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Justices Affirm PUC’s Record Price-Gouging Fine Against Energy Distributor | The Legal Intelligencer

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s record-high fine against an energy distribution company that allegedly overcharged customers during the 2014 polar vortex was proper, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled.

In HIKO Energy v. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, the justices ruled 5-2 to affirm a 2017 decision by a sharply divided en banc panel of the Commonwealth Court.
Electric distribution company HIKO Energy had been hit with a $1.8 million fine for allegedly hiking prices on 5,700 customers after energy prices rose dramatically in the winter of 2014. The prices rose above the company’s guaranteed rates.

Although the distribution company contended that the penalty was up to 80 times higher than penalties the PUC approved in similar cases, the Commonwealth Court majority said HIKO was relying on cases that had been settled, rather than fully litigated, and the fine against the company was not excessive given the conduct.

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Justices Affirm PUC’s Record Price-Gouging Fine Against Energy Distributor | The Legal Intelligencer.

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