Troubleshooters: PGW assessing Weather Normalization Adjustments after Action News inquiry

A surcharge is applied to the bill for bill periods when the temperature is warmer than normal and customers use less gas.

ByNydia Han and Cheryl Mettendorf via WPVI logo
Wednesday, June 29, 2022
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Several people reached out to the Action News Troubleshooters, saying they are now being charged double and even triple for a certain adjustment related to the weather.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia Gas Works customers have seen their bills skyrocket and it isn't because they're using more gas.

Several people reached out to the Action News Troubleshooters saying they are now being charged double and even triple for a certain adjustment related to the weather.

The Troubleshooters have been working on this issue after viewers alerted us to alarming increases on their gas bills in the form of something called a "Weather Normalization Adjustment."

We have learned the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate is investigating as well.

The good news is a change could be on the way after our inquiry to PGW.

"We are trying to save," said Jenna Heron of Northeast Philadelphia. "We have a new baby coming and we need the time off that we won't be paid for so we have to stockpile money away."

So Jenna Heron was dismayed when she opened up her family's latest PGW bill.

It showed their average daily cost tripled from $1.15 the prior year to $3.11 this year.

And they were charged $53.83 for a "Weather Normalization Adjustment."

"And I've talked to some neighbors and they've gotten charged more than the $53.83," said Heron.

An Action News viewer in Mayfair sent the Troubleshooters her bill which shows a Weather Normalization Adjustment of nearly $80.

That increase in daily cost went from $1.19 to $4.05.

A PGW customer from South Philadelphia shared her bill as well. She was flabbergasted when she saw a Weather Normalization Charge of $107.22.

They all tell the Troubleshooters they immediately alerted PGW customer service about the charge.

"So I called and how they explained it was basically we didn't use enough gas so they're charging us for the unused gas," said Heron.

PGW says the Weather Normalization Adjustment is used by utilities across the country.

The adjustment is applied to monthly bills from October through May.

A surcharge is applied to the bill for bill periods when the temperature is warmer than normal and customers use less gas.

For bill periods that are colder than normal, a credit is applied.

"We paid our bill, I don't understand why we're being charged for unused product," said Heron.

PGW said this makes customers' gas heating bills more predictable and stable and lets utilities cover the costs of maintaining their systems even when gas use is lower than expected.

PGW has not yet told us exactly how the adjustment amounts are calculated or how they determine who gets charged but it does say:

"This May's warmer than normal temperatures are expected to impact approximately 270,000 PGW residential heating customers' bills."

A spokesperson also told us that they will have more answers by noon on Thursday.

And after our inquiries, PGW told the Troubleshooters: "We're currently assessing the Weather Normalization Adjustment situation in light of the impact it had on customers."

Read the full statement released by PGW below:

"PGW's Tariffed WNA applies an adjustment to customers' monthly bills from October through May based on "normal" weather. Currently, the WNA utilizes a 20-year average for normal weather. This May's warmer than normal temperatures from mid to late May are expected to impact approximately 270,000 PGW residential heating customers' bills.Gas bills are separated into gas supply charges (the cost of the gas itself) and gas distribution charges (the charge to deliver the gas). As set forth in the Tariff, the WNA applies to the distribution charge. No adjustment is made to the commodity charge.To assist with the WNA charge this month, PGW is encouraging customers to contact PGW to request a payment arrangement. Information on PGW's payment assistance options can also be found at https://www.pgworks.com/customer-care/payment-assistance.We certainly understand the impact this charge may have on our customers, so we are continuing to monitor the issue and investigating what options we may have if we encounter these similar circumstances again in the future. Again, we encourage customers to contact us for a payment arrangement if they need assistance. All impacted customers will be covered if they contact us."