The Public Utility Commission Wednesday announced Pennsylvania ranks as the No. 2 U.S. state, behind only Texas, for its competitive electricity market and the number of consumers switched to suppliers, according to the Annual Baseline Assessment of Choice in Canada and the United States.
"This year represents another milestone year for retail competition in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” Chairman Robert F. Powelson said. “My colleagues and I are very excited to see continued progress with retail offers and new market enhancement programs which are driving further competition in the market. Our main focus in Pennsylvania is to maintain the long-term viability of the marketplace."
Pennsylvania ranked No. 3 overall (No. 2 excluding Canadian provinces) in the ABACCUS Report for residential electricity choice, and No. 4 for commercial and industrial electric shopping.
As of January 15, 2014, more than 2.2 million total Pennsylvania electricity customers (or 38.9 percent) switched to an electric supplier.
The report highlights that states such as Pennsylvania offer useful best practices to bring choice of energy supplier, service, innovation and lower prices to retail consumers.
“Workable retail electric competition requires unbundled rates and services, supportive billing options, consumer education, consumer protection, a strong policy preference for workable competition, and ongoing monitoring and reform,” the report said.
The report notes: “On February 14, 2013, the PA PUC adopted a final order with default service program recommendations from its statewide Retail Markets Investigation (RMI). With the completion of RMI, the PUC has further advanced competitive markets.”
Also through the RMI, the Commission implemented Standard Offer Programs in third-quarter 2013 that allow electric distribution companies to refer non-shopping customers to a voluntary program that guarantees 7 percent off of the utility’s Price to Compare at the time of enrollment.
The PUC upgraded and increased visitors to PAPowerSwitch.com through new renewable energy and ways to save energy pages, improved sorting and filtering, and a new “Shop for Your Small Business” page to empower small businesses, with peak demand of 25 kW or less, to shop for their electric generation on PAPowerSwitch.com in the same manner as residential customers.
The Commission also implemented accelerated switching, reducing the confirmation period from 10 days to five days.
On October 29, 2013, during its 2013 Fall Policy Roundtable conference, the National Energy Marketers Association presented the Commission with NEM’s Outstanding Achievement Award for the Commission’s success in structuring competitive energy markets in Pennsylvania.
ABACCUS provides a baseline for building a properly functioning competitive energy market. ABACCUS is released by Distributed Energy Financial Group LLC (DEFG). DEFG develops ABACCUS scores and rankings based on data available in the market.A copy of the report is available online.