Philadelphia Gas Works customers have seen a “weather normalization adjustment” (WNA) on their bills for 20 years. Usually it is a small amount and receives little attention.
But in June, some PGW customers began receiving bills with unusually large WNAs, in some cases quintupling their bills. The city-owned gas utility does not acknowledge that the bills are in error. Here’s what to do if you think something is wrong.
PGW is authorized to adjust its bills up or down from October to May to reflect the differences between real time and normal time. The idea behind weather normalization adjustment is to stabilize the finances of the city-owned utility, even when the weather gets weird and revenue is insufficient.
For 270,000 PGW customers eligible for climate adjustment, the charge (or credit) appears on page 3 of your PGW bill under a breakdown of charges. When the weather during the billing cycle was warmer than normal, the WNA appears as a load. If the weather was cooler, this appears as a credit, with a minus sign.
PGW uses a complicated formula to arrive at a WNA for each customer. The formula is near the end of the utility’s 157-page tariff, its official list of rates and charges.
The weather normalization adjustment changes for each billing cycle, based on PGW’s calculation of each customer’s expected heating usage and the deviation of the weather from normal.
Your first step is to contact PGW Customer Service at 215-235-5100 during regular business hours. PGW says they can put you on a payment plan if you’re having trouble paying the bill.
If you think your charge is wrong, you can dispute it with PGW. If you are not satisfied with PGW’s response, you may file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Services. You can file the complaint online or call 1-800-692-7380. You should contact the utility before filing a complaint through the PUC.
Two types of complaints can be filed with the PUC — informal Where official.
Informal complaints relate to residential billing issues, quality of service and requests for payment arrangements. PUC staff will intervene and attempt to resolve the issue with the utility.
Formal complaints include tariff protests. A formal complaint initiates what is essentially a legal process before a PUC administrative law judge, which often takes a long time to resolve and will likely involve the public service attorneys. The PUC recommends that customers start by filing an informal complaint.