Maryland energy choice allows for consumers to shop for competitive electricity and natural gas rates offered by alternative suppliers. The utility companies in the state that customers have grown to become familiar with continue to function as their role as the utility for their specific service area; they continue to deliver power to their customers through the power and gas lines through regulated distribution charges. Until recently the Potomac Electric Power (PEPCO) service area in Maryland had been overlooked by many competitive suppliers as companies focused their marketing efforts on BG&E, the state’s largest utility, as well as other larger service areas in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The combination of market maturity and volatile energy prices has changed that and put the PEPCO Maryland service area on the map of electricity suppliers looking to attract new customers.
As Maryland’s second largest electric utility, PEPCO provides power to over 550,000 total customers in the state. The residential customer pool in the area was over 500,000 at the end of 2014, giving competitive suppliers over a half million new customers to solicit. Competitive Maryland electricity companies have recently started to focus more attention on acquiring PEPCO customers due to the widening space between the standard offer service rate for electricity and the rate these companies are able to offer. Through Maryland electricity choice customers can shop for a competitive generation and transmission rate, also known as the electricity supply price. If a customer does not choose a competitive plan for their electricity supply than they pay a default rate through PEPCO called the standard offer service.
The standard offer service rate, or price to compare, recently went up due to market conditions in wholesale electricity. PEPCO oversees an auction process to determine the standard offer service price. After the auction for summer 2015 rates was completed, energy prices began to drop allowing competitive suppliers to buy power contracts on the wholesale market and start offering lower prices to PEPCO consumers. Now that competitive electricity suppliers are able to offer fixed rate contracts to PEPCO customers that are well below the PEPCO standard offer service rate, a true incentive exists for both suppliers and customers to participate in the Maryland electricity choice market.
That incentive, of course, is the ability for consumers to find cheaper PEPCO electricity rates and thus pay less money on their monthly electric bills. When a customer chooses a competitive price plan that rate simply replaces the PEPCO standard offer service rate, so the savings are simply and easy to understand. Current PEPCO rates offered by licensed electricity suppliers are shown below.
With the recent announcement by PSEG that they will be raising their basic generation service rates for their residential and small business customers, many consumers are starting to search for the best alternative to PSEG. Through New Jersey energy choice laws, all PSEG customers have the option to shop the competitive electricity market for an alternative electricity supplier. While these companies are alternatives to PSEG, the quality of the power is the exact same as the power continues to be delivered though the same power lines and wires.
New Jersey has set up a fairly simply electricity choice market where utilities such as PSEG continue to deliver power to their customer base no matter who the customer chooses to supply the power. The alternative electricity companies offer rates to customers that represent the electricity generation and transmission portion of the electric bill. PSEG and the other three major New Jersey utilities receive revenues through the distribution charge on the electric bill which remains regulated by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.
The best alternative companies to PSEG are those that offer a fixed electric rate that is lower than the basic generation service charge. If a customer does not choose an alternative supplier they pay the basic generation service charge for power supply which is the PSEG default rate. Finding an electricity supplier that offers a rate lower than the default rate will result in a lower PSEG electric bill. However, it is also important that the rate is fixed for at least several months, otherwise the electricity supplier will likely increase the rate after the initial month.
Pennsylvania Power and Light customers are once again taking advantage of energy choice laws to save money on their electric bills. When the PPL service are first became truly competitive in 2010 many customers found that they could lower their PPL electric bill by shopping for competitive electricity rates. In the last several years the growth in the number of customers buying power from competitive electricity suppliers leveled off as the difference between the lowest competitive electric rates and the PPL price to compare default rate got closer to parity. With that gap now widening again, residential customers in the PPL service area once again have the ability to save on energy expenses by participating in energy choice.
Electricity choice in Pennsylvania allows customers the ability to save on their energy bills if they are able to find a competitive electricity offer that is lower than their utility default rate. Currently in the PPL service area the lowest competitive rates are showing savings above ten percent versus the price to compare default rate. Though there are many energy savings products available that provide ways to save on energy through energy efficiency consumption, the easiest way to save on energy bills is to purchase low cost electricity. It takes less than five minutes to compare, choose, and enroll in a competitive electricity plan like the ones below, all of which are approved by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
Residential electricity customers who receive their power from AEP Ohio Power are receiving attractive price options from competitive suppliers as the summer approaches. Due to a recent widening gap between the Ohio Power generation default rate and competitive electric rates in the area, customers can save more than 20% off of their monthly electric bills by choosing a rate plan offered by a competitive supplier. The savings potential has increased shopping activity in the AEP Ohio Power service area market.
Through Ohio electricity choice customers have the ability to shop for competitive generation and transmission rates from alternative suppliers while still receiving the power and monthly electric bill through their local utility such as AEP Ohio Power. AEP Ohio Power continues to deliver power to their customers and charges a regulated delivery charge for this service. The deliver charge is regulated by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and does not change based on whether a customer chooses a competitive supplier or not. Customers who do not choose a competitive electricity plan pay a default rate for generation and transmission service offered by AEP Ohio Power.
The AEP Ohio Power default rate has recently risen to $0.0907 cents at the same time competitive rates are being offered in the $0.065 to $0.08 range. This gives consumers who are still on the default rate an opportunity to save as much as 28.5% on their electric bills as we approach the high electricity usage summer months. This is the first time that Ohio Power residential customers have been able to save over 20% through Ohio electricity choice. The high savings amounts will likely encourage customers who had previously not paid attention to competitive rates to finally shop the market.
Below is a list of current AEP Ohio Power residential rates, all of which have been approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. If you are a AEP Columbus Southern customer please visit our AEP Columbus rate page.