Monday, February 8, 2016

Peco: Home shutoffs drop; business cuts soar

The question now is whether the decrease in terminations in October and
November will be sufficiently large to cancel out the huge increases in
the earlier part of the year

Peco: Home shutoffs drop; business cuts soar

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Peco Energy Co.'s new shut-off report shows a big drop in the number of people whose gas or electric it turned off in October vs. last year. The total dropped below 8,000, vs. 19,000 a year earlier.

Spokesman Ben Armstrong says Peco planned for the drop. It follows last Spring's spike in shut-offs - 34,000 through April, up from 16,000 a year earlier - which Peco attributed at the time to a tougher shutoff warning policy: By cutting off late-payers and non-payers during air-conditioning season, Peco ensured they'll need to raise less cash to get reconnected again in time for heating season.

Year-to-date, total Peco residential shut-offs have fallen, to around 74,000, from 78,000. "The question now is whether the decrease in terminations in October and November will be sufficiently large to cancel out the huge increases in the earlier part of the year," Phil Bertocci, utility lawyer for Community Legal Services of Philadelphia.

By contrast, Peco has shut off a lot more commercial customers so far this year - 4,553 through Nov. 13 - vs last year - 1,757. That includes 235 during October, up from 145 a year earlier. Armstrong says that's at least "partially due to economic conditions." He added, "We are seeing businesses falling farther and farther behind on their payments."

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About this blog

PhillyDeals posts interviews, drafts and updates that Joseph N. DiStefano writes alongside his Sunday and Monday columns and ongoing articles about Philadelphia-area business.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn. He taught writing and research at St. Joe’s. He has written for the Inquirer since 1989, except when he left a few times to work at Bloomberg and elsewhere. He wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six kids with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com, 215.854.5194, @PhillyJoeD. Read his blog posts at http://www.philly.com/PhillyDeals and his Inquirer columns at http://www.philly.com/philly/columnists/joseph-distefano/. Bloomberg posts his items at NH BLG_PHILLYDEAL.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano
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