Western Pennsylvania residential customers who receive their power from Duquesne Light experienced a slight rate hike in early June. The Duquesne Light residential price to compare went up from $0.0777 to $0.0807, representing a 3.9% increase. Meanwhile, competitive electricity suppliers have kept their price offers stable, resulting in large savings for customers who have decided to start shopping for lower rates. The new price to compare is expected to last through the end of the year making the summer of 2016 an idea time for new customers to shop for attractive electricity prices in Pittsburgh.
Prior to the rate change Duquesne Light reported that 31.9% of their residential customers were purchasing their power supply from a competitive supplier. Due to the Pennsylvania Electricity Competition and Choice Act, Duquesne Light customers have the ability to shop for competitive prices for the generation and transmission component of their electric bill. Duquesne Light charges regulated distribution fees for delivering power to the customer’s home or business. The power generation aspect is open to competition, however those customers who do not find a competitive rate pay the price to compare rate offered by Duquesne Light. Competitive offers are yielding savings as high as 20% versus the price to compare rate.
The JCPL price to compare, or basic generation service rate, was adjusted on June 1, 2016 and will reach customers when they receive their electric bills in July. Basic generation service charges include the generation and transmission portion of the JCPL electric bill, which encompasses the portion of the bill that is open to customer choice meaning that consumers have the ability to shop and purchase a lower price from a licensed New Jersey electricity supplier. Customers who choose not to shop for competitive rates remain on the basic generation service rate. Customers who are active in the New Jersey electricity choice market often refer to this rate as the price to compare, since it can be used as a benchmark to compare competitive offers against.
Every year the price to compare rate is adjusted twice a year on June 1, representing the summer rate period, and October 1 which represents the winter rate period. The prices are determined by a series of auctions that occur over a three year period. For example, the price to compare prices for 2016 were determined through auctions that occurred in 2014, 2015, and earlier in 2016. The most significant aspect of the rates this summer is the big jump in price for customers who used more than 600 KWh a month, which is the case for most properties bigger than a one bedroom apartment. During the months of June through September customers on the JCPL price to compare will pay a rate of $0.094604 for the first 600 KWh. The rate will then jump 9.8% to $0.103862 for every KWh consumed above the 600 mark.
Currently njelectricity.org, a New Jersey energy comparison site, is showing 10 competitive plan offers below the $0.09406 price and 17 total plans below the $0.103862 price. Customers on the JCPL price to compare price can save over 20% on their electric bills this summer by choosing a competitive supplier. Surprisingly as of March 2016 only 20.7% of JCPL customers had switched off of the price to compare rate according to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. The recent jump in savings potential caused by lower competitive prices may spark more shopping activity in JCPL this summer.
Below is a list of competitive JCPL offers by electricity suppliers who have been licensed by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.
Electricity choice laws that allow customers who are part of First Energy’s Penelec service area to shop for competitive power rates are paying off for those customers who have switched their power supplier. The Pennsylvania Electricity Generation Choice and Competition Act gives every customer who receives an electric bill from Penelec the option to shop for lower electricity prices among a variety of energy suppliers who are licensed by the state. Customers who do not shop pay a default rate for their electric generation supply through Penelec, though the actual money received by Penelec for these charges is passed through to other competitive suppliers who have previously bid for the ability to provide power to the default customer pool.
Recently competitive suppliers have been dropping their electricity rate offers substantially in order to attract more customers. The lower competitive prices combined with a high default rate have ballooned the potential energy savings available for Penelec residential customers who have yet to switch their electricity supplier. For the first time in several years customer who take the time to compare Penelec residential rates can yield energy savings as much as 21% versus the default rate.
The fact that simply switching electricity suppliers from Penelec to a competitive supplier can provide substantial savings on the electric bill has spread slowly throughout the region. Despite more than a handful of suppliers offering rates yielding savings of more than 10% against the Penelec generation rate, only 29.3% of the residential customer pool had entered into an electricity agreement with a competitive supplier as of April 2016. There is still a level of unfamiliarity with electricity choice that keeps many Penelec customers away from the act of purchasing competitive power. Though customers can easily obtain energy savings on their monthly Penelec electric bills by simply choosing a lower electricity rate option, the majority of customers remain on the higher default rate.
Customers looking to shop for energy saving options in Penelec can do so by comparing rate offers from multiple suppliers below. All of the companies are licensed by the state of Pennsylvania and work with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and Penelec to ensure a smooth and unnoticed switch process. One of the major reservations customers have about switching suppliers is the limited information they have about the switch process believing that it consists of repair personal visiting the home and disruption the power service. The truth is that the switch process simply occurs through a computer and does not disrupt the power service even for one second. The customer goes from paying the default rate to the new competitive rate without an actual person coming to the home.
Customers of Eversource Energy living in the Boston and surrounding areas are quickly becoming familiar with the benefits of Massachusetts electricity choice. Competitive electricity suppliers are flocking towards the Boston market offering attractive offers that can save Eversource customers hundreds of dollars per year on their electric bills. The goal is simple for the competitive supplier – acquire as many new customers as possible in what is becoming one of the hottest electricity markets in the country. In trying to accomplish this goal many electricity suppliers are slashing their prices to entice first time Boston electricity shoppers to switch over to their service.
The ability to shop for competitive electricity rates has remained a foreign concept to the majority of Boston residents with switch numbers hovering around the 30% mark. Despite the fact that several companies are offering savings of more than 20% against the Eversource price to compare, seven residential customers out of every ten in the area have elected not to shop for competitive electricity rates. The low shopping numbers are suspected to be caused primarily by a lack of education and understanding of Boston electricity choice laws. Customers who are not participating in energy shopping are often unaware that switching electricity suppliers is an easy automated process that does not require the power to be turned off or repair personal to visit the customer’s property. The electricity switch process is unlike switching cable providers or cell phone carriers which can often require a consumer to dedicate hours to complete the process. In contrast, switching electricity suppliers in Boston can be done in less than five minutes by using an electricity price comparison website.
In order to entice consumers to shop for electricity rates, companies need to offer a price that is below the Eversource price to compare. Eversource Energy is the regulated utility company for the city of Boston and surrounding suburbs. As a regulated utility they are responsible for delivery power to all properties within their service area at distribution rates that are regulated by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. Eversource Energy’s role as a regulated company is often a source of confusion to consumers who are being told that Massachusetts is now an electricity choice state. To clarify, it is the electricity generation or supply component that is open to choice, while the delivery of the power remains regulated.
In addition to charging their customers regulated distribution charges, Eversource Energy also charges a default generation rate to their customers who do not switch to a competitive Boston electricity supplier. Currently they are charging this rate to about 70% of their residential customers. When a competitive supplier can offer a rate below the default price to compare rate, they are able to advertise the difference as the amount of customer can save by switching. Eversource Energy is also responsible for invoicing their customers, even the ones who have elected to purchase their power form a competitive supplier. When a customer switches suppliers they still receive their monthly Eversoruce electric bill. The only difference is that the competitive supplier and rate is listed in the electricity generation supply portion of the electric bill. The distribution or delivery section of the bill remains the same regardless of whether of competitive supplier was chosen. Below is a list of some of the more competitive rate offers available in Boston compared to the current Eversource price to compare default rate.