Tuesday, November 21, 2017

PUC Encourages Shopping For Electric, Natural Gas Service On Black Friday

The Public Utility Commission Tuesday encouraged consumers to add electric and natural gas shopping to their Black Friday “To Do” lists, and offered its “Top Five” list of tips for energy savings and shopping.
“With winter on our doorstep, now is a good time for consumers to review their energy bills and explore ways to reduce both usage and costs,” said PUC Chairman Gladys M. Brown.  “That includes taking time to shop for their electric and natural gas supply, both of which can be easily done using PUC websites from the convenience and comfort of their homes.”
Chairman Brown encouraged consumers to visit the PUC’s PAPowerSwitch.com and PAGasSwitch.com websites for detailed information about energy shopping and current offers from various energy suppliers, and provided a “Top Five” list of Black Friday tips for consumers, including: Shop for Energy Offers; Consider Conservation and Energy Efficiency; Ask for Assistance; Monitor Energy Bills; Report Problems; and Shopping for Energy.
The PUC recommends that consumers regularly review their contracts and bills from electric and natural gas suppliers to be familiar with key factors like pricing, term length and fees, including monthly fees and cancellation fees.
With current price and consumption information in hand (more information below), PAPowerSwitch.com and PAGasSwitch.com are excellent online sources for detailed information about offers from various energy suppliers.  
The PUC also encourages consumers to discuss energy issues with family members, especially relatives who may be older, may not have Internet access or may be initially uncomfortable with shopping for alternate electric or natural gas supply.
Conservation and Energy Efficiency
Consumers should review monthly bills to better understand their actual energy usage. That information can help evaluate the potential savings related to conservation and efficiency projects, such as switching to LED lighting, weatherization, programmable thermostats and other improvements.
Steps undertaken now can help save money and provide greater comfort and safety during the coldest and darkest months of the year. PAPowerSwitch and PAGasSwitch also include interactive tips and videos on how to conserve energy, save money and stay more comfortable.
Ask for Assistance
Information about various energy assistance programs also is available on the PUC’s website, as part of the Commission’s annual “Prepare Now” campaign.
Consumers on limited or fixed incomes are encouraged to call their utility company about programs to help heat their homes or pay their energy bills, such as Customer Assistance Programs and Low Income Usage Reduction Programs.
Other aid also may be available, such as grants under the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program – which is administered by the Department of Human Services.  
Monitor Energy Bills
Consumers should carefully monitor their monthly utility bills, along with the financial accounts used for bill payment.  Any questions or concerns about pricing, payment processing, meter readings or changes in energy consumption should be raised with utilities as soon as possible.
Report Problems
The PUC’s Bureau of Consumer Services (BCS) is available to help consumers resolve disputes with utilities, but it is important that any potential issue be immediately brought to the attention of the utility. 
In most cases issues are quickly resolved – but more challenging problems may require intervention through the informal or formal complaint process. BCS can be reached toll-free at 1-800-692-7380.

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