The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) is alerting consumers who receive their electric generation supply from their utility that many of those prices are estimated to increase on June 1.
“If you have not chosen a competitive supplier, now may be a good time to do so because the price of electricity from the utilities is estimated to increase by as much as 50 percent for some customers,” said PUC Chairman Robert F. Powelson. “Before the heat of summer brings increased electric usage, now is the time for customers to again take stock of their electric bills, review their generation rate and shop for a better price or price stability.”
More than 3.5 million receive their electric generation from their local electric utility, while more than 2.1 million customers are using a competitive electric supplier, according to information compiled by the PUC. The PUC has created a consumer alert on its website as well as www.PAPowerSwitch.com notifying customers of the change.
As shown on the below chart, many customers receiving their electric generation service from their electric utility will likely see the “price to compare” (PTC) increase as of June 1. The PTC is the price per kilowatt-hour that the electric utility charges. Consumers can use the PTC to evaluate prices from the competitive suppliers at www.PAPowerSwitch.com. Consumers are encouraged to explore the customer tools at PAPowerSwitch.com.
|CurrentPTC (cents/kWh)||Estimated June 1 PTC (cents/kWh)||Percent Change|
The utility PTC is not always a stable price and can vary quarterly. Customers looking for more stability in their electric rates can choose a new supplier offering a longer-term, fixed-rate contract, which is an all-inclusive per kWh price that will remain the same for at least three billing cycles or the term of the contract, whichever is longer. More information on fixed and variable electric rates is available here. Consumers are advised not to sign a contract without knowing the length of the contract, the price, whether it is fixed or variable, and whether there are any early termination fees.
The PUC does not control the price of the generation portion of the utility’s bill, which is being affected by the increase. The generation rate is determined by the wholesale electric market and each individual utility’s independent purchasing plan. The PUC only sets the rate utilities charge to deliver the electricity, also called the distribution rate.
Because under current regulations it can take between 11 and 40 days to switch electric suppliers, customers who do opt to make a change will still feel the impact of the June 1 utility rate increase. However, consumers who act now should see their new rate go into effect before the highest usage months of summer.
On April 3, 2014, the PUC approved regulations that require the utility to accelerate switching time frames through off-cycle meter readings that will allow consumers to switch suppliers within three business days once the utility has been notified. The changes are pending before the state’s Independent Regulatory Review Commission.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.