Tuesday, June 1, 2021

PUC: Electric Utility Price To Compare Increase Up To 30% June 1, Urges Customers To Shop For Better Rates

On June 1, the
Public Utility Commission reminded electric customers that all the state’s electric distribution companies (EDCs) are increasing electric generation prices on June 1 for non-shopping customers.  

Residential and small business customers are encouraged to conduct price “checkups” with their electric bills and, if applicable, review current contracts with their competitive suppliers (suppliers).

Depending on the service territory, on June 1 energy prices are increasing between 2 percent and 30 percent for the summer months, and the PUC encourages consumers to be aware of the pending changes and to evaluate their options.

“As summer nears and the cooling season is upon us, consumers may be looking for ways to lower monthly bills by reducing energy usage and supply costs,” said PUC Chairman Gladys Brown Dutrieuille. 

The PUC encouraged consumers to carefully review their electric bills and any supplier contracts and understand the rates they will be paying.  Detailed information about competitive offers, along with tips for energy conservation and savings, is available on the PUC’s official electric shopping website, PAPowerSwitch.com.

Summer Price ‘Checkup’ on Electric Bills 

It is important for every utility customer to understand what they are paying for electric generation supply, either through default service from their electric utility or a contract with a competitive energy generation supplier.  Key questions to ask include:

-- How do competitive suppliers’ rates compare with the utility’s Price to Compare?

-- Is the supplier contract for a fixed or variable rate – and if the rate is variable, what are the conditions of changes in the price for electricity?

-- Does the contract provide for additional fees – such as membership or early contract termination fees?

-- When will the contract expire – and what are the options for consumers as the contract end date approaches?

The PUC’s PAPowerSwitch energy shopping website provides consumers and small businesses with valuable information on how to shop for electric supply services - enabling consumers to quickly compare offers from competitive suppliers against the default service rate from their local utility and learn more on switching to a competitive supplier, or returning to default service, should they choose.

Consumers are advised not to sign a contract without knowing the length of the contract, the price, whether it is fixed or variable and if there are any fees.  Information on fixed and variable electric rates is available here.

“Price to Compare” Changes

In most areas of Pennsylvania, consumers can choose who supplies their electricity, based on price or other factors, such as renewable energy. 

Customers not choosing a supplier continue to receive “default service” from the utility, with the cost per kilowatt hour (kWh) set quarterly or semiannually based on PUC approved electric generation procurement plans. 

The PUC, however, does not control the price of the generation portion of the electric bill. 

Beginning June 1, EDCs that have adjusted their Prices to Compare (PTCs) for residential default service customers include: 

-- Citizens’ Electric, with an increase from 6.4477 to 6.9777 cents per kWh (up 8.2 percent);

-- Duquesne Light, with an estimated increase from 7.07 to 7.41 cents per kWh

 (up 4.8 percent)

-- Met-Ed, with an increase from 5.418 to 6.69 cents per kWh (up 23 percent);

-- PECO, with an increase from 6.267 cents to 6.402 cents per kWh (up 2.2 percent);

-- Penelec, with an increase from 4.981 to 6.462 cents per kWh (up 30 percent);

-- Penn Power, with an increase from 5.721 to 7.195 cents per kWh (up 25.8 percent);

-- PPL, with an increase from 7.317 to 7.544 cents per kWh (up 3.1 percent);

-- UGI Electric, with an increase from 6.119 to 6.33 cents per kWh (up 3.4 percent);

-- Wellsboro Electric, with an increase from 6.3721 to 7.259 cents per kWh (up 14 percent); and,

-- West Penn Power, with an increase from 5.154 to 5.707 cents per kWh (up 11 percent).

For default service customers not participating in the competitive electricity market, Pennsylvania’s many regulated utilities offer a voluntary Standard Offer Program (Standard Offer) - providing those customers with the option of receiving service from a competitive supplier at a fixed-price that is 7percent below the utility’s PTC at the time of enrollment. 

The Standard Offer price is fixed for one year and can be canceled by the customer at any time with no early cancellation or termination fees.

For small business customers, the PUC notes that most EDCs are also adjusting their prices to compare in their small Commercial and Industrial rate classes.  Among the state’s major EDCs, default service rates for small businesses are increasing on June 1 – ranging from increases of 23 to 30 percent in the FirstEnergy service territories to just a 1 percent increase in PECO’s service territory.

PUC Encouraging Energy Efficiency & Conservation

The PUC also reminds families to explore energy conservation to help manage bills and reduce energy usage – especially as more people are home, with many working remotely, and the summer cooling season approaches. PAPowerSwitch, as well as the PUC’s website for natural gas shopping, PAGasSwitch.com, have interactive information and tips for saving energy.

[Posted: June 1, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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