By Natasha Brown

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — April is peak termination season for PECO and now more than ever the energy company is using its last resort, forcing customers to pay up or face termination.

“Currently we have more than 100,000 customers who have not paid their bill and not contacted the company,” said Ben Armstrong, PECO spokesperson.

April 1 was the unofficial start to PECO’s peak cut off season, when the company is expected to shut off the service to as many as 80,000 delinquent customers.

Shelia Miller found herself in the dark after failing to make a payment in time enough to avoid shut off.

Miller’s husband, a stroke victim, depends on an electrically powered oxygen tank and a glider chair to get up and down the stairs.

“In this particular case, the customer should have contacted the company immediately when they knew it would be an issue paying the bill,” said Armstrong. “There was a medical condition, so they should have contacted our company letting us know there was a medical condition.”

A medical certificate would have given the Miller’s a 30 day reprieve to establish a payment plan, avoiding escalating costs which could reach into the thousands.

PECO is advising delinquent customers to pay attention to the numerous mailings and phone messages you’ll receive and reach out to them before you find yourself in the dark.
“It could be over a month of communication going out to the customer before we would ever terminate the customer,” Armstrong says.

For information on how you can help yourself avoid becoming delinquent, PECO asks that you call 1-800-34-HELP-4.

Reported by Natasha Brown, CBS 3

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