Small businesses in central Pennsylvania serviced by PP&L who are still on the utility default “price to compare” rate have an opportunity to reduce their electric bill through the Pennsylvania electricity choice program. Electricity choice allows consumers to shop the market and purchase their power supply from an alternative supplier who may be able to offer a price lower than the utility supply rate. As a result of a recent utility default rate increase combined with a steady low wholesale energy market, savings are available for PPL small businesses.
PPL customers have experienced a true competitive market since the beginning of 2010 when decade long low capped rates with the utilities expired. The rate expirations caused alternative suppliers to flood the market as they were able to offer competitive prices that yielded quick savings for customers on their PPL electric bills. As is the case with most new electricity markets, commercial and industrial clients were quicker to act on the benefits of the new Pennsylvania electricity market structures as opposed to the residential customer pool, who were less familiar with the new laws. However, after seven years of electricity choice in Pennsylvania, both customer and energy supplier participation has grown.
Among the seven largest electricity utilities in Pennsylvania, PPL leads in customer participation rate for both residential and business customers. As of December 2016 the utility has 56.6% of their commercial customers purchasing power from a competitive electricity supplier. The commercial customers who have shopped and entered into a contract with a supplier account for 89.3% of the commercial usage amount. The largest users have been the quickest to adopt and learn about the benefits of electricity choice. However, small businesses can experience the same savings percentage if they take advantage and shop for a lower commercial electricity price to replace the PPL price to compare rate for the commercial customer class.
Competitive suppliers are able to offer lower prices to PPL businesses when the wholesale electricity market yields prices that are lower than the default rate. While the default rate is determined through an auction process months before the time they actually go into effect, competitive suppliers can offer customers fixed rate contracts based on wholesale prices at the current level. Over the last seven years there have been times when suppliers could not offer rates lower than the utility default rate, however for the majority of the time savings have been available. When savings are available it presents an easy and stress free way for business owners to lower one of their largest operating costs.
Competitive suppliers offer different fixed electric prices to customers based on their power consumption. Below customers can choose the amount of their monthly electric bill to see different fixed electric prices available.
Massachusetts residential electricity customers who receive their electric bill from National Grid and have not switched off of the default basic service rate will see an increase on their electric bills in December and the first half of 2017. The basic service rate charge represents the component of the National Grid electric bill that encompasses electricity generation supply and transmission costs. In November the rate catapulted to a 21% increase from what it had previously been since May, taking the price to $0.09787 per KWh. The increase can be avoided if customers switch off of the basic service rate and onto a competitive rate plan through Massachusetts electricity choice.
Electricity choice in the state has largely been a success with consumers currently having dozens of rate options to choose. As of October 2016, roughly 40% of National Grid’s 1,016,242 residential customers were purchasing their power from a competitive supplier. Customers who are participating in electricity choice by shopping for their power supplier will not be effected by the recent basic service rate change. The remaining 613,351 customers who remain on the default plan can simply lower their National Grid electric bills by finding a lower electricity rate plan.
Over the last three years the basic service rate has experienced wide fluctuations. Besides near term savings, competitive electricity rate plans that are fixed also provide price stability for consumers who are looking to better manage their home expenses. Many National Grid customers will not be prepared for the 21% rate increase that they will see for the first time on their December 2016 electric bills. Locking in a low rate will not only save money over the next few months, but it also can provide even greater savings in the second half of next year. The new basic service rate of $0.09787 is scheduled to stay in affect through the end of April. As of now it is unknown what the rate will be for the rest of 2017, though recent energy market trends reveal that it is unlikely they will come back down below nine cents.
Below is a list of some of the best electricity rate offers for National Grid customers in Massachusetts. All offers are updated every day, and are offered by suppliers who have been licensed by the state of Massachusetts.
Substantial savings are available for Rhode Island residential electricity customers who receive their electric bill from National Grid and are still on the default price to compare rate. Rhode Island electricity choice provides consumers the option to either pay for their power supply directly to their utility, or to purchase it from an alternative competitive supplier. If a competitive Rhode Island electricity supplier is chosen, the rate that the supplier and customer agree to replaces the utility default price.
National Grid, the largest electric utility in Rhode Island, is currently charging $0.08179 for their default price to compare rate. By taking the time to shop, customers can find alternative Rhode Island electricity rates that are well below the default National Grid price. The current Rhode Island National Grid default rate will stay in effect through the end of March 2017. Based on historical rate information, it is likely the default rate will increase in April as the Rhode Island National Grid default price has not been below $0.08 since December 2013.
Shopping for lower Rhode Island electricity rates is an easy way for consumers to lower their electricity bill without having to invest money in new equipment or undergo expensive and time consuming energy efficiency projects. The new competitive electricity price simply replaces the National Grid default rate, with the difference producing a lower electricity bill. Rhode Island National Grid continues to control the power lines and wires and deliver power to homes and businesses through the state through regulated distribution charges managed by the state. While the purchase of power supply has been deregulated and open to customer choice, the delivery of that power remains regulated. This structuring keeps the power line reliability constant while providing a dynamic market for consumers to shop and locate a rate structure that best fits demands.
Currently several competitive offers exist in Rhode Island that are below the National Grid price to compare default rate.
Jersey Central Power & Light, a First Energy Corporation company, implemented a rate change to their basic generation service (BGS) charge on October 1, 2016 that will stay in effect until the end of May next year. The BGS price is the price for electricity supply charged to all JCPL residential customers who have not switched to a competitive supplier. The rate change will effect smaller homes and apartments the most.
Throughout the summer JCPL residential customers were charged $0.094604 per KWh for the first 600 KWh that they consumed, and then $0.103862 for all KWh above 600. Starting on October 1, 2016 customers on the BGS plan will pay one flat rate of $0.102863 for all electricity consumption. This means that it will be the smaller home customers who see the biggest increase on their electric bills. For customers who use below 600 KWh a month, their JCPL electric bills will rise by 13% if they decide to stay on the BGS service rate plan.
Many competitive rate offers exist that are in the $0.09 and even $0.08 range. The discrepancy between competitive offers and the default BGS rate is providing a incentive for customers to switch to a competitive JCPL electricity supplier. Choosing to purchase power from a competitive supplier results in the new supplier’s rate to replace the JCPL BGS charge, which produces real savings on the electric bill. The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities estimates that 199,269 of JCPL’s 984,646 residential customers have switched to a competitive electricity supplier. The switch numbers have slowly but steadily risen over the last year are expected to continue to rise as more people become aware of electricity choice in the JCPL service area.