A report released by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) says utility shutoffs in Pennsylvania have soared since a 2004 law was passed, giving utility companies more authority to stop service to nonpaying customers. The law was passed in order to increase bill collections. However, PUC spokesperson Jennifer Kocher said the gas industry has seen improved bill collections, but the electric industry has not. Also, while there are record numbers in utility shutoffs in Pennsylvania, Kocher said there are also record numbers in utility re-connections.
Kocher said the passed law is partially to blame for the rise in shutoffs, but the United States financial crisis has also been involved in customers not being able to pay their bills. She said utility companies are required to tell their customers about community-based and utility-based programs to assist in paying bills and maintaining service, if a customer is facing a termination notice.
To see a full report, go to http://www.puc.state.pa.us/General/publications_reports/pdf/06-07_PUC_Ann_Rpt.pdf.