sticker-shockIt would seem like an April Fool joke, if only it weren’t so serious.

More than 9,000 electrically heated Lehigh Valley households have seen their monthly bills soar by 50%, 100% or more – and not just because of a record-cold winter.

As columnist Paul Carpenter describes it in the Lehigh Valley Morning Call, some alternative supply electric companies

suckered customers into contracts with all the guile of three-card monte or shell game flimflammers.

There were complaints they used telemarketing techniques to pitch variable-rate contracts, the main cause of steep increases in monthly electric bills, and then proceeded with binding “verbal contracts,” even when consumers insisted they’d made no such agreement, verbal or otherwise.
Other hucksters…targeted vulnerable senior citizens at community centers or church events to lock them into variable-rate contracts with promises of cheap electricity. Instead, monthly bills soared, with no quick way out.

A Nesquehoning couple, for example, said that instead of the 2¢ per kilowatt-hour savings they were promised, their $514 monthly bill shot up to more than $900, then up to $1,671.64 by February.

New legislation, Senate Bill 1297 introduced by State Senator Lisa Boscola, would let consumers to switch out of prohibitively expensive contracts sooner and would require suppliers to notify customers when variable rates are expected to rise 50 percent or more in a single month, to send 45-day and 15-day advance notices to customers before automatically switching them from expiring fixed-rate to variable-rate contracts, and to not start variable-rate contracts without “clear consent.”

That’s if the legislation passes.

But there’s a surer, perfectly honest and ethical way to lower your monthly electric bills, and that’s with a Milestone Solar system.

Milestone customers report electric-bill savings of up to 50%, month after month after month. Throw in federal tax credits m state and local credits and subsidies, and you may very well find, as one West Virginia Milestone customer did, that “Our system looks like it will pay for itself in about 7 years or perhaps a bit less.”

Best of all, in Lehigh Valley, with 204 sunny and partly sunny days a year – and statewide, with 2,021 to 2,984 average hours of annual sunlight – your savings won’t be seasonal. Your electric bills will go down even when the temperatures do.