers affected. Finally, that its 5 year cycle tree trimming program was completed in the Complainant’s area early 2011.

ALJ Nguyen found that the Complainant’s house is located in a very highly densely populated forested area with mature large growing trees in and around the wires. Section 1501 does not dictate perfect but reasonable service. The ALJ found that PECO responded to the outages with well thought-out programs during the inclement weather. Finally, he denied the request for a generator stating that the PECO was not permitted to purchase the item solely for the customer.

ID adopted.

Marvin Black v PGW

PM 8-25-11
Case # C-2011-2218474

Complainant objects to City liens placed on 3 separate properties that he owns for unpaid gas bills accrued by his commercial tenants. PGW filed PO alleging that the PUC lacks subject matter jurisdiction.

ALJ Coldwell granted the PO since the PUC does not have authority to adjudicate City of Philadelphia municipal liens.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that the liens were placed prior to effective date of Chapter 14. PGW filed Reply Exceptions noting the PUC’s lack of jurisdiction and that the properties are commercial so the properties do not qualify for PGW’s Landlord Cooperation (“LCP”)

Exceptions denied and ID adopted.

Even though the Complainant is pro se, this case is distinguishable from Carlock in that the PUC does not have jurisdiction to entertain the complaint.

Statement Coleman

PGW is encouraged to expand its LCP and make it available to the landlords of commercial properties.

William Jamison v PECO

PM 8-25-11
Case # F-2010-2206523

Complainant was on budget billing and alleges he overpaid his account. Complainant did not attend hearing or timely request a continuance.

ALJ Fordham dismissed the Complaint for failure to appear.

Complainant filed Exceptions stating he could not attend hearing due to personal reasons which he would divulge at the rescheduled hearing. PECO filed Reply Exceptions arguing there are no errors in the ID and Complainant was given due notice of hearing and chose not to appear.

Exceptions denied and ID adopted.

The Complainant did not timely seek a continuance.

The Complainant’s failure to avail himself of the opportunity to appear and present his case at the scheduled hearing is not grounds for reversing the ID

Catherine Alpohoritis v PGW

PM 8-11-11
Case # C-2010-2200860

Complainant objects to the lien placed on her commercial rental property for the outstanding bill of the tenant (a pizzeria). PGW filed a PO stating that the PUC lacked jurisdiction and did not have the authority to remove the lien on the property which was placed by the City of Philadelphia.

ALJ Buckley ruled that the Premise, not Complainant, is responsible for satisfying the claim secured by the municipal lien. No personal responsibility is asserted against the Complainant by the filing of the lien on the Premises. The lien was filed by the City (not PGW). There is no public utility involved. In obtaining a municipal lien upon the Premises, the City is acting in its capacity as a municipality only. The Commission is given jurisdiction over public utilities by the Public Utility Code not over municipalities acting in their municipal capacity.

ID adopted.

Alia Slayton v PECO

PM 8-11-11
Case # F-2010-2174147

Complainant alleges she is not responsible for the outstanding balance of over $4,000 since her brother and not her, resided at the property during the period 2007 to 2009. She did not however notify PECO that she was vacating the property or that service should be terminated in her name.

ALJ Pell ruled that pursuant to Commission regulations, the Complainant is legally responsible to pay for the electrical usage that occurred at the service address between October 2007 and May 2009. The Complainant did not meet her burden of proof that PECO improperly billed her for service and the complaint should be dismissed.

ID adopted.

Theodore Mosier v UGI

PM 8-11-11
Case # C-2009-2148587

Complainant alleges there are incorrect charges on his bill and requested a reasonable PAR. At the conclusion of the initial hearing, ALJ Jandebeur requested UGI to conduct a high bill investigation. A second hearing was scheduled but the Complainant failed to appear. Approximately three weeks after the 2nd hearing, the Complainant left a voice message that he was out of town but offered no other explanation for his failure to appear.

ALJ Jandebeur issued a ruling based on the record from the 1st hearing. In December 2009, the Complainant requested an accurate accounting of his service bills and a high bill analysis. UGI did not perform either. The ALJ also ruled that the service remained in the Complainant’s name since the tenant did not complete the application process and the Complainant never notified the company to disconnect service in her name. Therefore, the ALJ dismissed the complaint.

ID adopted.

Shira Meng Master Holding LP v PGW

PM 8-11-11
Case # C-2010-2213316

The Complainant alleges that PGW has improperly filed a lien against one of her realty holdings. She wants the lien stricken. PGW filed a PO alleges that the PUC lacks subject matter jurisdiction.

ALJ Jandebeur granted the PO finding that the premise, not the Complainant or tenant, is responsible for satisfying the claim secured by the municipal lien. Municipal liens are exclusively matters of judicial, not administrative jurisdictions.

The Complainant filed Exceptions alleging that PGW failed to shut off the gas before it issued the tenants a refund of their deposit and later billed the Complainant for gas service a year after the tenants vacated. PGW filed Reply Exceptions asserting that the Exceptions should be rejected since as a corporation must be represented by an attorney in an adversarial proceeding. PGW also points out that the Complainant did not address the fact that the PUC does not have jurisdiction to entertain the complaint.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted.

It is appropriate to refuse to entertain Exceptions that have been filed by a non-attorney since the proceedings are adversarial. Counsel needed for corporation to file Exceptions.

Law is well settled that the PUC does not have subject matter jurisdiction in cases involving a dispute over municipal lien placed upon property.

Statement Gardner

Encourages PGW to expand Landlord Program to include commercial customers.

Gerald Lepre Jr v Equitable Gas

PM 8-11-11
Case # C-2010-2189362

Complainant alleges he did not receive a gas bill for 4 months and then was improperly terminated. The Company notified the PUC that the matter was settled and filed a Certificate of Satisfaction. The Complainant contends that the Company breached the settlement and seeks hearing.

ALJ Johnson ruled that the parties did in fact reach a settlement; the company complied with the terms of the settlement and that the Complainant was not credible at times. Furthermore, he found that the termination was proper and that the company was correct in not restoring the service unless the Complainant was present to allow the company to perform a safety check.

Finally the ALJ ruled that the Complainant did not have the right to a transcript free of charge.

The Complainant filed Exceptions alleging that he was denied due process and equal protection under the law. Equitable filed Reply Exceptions contending that the Complainant does not provide any support for his general exceptions and that the Complainant did agree that he did enjoy the benefit of the settlement agreement (i.e., no restoration fee).

Exceptions granted in part; ID modified and Complaint denied.

There were 2 distinct settlement agreements and ALJ relied entirely on 1st agreement.

The parties would not have entered into a 2nd agreement if the case had been completely settled.

The parties settled some but not all of the issues.

Record evidence supports finding that: (1) company properly billed account; (2) Company followed termination procedures and (3) no procedural errors occurred.

York Road Realty Co. PECO

PM 8-11-11
Case # C-2010-2176164

The Complainant alleges an inability to pay the security deposit of $27,340. PECO asserts the commercial customer has a history of late and missed payments. PECO previously settled a 2008 complaint by waiving the then requested security deposit but stated that if payments continued to be late, the security deposit would be assessed. PECO also reminded the Complainant that as a corporation, counsel was necessary once the proceedings became adversarial. PECO filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings since the complaint did not allege any violation of a statute, regulation or PUC order.

ALJ Vero granted the Motion finding that the complaint did not satisfy Section 701 since it did not challenge the calculation of the requested deposit. A hearing was not necessary since there was no material fact in issue. Finally the ALJ ruled that the Complainant was barred from filing similar complaints in the future and directed both BSC and the Secretary from accepting any complaints requesting a waiver of the security deposit.

The Complainant, through its newly hired counsel, filed Exceptions stating that the issue in dispute is whether PECO should have required a deposit and that the imposition of a deposit is permissive and PECO is not obligated to require one since the Complaint always paid its bill, albeit late at times. Finally, the Complainant challenges the ALJ’s ruling which prohibits future complaint on the issue of the deposit as being overly broad and contrary to Chapter 56.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted and Complaint dismissed.

Complainant had adequate notice to retain counsel (14 months after filing complaint, appearance of counsel was filed).

There are no genuine issues of fact and the Motion was properly granted.

The request for hearing was submitted almost 3 weeks after the ID was issued. No reason to further delay the proceeding by scheduling a hearing.

The request of a utility for a deposit in accordance with its tariff is not a violation of a statute, regulation or PUC Order.

Complainant has filed 3 complaints for the sole purpose of avoiding payment of the security deposits properly requested by PECO and any similar filings in the future will constitute an abuse of the PUC proceedings.

Scott Prior v DQE

PM 7-28-11
Case # F-2010-2193390

Complainant alleges the company improperly charged him $25.31 for electric before he moved into the leased service address. DQE asserts that that amount was removed from the account on the 2nd bill.

ALJ Johnson found that the company did remove the disputed amount but did state that DQE’s bills were present in a confusing fashion and encouraged the company to seriously review its billing format as to how the statements can be presented or explained for ease of reading and understanding by its customers.

Motion Gardner & Witmer

Review of DQE billing format is necessary so customers know what is expected of them.

DQE directed to work with BCS and Office of Communications to review bill for a determination as to what changes can be reasonably made to clarify customer obligations. Report due in 90 days.

Susan P Groff v PECO

PM 7-28-11
Case # F-2009-2132719

Complainant alleges a billing dispute and filed to appear at the scheduled hearing.

ALJ Nguyen dismissed the complaint with prejudice for failure to appear and prosecute the complaint.

NOTE: COMPLAINANT WITHDREW COMPLAINT AFTER THE HEARING BUT BEFORE THE ID WAS ISSUED.

Motion Gardner

Tentatively grants withdraw since filed 3 weeks before hearing.

Carlita Alcantara v UGI

PM 7-28-11
Case # F-2010-2189968

Complainant appeals BCS Decision which found her responsible for meter tampering and responsible for the bill of $3,774.12 for unbilled service and meter tampering charge. UGI asserts that someone at the premise placed magnets on the ERT which interfered with the ERT readings. The meter was not affected and still registered usage but the ERT did not function. Also upon inspection, UGI discovered that the meter’s locking device was missing and red tagged the water heater until the necessary repairs were completed.

ALJ Weismandel found the evidence clearly established that the meter was tampered with but did find that the Complainant did the tampering or even knew of it being done. The ALJ ruled that because the Complainant was the customer of record and resided at the premise, she was responsible for the previously unbilled gas. The ALJ did reject UGI’s claim for either the meter tampering investigation charges since the figure was mere speculation and in conflict with the company’s tariff. The ALJ directed UGI to recalculate the amount owed for the unbilled gas service only for the period 9/08 to 1/10.

The Complainant filed Exceptions challenging the ID since UGI had to recalculate the bill and therefore it was not a final decision; the company should not be permitted to resubmit an additional calculation of the amount owed as the record was closed; no evidence to show when the tampering occurred; and testimony of the impact of magnets on a meter was outside the knowledge of the company’s witness. UGI filed Reply Exceptions asserting that such recalculations are the norm and can be received after the record was closed; the record contained extensive testimony of the tampering; an expert is not needed regarding the ERT and magnets and the company provided the necessary explanation as to the recalculation.

Case remanded to develop the record for the period of the under billing and to determine the appropriate mythology for recalculating the unbilled consumption.

Record evidence did support finding of record tampering.

UGI Witness’ qualifications were not questioned at hearing.

Concerns exist as to methodology used to recalculate bill and information used to calculate rebill.

Nona Lewis v PGW

PM 7-14-11
Case # F-2010-2171442

The Complainant alleges there are incorrect charges on her bill. PGW discovered that the AMR was only recording half of the consumption for the period May 2001 until January 2009. PGW issued a make up for usage limited by the “4 year” rule. BCS Decision found the bills were correct but reduced the bill by 20%.

ALJ Smolen ruled that the Complainant’s bills were incorrectly based upon the AMR under reading of the gas usage when compared to the actual physical readings taken from the meter. ALJ affirmed the 20% reduction from the make-up bill to compensate the Complainant since she was unable to judiciously manage her gas consumption and exercise conservation measures.

The Complainant filed Exceptions questioning why it took 9 years for PGW to notice that he AMR was not properly working and the fact that she was not properly billed was not her fault so why is she being charged for PGW’s mistake? PGW filed Reply Exceptions stating that there is no basis to grant the Exceptions.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted; Complaint dismissed but PAR modified

BCS appropriately reduced the bill by 20.9% since the Complainant was not receiving accurate price signals to judiciously manage her gas consumption.

A payback period for unbilled service should be limited to four years.

John Peluso v Penn Power

PM 7-14-11
Case # F-2010-2152607

Complainant alleges unexplained high bills, appliances that were burned up and had to be replaced and that the problem continued for years until a new meter and new transformer were installed. Company asserts that the meter functioned properly but the Complainant was experiencing low voltage due to his high use of electricity. Company did replace meter and transformer.

ALJ Dunderdale found that the Complainant’s bills decreased once the transformer was replaced even though his usage pattern increased. The ALJ ordered that the company recalculate the monthly bills and the current account balance for the period from 12/06 through 4/09.

Penn Power filed Exceptions arguing that the new transformer corrected the low voltage problem but did nothing to impact (positively or negatively) the consumption or the level of consumption recorded by the meter and the ALJ misapplied Ohm’s law. Further the record evidence showed that the usage decreased significantly before the new transformer as a result of the Complainant no longer running a business from the garage. Finally that the company does not inspect a customer’s service prior to initial use and FOF is not based on record.

Exceptions of Penn Power granted in part; ID reversed ID and Complaint dismissed.

Record reflects that company witness testified that that new service must be inspected by electrical inspector (who must file report) and not the company. Company rep was present when inspection done.

Neither the Code nor PUC require that a utility to perform a ground check or inspect the electrical appliances/outlets for existence of a malfunction or excessive use in response to a high bill complaint. However, it would have provided valuable information in this case.

There is no record evidence on the net effect of low voltage on all electric consuming devices on Complainant’s premises so no conclusion can be drawn regarding the effect of low voltage on the Complainant’s overall monthly consumption.

The Complainant had the potential to use the amount of energy that was billed. His billing history supports a conclusion that the reduction in the billed electric usage was the result of the Complainant’s efforts to reduce consumption rather than the installation of the new transformer.

Alice Vasko v UGI

PM 6-30-11
Case # F-2010-2190330

Complainant alleges bill should be in name of tenant and she is not responsible for bill. UGI placed bill in the name of the landlord after a foreign load was detected.

ALJ Jandebeur ruled that Section 1529.1 is clear that while the foreign load existed, her name must be on the account. The ALJ did not find the Complainant credible that she failed to receive bills from UGI.

Complainant filed Exceptions stating she does not have the income to pay the bill and she never resided in the property. UGI filed Reply Exceptions stating that the Exceptions merely reflect her subjective and emotional beliefs which the ALJ rejected.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted and Complaint dismissed.

An UGI action in placing account in name of landlord is consistent with Section 1529.1 and the PUC’s current practice for the treatment of foreign load.

The rental lease is not relevant for disposition since there was a foreign load situation.

Robert Dunham v. PPL

PM 6/30/2011
Case # C-2010-2155056

Complainant alleges PPL improperly discontinued the RTS rate after guaranteeing it would be available for the life of his home. PPL states that as result of restructuring and the opinions of the Appellate Courts, it could no longer offer the subsidized rate.

ALJ Jandebeur ruled that the PUC cannot require PPL to continue to offer the RTS rate since it was being subsidized by other rate classes. She also found that PPL was wrong to continue to induce customers to the RTS rate when it knew it was going to discontinue the rate and therefore violated Section 1501. She assessed a fine of $2,000.

The Complainant filed Exceptions stating that PPL’s conduct was deceptive and seeks a finding so that he can seek financial redress through civil litigation. PPL filed Reply Exceptions arguing that the Complainant confused the timeline of events, i.e., no new homes would be eligible for the RTS rate after 1995. There was no intent to discontinue the rate to existing class members.

PPL filed Exceptions challenging the findings that the company knew in 1995 it was going to discontinue the rate. Rather, PPL states it decided to close the rate class to new homes. The rate was only discontinued as a result of the Court decision to end subsidized rates. Therefore, PPL could not have violated Section 1501. The Complainant filed Reply Exceptions stating that the Company never informed customers that the rate was guaranteed for 10 years and this resulted in unreasonable service.

Exceptions of the Complainant denied; Exceptions of PPL granted; ID modified and Complaint dismissed.

ALJ misinterpreted the closing of the RTS rate schedule to new customers as having actually discontinued the RTS rate schedule.

No record support that PPL in any way deceived him with regard to the RTS rate schedule.

Brickner case is distinguished because when the customers contacted PPL, PPL knew RTS rate would be phased out.

Ardelle Jackson v PGW

PM 6/30/2011
Case # C-2009-2119940

Complainant alleges PGW placed incorrect liens on her property as she filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy and she rented the property. PGW does not dispute that liens were filed but denies that the Complainant is being charged twice and that the balance owed was carried over from Complainant’s bankruptcy matter.

ALJ Barnes ruled that the City did file a municipal claim since it is the owner of PGW pursuant to the Municipal Claim and Tax Lien Law. Consistent with PUC precedent, the PUC does not have the jurisdiction over cases involving a City lien.

The Complainant filed Exceptions rearguing that she did not use the service and should not be responsible for the bill. Further, why did it take the PUC a year to tell her they could not do anything? PGW filed Reply Exceptions stating the nature of the lien is that the lien encumbers the real estate regardless of who caused the event which results in the imposition of a municipal claim.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted and Complaint dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

The City, not PGW, acting in its capacity as a municipality placed the lien on the Complainant’s property.

PUC lacks subject matter jurisdiction.

The City’s statutory right to place a lien existed before the PUC was given authority to regulate PGW and was preserved in Chapter 14.

Abbetta Gassenheimer v. Met Ed.

PM 6/9/2011
Case # C-2010-2212621

Complainant appeals BCS Decision seeking a more affordable PAR. She has had 5 company PARs and one PUC PAR.

ALJ Jandebeur ruled on the PO finding there were no issues in dispute and dismissed the Complaint since a second PAR was not appropriate (Section 1405) or a lower PAR was not warranted. (Section 1405(6) (3)).

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that since she has renegotiated her mortgage she can now pay $400.00 per month towards her electric bill. Met-Ed filed Reply Exceptions supporting the ID and suggested that the Complainant directly contact the company to discuss her rate class and energy audit since those issues were not part of the formal complaint.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted.

Judgment on the Pleadings is available when there is not genuine issue of material fact and where the right to relief is clear and free from doubt.

This case is distinguishable from Carlock since a hearing would not enable the Complainant to better explain her position or provide additional facts that would alter the inevitable conclusion that this Commission cannot provide the Complainant with the requested relief.

PAR is not appropriate since she has had a PUC PAR and her income has increased.

Renee Ogilvie-Spann v. PECO

PM 6/9/2011
Case # C-2010-2195490

Complainant seeks to have service in her name and to pay her daughter’s bills. Daughter lives with the Complainant. She also seeks lower bills. PECO answers that since the Complainant is enrolled in CAP, a PAR is not permitted under Section 1405 (c). The Complainant asserts she is not enrolled in CAP.

ALJ Nguyen ruled that the Complainant was entitled to a PUC PAR for an arrearage billed at CAP rates.

PECO filed Exceptions arguing that where a customer is legally obligated to pay for services rendered and admits to benefiting from the discounted services, the distinction between an applicant and customer is immaterial. A PAR is not permitted since the arrearage resulted from the CAP rates. Furthermore, per Section 1403 the complainant is a customer of PECO.

Exceptions granted; ID reversed; complaint dismissed.

Petition to extend time to file exceptions granted since PECO did not timely receive the ID.

Section 1504(c) prohibits a PAR for CAP customers.

Complainant agreed that she enjoyed the benefit of the services and wants to be the primary customer.

Account is listed in both the Complainant’s and daughter’s name and the account is a CAP Program account.

PUC is precluded from issuing a PAR on CAP Rate arrears regardless of whether a person is a customer or applicant.

Marilyn Day v. PECO

PM 6/9/2011
Case # C-2010-2181515

Complainant seeks restoration of service, reasonable connection fee, a new PAR, and waiver of all LPC’s. PECO responds that service was terminated for non-payment and the account balance is in the excess of $21,000.00.

ALJ Chestnut dismissed the Complaint for failure to appear at the hearing and prosecute the Complaint.

The Complainant filed Exceptions stating she was unable to attend the hearing since she had just begun a new job. PECO filed Reply Exceptions supporting dismissal of the Complaint.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted.

Exceptions do not contest a specific FOF rather addresses reason for absence from hearing.

ALJ was correct to dismiss Complaint for failure to prosecute.

Complainant did not follow procedure to request continuance.

Showing up for a hearing is the amount the most basic of the Commission’s requirements to ensure due process.

Mrs. Paul Hawn v. DQE

PM 6/9/2011
Case # C-2010-2171660

Complainant alleges she cannot pay her bill and DQE is terminating her service. She seeks a PAR.

Special Agent Alexander found that the complainant was enrolled in CAP so a PAR is not permitted under Section 1405(c).

The Complainant filed Exceptions generally “appealing the decision”. PPL filed Reply Exceptions supporting the ID that PUC did not have authority to issue a PAR to a CAP customer or that PPL dismissed the Complainant from the CAP program.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted.

DQE’s CAP program meets requirements of Section 1403 so a PAR is not permitted for a CAP customer per Section 1504(c).

Complainant elected to proceed pro se and the fact she now seeking legal help is not relevant to the Special Agent’s recommendation.

Nabil Abualburak v. UGI

PM 5/19/2011
Case # C-2010-2157483

Complainant is a commercial customer who alleges a high bill. Company tested meter which was found to be within acceptable parameters and that the business had potential to use the gas.

ALJ Jandebeur found that the Complainant did not make a prima facie case under the Waldron rule. All bills were based on actual reads and the fact that the testimony supports that the business was growing and had the potential to use the gas.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that once the meter was changed, the bills again were normal. Company filed Reply Exceptions that the evidence did not support a prima facie case.

Exceptions denied; ID adopted.

ALJ correctly applied the Waldron Rule as clarified in the Bennett v Peoples case.

Complainant failed to establish a prima facie case.

Deborah Anderson v. PECO

PM 5/19/2011
Case # C-2009-2136754

Complainant alleges incorrect charges on her bill, reduction in LPC and an affordable PAR. PECO seeks to have the matter dismissed without hearing since the issues were previously considered and dismissed in her 2008 Formal Complaint. Balance on account is over $33,000.

ALJ Buckley granted PECO’s PO finding that the doctrine of res judicata was applicable and the Complainant was barred from collaterally attacking the PUC’s Order which dismissed the 2008 Formal Complaint.

Complainant filed Exceptions stating that (1) her attorney never notified her that he was no longer representing her; (2) the PARs offered by PECO are not affordable and as a result she has defaulted on the PARs; and (3) the amount that PECO states is owed is disputed.

Exceptions granted; matter remanded.

The issues raised in this complaint are not identical to the 2008 Complaint.<

Res Judicata is not appropriate since she is contesting new bills that she did not contest in 2008.

Entire matter should NOT be dismissed on basis of collateral estoppel since new issues have been raised.

Entire complaint should not be barred by Section 316 of the Code.

Hearing is necessary in the public interest under Section 703(b) of the Code and Section 5.21(d) of the Regulations.

Bills received from 2/04 to 2/08 are considered undisputed, delinquent amounts which are proper grounds for termination

Complainant reminded of duty to pay undisputed amounts during the complaint process per Section 56.181.

Dissent by Powelson & Christy

Complainant owes in excess of $30,000 and she is using the process not to pay her bill (i.e., continuance for 2 hearings, no response to New Matter.

Customers will “always have a new bill and will always be able to produce yet another medical certificate.”

Majority decision sends message that customers may successfully avoid paying their bills by manipulating the Commission’s regulations and procedures for a prolonged period of time.

Laura Maisch v. PECO

PM 5/19/2011
Case # C-2009-2118649

Complainant is a commercial customer who alleges a high bill. Company tested meter which was found to be within acceptable parameters and that the business had potential to use the gas.

ALJ Jandebeur found that the Complainant did not make a prima facie case under the Waldron rule. All bills were based on actual reads and the fact that the testimony supports that the business was growing and had the potential to use the gas.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that once the meter was changed, the bills again were normal. Company filed Reply Exceptions that the evidence did not support a prima facie case.

Complainant filed Exceptions stating that she never agreed to a budget bill, there was a charge for meter tampering which she disputes. She also stated that after she was terminated she paid the full balance to restore so how could there be an unbilled amount. Finally the Complainant argues that the fine was not high enough.

PECO filed Reply Exceptions arguing that the record supports the ALJ's finding and that all charges were appropriate (LPCs, meter tampering fee, balance on budget bills since she was removed from budget billing after the PARs were broken). PECO did not object to the fine.

Joint Motion Coleman & Gardner

ALJ was correct that PECO’s bills were correct.

The failure to provide, on the customer’s bill, the full amount Complainant owed upon failing to comply with PAR is NOT unreasonable service.

PECO directed to work with BCS to determine whether PECO’s bill format can and should be changed to include the full amount that a customer owes when a PAR is broken.

PECO should have provided a complete and thorough explanation of the billing specifics to the customer prior to the litigation process.

PECO’s failure in this regard was a violation of Section 1501 and a $1,000 fine is warranted.

Michael Ingram Sr v PECO

PM 5/5/2011
Case # F-2010-2212426

Complainant is owner of apartment building where de minimus foreign load exists. Company transferred outstanding balance to owner upon discovery of foreign load. Complainant seeks order from PUC that he is not responsible for charges. Company filed PO.

ALJ Weismandel granted PO and found that as a matter of law (Section 1529.1), the Complainant is responsible for bill and PUC cannot award relief requested. No hearing necessary since no dispute facts.

ID adopted.

Adaezeh Ezeh v Peoples

PM 5/5/2011
Case # F-2010-2187137

Complainant alleges company improperly established gas service in her name. Company responds that someone representing her with proper social security number called and initiated service. Complainant was on lease for premise.

ALJ Johnson found that the Company was correct to use info provided to establish service. Furthermore, since she was on the lease she is responsible for consumption. Company agreed to recalculate bill to reflect she moved out in August not December 2010.

ID adopted.

Ronald Daniel v PGW

PM 5/5/2011
Case # C-2010-2181983

Complainant objects to being billed for tenant’s service and the lien on his property. PGW asserts that the City has the authority to place a lien on the property for unpaid gas charges regardless of whether the Complainant was the customer or not. PGW filed a PO stating that the PUC did not have subject matter jurisdiction to entertain complaint about municipal liens.

ALJ Smolen granted the PO.

ID adopted.

Ray Vasilev v Pike County

PM 5/5/2011
Case # C-2010-2181920

Complainant alleges former spouse should pay for outstanding charges and seeks a PAR and service restored. Company states that the person have attempted to initiate service using other names and insist on past due balance $7800 be paid before service will be provided.

ALJ Jandebeur found that the Complainant defaulted on every PUC and company PAR and that he was not credible. She denied the PAR and dismissed the complaint.

ID adopted.

Paul Dodson v PECO

PM 5/5/2011
Case # F-2010-2180791

Complainant asserts he should not be responsible for charges related to foreign wiring for his apartment building. PECO filed PO stating that the claim is legally insufficient.

ALJ Buckley granted the PO stating a hearing was not necessary.

ID adopted.

Pamela Reever v. PPL

PM 5/5/2011
Case # C-2010-2169033

Complaint seeks to remove make-up bill from her account. Basically even though she used the service she alleges she should not have to pay for it since the under billing was not her fault. PPL admits that there was a meter mix up which resulted in a $1,445.32 make-up bill. No LPC or interest was assessed and a PAR was offered. Her meter was shut off in error.

ALJ Coldwell ruled that the mix up was not the fault of PPL since the utility is not responsible for identifying the unit for which the meter is being set. The Owner typically marks the meter bases. ALJ required PPL to calculate the unbilled service consistent with the PAR required under Section 56.14.

ID adopted

Johnesha Teel v PECO

PM 5/5/2011
Case # C-2009-2129076

Complainant alleges incorrect charges on bill; seeks a PAR and wants service restored. Outstanding balance on account was $7,941 in 2006 when service was terminated for non-payment. This balance includes a CAP arrearage. PECO argues that since she is not a customer, it can seek full payment of outstanding balance before providing service and that the time period to dispute the charges has run.

ALJ Fordham ruled that the Complainant failed to present evidence to support claim and dismissed the Complaint.

ID adopted.

Eric Hudson v PECO

PM 5/5/2011
Case # C-2010-2192853

Complainant alleges incorrect charges on bill and seeks a PAR of budget plus $100 towards the arrearage of $15,678. PECO asserts that a PAR is not permitted under Chapter 14 since he has defaulted on a PUC PAR. Currently, he is a Level 4 Income.

ALJ Pell ruled that the Complainant did not offer testimony or evidence to support his argument and noted that the Complainant agreed with PECO’s account statement. He did not set a PAR.

The Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that his income was reduced in 2006 and he is entitled to a PAR.

Exceptions denied; the ID adopted.

Complainant merely argues about the ALJ’s choice of words.

There was no record evidence to support claim that the PECO bills were inaccurate.

Complainant did previously default on a PUC PAR.

While the Complainant’s income did go down in 2006, at the time of the hearing his income had increased to $150,000.

Johnesha Teel v PECO

Donald LeLand v PECO

PM 5/5/2011
Case # F-2010-2181089

Complainant states he is not responsible for the meter being tampered with and PECO’s electric diversion group is unreliable. He asserts that his neighbors did it as an act of vandalism. PECO asserts that the meter was tampered with twice in a 12 month period and assesses a fee of $230.

ALJ Nguyen ruled that the Complainant only offered assertions and no evidence and did not meet his burden of proof.

No Exceptions were filed and the ID became final.

Complainant filed Petition for Reconsideration stating that he disagreed with the ALJ and question how he was expected to prove a negative (i.e., that he did not tamper with meter).

Petition denied.

Petition fails to meet Duick standard.

Petition simply disagrees with ID and the evidence relied upon.

Mark Watts v Peoples

PM 5/5/2011
Case # F-2010-2170414

Complainant alleges there are incorrect charges on bill and that he has been overcharged since 1/09. Peoples states that Complainant was incorrectly billed but the error was corrected the same day.

ALJ Hoyer ruled that the Complainant did not meet his burden of proof since he did not specifically identify what bills were wrong or how he was overcharged.

Complainant filed Exceptions simply stating “I disagree”.

Exceptions denied; ID modified.

ID should include a discussion of the Waldron Rule.

Complainant has not established a prima facie case for over billing.

Carlton Jackson v. PECO

PM 4/28/2011
C-2010-2189011

Complainant seeks a PAR on balance of over $10,000 most of which was billed when the Complainant was in PECO’s CAP Program. PECO refuses to give PAR since the Complainant has a previously defaulted on 2 PECO PARs.

ALJ Barnes ruled that the Complainant is not entitled to either a PUC PAR or PECO PAR since the arrearage is based on the Complainant’s participation in PECO’s CAP Program and Chapter 14 prohibits a PAR for CAP arrearages.

ID adopted.

Ray Thomas v. PGW

PM 4/28/2011
C-2010-2186628

Complainant states PGW put a lien on his property for services incurred by his tenant and the lien is improper and should be removed. PGW asserts that the PUC does not have jurisdiction over the subject matter.

ALJ Salapa granted PGW’s PO finding that the PUC does not have jurisdiction to determine the validity of a lien filed pursuant to the Municipal Claim and Tax Lien Law.

Statement Gardner

Law is clear that PGW has right to file lien pursuant to the Municipal Claims Tax Lien Act.

There are apparent inequities that exist since landlords are held responsible for a utility bill that they did not incur and are not privy to issues of the tenants before a lien is placed.

PGW has Landlord Cooperation Program to assist owners in avoiding liens on registered properties.

Franklin Deemer v. Allegheny

PM 4/28/2011
C-2010-2172451

Complainant owns a building where foreign load was detected so service was transferred into his name per Section 1529.1. The tenant’s arrearage is $1600. Last payment on account was November 2008. Complainant states that the company should have notified him that outstanding balance was so high and that the tenant was not paying the bill.

ALJ Johnson ruled that the company correctly sent the bills (and termination notices) to Complainant but that he chose to give them to the tenant without opening. Any verbal agreement between the tenant and the Complainant that the tenant would pay the utility bill is outside the jurisdiction of the PUC. The Complaint was dismissed.

ID adopted.

Africa’s Pearl v. PECO

PM 4/14/2011
C-2010-2162269

A commercial customer alleges that PECO keeps sending out shut off notices and charging LPC. PECO alleges that the Complainant is not registered with the State as required under the Fictitious Names Act.

ALJ Nguyen dismissed the complaint without prejudice until the fictitious name is properly registered with State.

Matter remanded for hearing.

Motion Coleman & Gardner

Matter should have been allowed to proceed in the name of the individual who signed the verification on the complaint.

Better procedure is to order the Complainant to provide information within reasonable time and if not provided, then dismiss the complaint without prejudice.

Dissent Christy

Elliot v. PECO

PM 4/14/2011
C-2010-2156422

Complainant alleges incorrect charges in his bill and requests assistance with the bill. PECO requested more specific information so that it could know what charges were allegedly in excess. ALJ Smith granted PO and required an amended complaint be filed. No filing was made.

ALJ Jones dismissed the Complaint for failure to file amended complaint.

Matter remanded for hearing.

Motion Gardner

Complainant checked the box on PUC complaint form which provides enough info to the utility.

Consistent with Carlock, a pro se complainant should be given opportunity to further explain position and the factual basis for their complaint.

Statement Coleman

There are instances where a pro se complaint should be dismissed for lack of specificity.

Commission should balance rights of utility with the allowances for pro se litigants.

Robert Moran v. UGI

PM 4/14/2011
C-2009-2149801

Complainant alleges company improperly charged him for building he did not own. The bill is for a period when the Complainant lived with other students for a brief period. Service was terminated for nonpayment. Balance is $3174.45. In 2006, Complainant did make a PAR with PPL and its records list all personal info on Complainant as the customer.

ALJ Jandebeur dismissed the complaint finding that while the facts are not clear, it is clear that UGI did not cause the problem. While they should have acted sooner (and not turned on gas without getting initial service payment), the burden was on Complainant which was not met.

ID adopted.

Barbara Lolly v. DQE

PM 4/14/2011
C-2010-2167824

As a result of a power surge, the Complainant alleges she had to replace appliances and seeks the cost of the replacement appliances. DQE does admit that there was an outage the day in question and that a transformer was replaced.

ALJ Dunderdale found that there was no evidence how the power surge occurred or that the surge was the result of some malfunction or defective condition in DQE’s equipment. The ALJ did find that DQE provided unreasonable service when it failed to properly investigate the complaint and consider the material presented to it before denying the claim. A $250 fine was assessed

DQE accepts that the ALJ exceeded her authority by considering a claim for damages which the PUC does not have authority to consider and that Complainant received prompt attention during the claims process.

Motion Gardner

DQE properly investigate the power outage.

DQE provided unreasonable service in the way in handled the claim process (i.e. no the monetary amount but the customer service aspect of dealing with customer).

DQE fined $250.

Statement Christy

DQE has spent more money defending complaint that the claim was worth.

DQE should voluntarily reimburse the customer.

Shane Thomas v. PECO

PM 3/31/2011
C-2010-2152588

Complainant alleges incorrect charges on bill and objects to the deposit charge. He requests that he pay LPC rather than a deposit charge. PECO filed a PO stating no claim presented where relief can be granted.

PECO asserts that since his bills being late 3 times in 2007, it was exercising its right to assess a security deposit per Sections 56.42 and 1401.

ALJ Weismandel granted the PO and dismissed the Complaint finding there were no disputed facts and PECO’s has the right to assess a security deposit.

ID adopted.

Tim Warrenfeltz v. PPL

PM 3/31/2011
C-2009-2143302

Complainant alleges his bills are excessive when considering the number of household members. He states that in 2009, 2 people moved out so his bills should have decreased and alleges it is only after he complained that his bills began to decrease.

PPL alleges the bills did decrease in April 2009 due to a usage pattern typical of someone using electric space heaters in the winter.

ALJ Melillo dismissed the Complaint finding that there was the potential to use the electricity and that the meter was tested and found accurate within PUC regulations.

Motion Coleman

Exceptions denied.

Complainant did not present evidence other than testimony regarding size of household such as prior bills.

Complainant had potential for usage given 3 buildings and space heater.

David Moore v. PECO

PM 3/31/2011
C-2009-2111161M

Complainant alleges that the PECO improperly refused to change his rate from commercial to residential despite the conversion of his business to a residence. He seeks recalculation of bill and PAR. PECO asserts that it has been unable to confirm the switch to a residence. Further, the high balance is based on the fact that PECO could not gain access to the meter from end of 2002 to beginning of 2008. No bills were issued for that period.

ALJ Buckley dismissed the Complaint stating that even though the property has been converted, it is still a commercial account since the meter serves an apartment and a common area. Consistent with Chapter 14, a PAR is not available for a commercial account.

Motion Gardner

Clarification that during period 12/02 to 1/08, there was no customer, no service and no billings.

Clarification that PECO did not back bill for any service.

Robert Diehl v. PPL

PM 3/31/2011
C-2009-2149261

Complainant objects to PPL’s phase out of its special RTS rate stating that he relied on the existence of the rate in building his home. PPL asserts that it was not discontinuing the rate but rather than it would no longer be subsidized by other ratepayers as of 2012. The PUC approved the tariff revision in 2009.

ALJ Melillo found that PPL cannot charge a different rate for him not set forth in a PUC approved tariff and that the Courts in 2006 had ruled that rates such as the RTS rate must be transitioned to cost based rates since they do not cover the cost of service. Finally the ALJ found that the Complainant introduced no evidence that PPL had contractually obligated to provide the rate for the life of the property.

Complainant filed Exceptions stating that PPL broke its promise that the rate stayed with the life of the building. PPL responded that the Complainant did not meet his burden of proof and that PPL’s RTS tariff complies with the law and PPL has properly charged the tariff amount.

Exceptions denied.

Subsidized rates must be transitioned to cost based rates per Lloyd v PPL so RTS rate that existed in 1980 could not continue.

Albert Merritt v. Duquesne

PM 3/31/2011
F-2009-2122659

Complainant seeks a more affordable PAR that set by the PUC in Order entered 11/8/10. He states that his son has a medical condition and needs service for medical equipment. DQE responds that the PAR is consistent with Chapter 14 and the balance is over $4000.

Petition for Reconsideration denied.

Complainant failed to file Exceptions so arguments are waived.

Petition does not raise new or novel arguments.

D. Anne Wilson v PECO

PM 3/17/2011
C-2009-2137790

Complainant alleges that her bills are incorrect; her bills do not reflect CAP rate and that there are unexplained charges on her bill. PECO asserts that the account balance consists of CAP arrearages and she has defaulted on multiple company PARs and one BCS PAR.

ALJ Fordham dismissed the complaint finding that the Complainant has only made 9 payment sin 2 years and all payments were properly posted on the account. Further the bill that the Complainant argues reflects she has a zero balance (rather than PECO’s records showing a balance of $2904.84) was due to the fact that the bill being referenced was not an actual bill. The document was sent to confirm that the Complainant was enrolled in budget billing.

Complainant filed Exceptions alleging that PECO wrongfully re-charged her account for an amount previously forgiven and that she received a bill from PECO stating her balance was zero. PECO filed Reply Exceptions noting that there is no evidence that the forgiven amount was re-charged to the account. Rather that the charges related to past due budget billing charges, missed PAR payments and late charges. Finally PECO states that the bill in question was not an actual bill but a document sent to confirm that the Complainant was enrolled in budget billing.

Exceptions denied.

Exceptions merely reargue assertions or makes non record statements.

Darlington Galtogbah v PECO

PM 3/17/2011
F-2009-2117561

Complainant alleges incorrect charges on his bill and that his service was unlawfully terminated. PECO states that account was properly terminated; Complainant made payment the day after termination. Service was not restored for 3 days since PECO could not access the meter and the Complainant never contacted PECO as requested so that the service could be restored.

ALJ Barnes dismissed the complaint finding that the notice clearly set forth the date the payment had to be received in order to avoid termination. Further, PECO’s actions in restoring were reasonable as PECO tried to restore on Saturday but could not gain access to the meter until Tuesday.

Complainant filed Exceptions restating argument that he never received a shut off notice.

Exceptions denied.

Record supports that PECO complied with notice requirements.

Issue of spoiled food is moot.

PECO could not gain access to apartment building’s inside meter within 3 day timeframe but left note and number for reconnection. Complainant never contacted company.

William Petravich v PGW

PM 2/10/2011
C-2010-2188984

Complainants allege that PGW wrongfully placed lien on property as a result of delinquent gas bill for the tenant. At closing, $1,231.25 was withheld to satisfy the lien. PGW filed PO and asserts that the PUC does not have jurisdiction over such a lien.

ALJ Nguyen ruled that the PUC did not have jurisdiction over the matter in light of the fact that the lien was satisfied before the Formal Complaint was filed. PUC’s jurisdiction is limited to reviewing whether the account was properly billed.

Complainants filed Exceptions arguing that PGW should not have provided service to the tenant when there was an outstanding balance for other properties and that PGW filed lien to cover up its mistake. NOTE: attachments to exceptions reflect that the Complainants could have but did not participate in PGW’s Landlord Cooperation Program which is designed to protect landlords from incurring the debt accrued by the tenant at the property.

Exceptions denied.

When considering PO all factual assertions must be considered in the most favorable light to the Complainant.

While pro se complainant should be given hearing before dismissing complaint (Carlock), where PUC does not have jurisdiction, hearing is not required.

Section 1414(a) authorizes PGW to impose liens for outstanding gas charges.

Section 2212(n) strengthens legal conclusion that municipal liens are not with PUC jurisdiction.

JoAnne Williamson v DQE

PM 2/10/11
C-2009-2138578

Complainant alleges DQE’s pole is unlawfully placed on her property and that it is deteriorated. She also alleges that DQE’s trucks are causing damage to her foundation and wants the pole relocated. DQE installed the pole in the 1930’s and has agreed to replace the pole at its own cost but if she wants a new location, she will have to bear the cost.

ALJ Corbett ruled that the PUC does not have jurisdiction to adjudicate questions of damages, trespass, easements or ROWs. The PUC does have jurisdiction over reasonableness and adequacy of service and facilities per Section 1501. ALJ found that Complainant had not met burden of proof and dismissed the complaint.

Complainant filed Exceptions challenging rulings that excluded evidence regarding damages, easements, and other issues ruled on in the PO. DQE filed Reply Exceptions that noted Exceptions do not comply with PUC Rules (Section 5.533(b)) and that the ALJ carefully and properly considered the record evidence.

Exceptions denied.

ALJ was not biased or prejudicial in determinations.

PUC not bound by technical rules of evidence and evaluating credibility is within ALJ purview.

PUC does not have jurisdiction to award damages or private contractual disputes (easement/ROW) between a citizen and a utility.

Amir V. Williams v PECO

PM 1/13/11
C-2010-2190024

Complainant alleges over billing and appeared at the hearing to request continuance based on health reasons. ALJ Nguyen denied the request and the Complainant left the hearing stating he could not participate because his blood pressure was too high.

Complainant filed Exceptions stating that the ALJ was biased towards PECO and refused to consider his hearth concerns.

Exceptions granted in part. Complainant dismissed without prejudice.

Hearing could not commence without court reporter and ALJ acted properly when he left court room to inquire as to the status.

ALJ gave due consideration of health status of Complainant and did not determine imminent health concerns.

Continuance should have been granted based on the Complainant’s health needs since he was not medically capable of testifying.

Berkley v PECO

PM 1/13/2011
C-2010-2170223

Complainant challenges outstanding bill from competitive supplier which appeared on her PECO bill. PECO sought to join the competitive supplier to the proceeding. Complainant objects to the joinder which was granted by ALJ Nguyen and filed Petition for Interlocutory Review. PECO and the competitive supplier filed response in opposition to the Petition.

Interlocutory Review is improper and PUC declined to answer material question.

No compelling reason why review will prevent substantial prejudice or expedite the hearing.

Pertinent consideration is whether review is necessary to avoid substantial prejudice that cannot be cured in normal PUC review. Review is NOT the ALJ’s ruling.

Welch v NFG

PM 1/13/2011
C-2009-2149078

Complainant alleges incorrect billing. She did not appear at the telephonic hearing. She did call the night before the hearing to advise that her phone had been disconnected. ALJ Corbett dismissed complaint with prejudice.

Complainant filed Exceptions stating her phone service was terminated and she did not have access to another phone. NFG filed Reply Exceptions that the fact she called the night before was evidence that she did have access to another phone.

Motion Coleman

Exceptions denied

Due process satisfied by providing timely notice of hearing.

ALJ was able to leave phone message so assertion that she did not have a working phone is not true.

Dissent Garner

3rd Ave Realty v PAWC

PM 1/13/2011
C-2008-2072920

Complainant owns a 7 unit apartment building and challenges two high bills from PAWC. No payments made on outstanding balance ($17,846) sinceOctober 2007. Meter checked and found to be accurate.

ALJ Salapa found that it is more likely that a leak or other similar continuous flow of water was responsible for the 2 high bills rather than amalfunctioning meter since meter cannot correct itself. ALJ denied PAR. NOTE: This ID is contrary to PUC Order in City of Lancaster Water Company where PUC found for customer that meter had fixed itself.

Complainant filed Exceptions arguing that his evidence outweighed that of the Company.

Exceptions denied.

Complainant did not establish the 3rd prong of Waldron Rule. He never inquired about the tenants’ water usage and testified that he did performvarious repairs including the toilets.

Meter was tested and found to be accurate within PUC guidelines.

Improbable that meter only malfunctioned intermittently.

PAR not appropriate since Complainant is not a natural person or occupant per Section 1403.

Questions

Please direct any questions or requests for more information to Debra Kitner by email or phone at (717) 901-0607.