Commercial and residential electricity customers have a number of options when it comes to choosing an electricity company for their supply rate in Pennsylvania. In areas where the capped rates have already expired, such as PPL and Duquesne Light, there are over 20 electric providers actively offering service. Choices are more limited in areas where the capped rates have not expired, such as PECO, but are expected to increase rapidly when those capped rates expire on December 31, 2010.
With so many options you might be wondering…..What should I look for in an electricity company?
Obviously the electric price is going to be the most important thing for most people, and that price is measured in a rate per kWh (kilowatt hour) which is the measurement for electricity usage. For residential customers the Public Utility Commission does a good job of making the providers stay honest forcing them to include all components of the rate (including taxes) so that you can compare offers apples to apples. However, there are some things the consumer should know: Is the rate fixed or variable; Is there a meter charge; What is the cancellation fee; Can I reach a representative by phone or is everything done via email. These are important questions to ask a electricity company when deciding whether or not the savings they are offering are going to be worth it to you.
As of the posting date of this article, the lowest residential fixed and variable rates are:
Current PPL Rates
Current PECO Rates:
The fixed rate will guarantee a residential customer savings over the utility default rate during the term of the agreement. The variable rate will will not guarantee such savings, however the savings should be available for at least the near future unless unforeseen events occur that can disrupt the energy markets at the wholesale levels such as a natural disaster. However, customers are not locked into a variable rate for any specific time period, so they can leave if the rate was to get higher than the default rate.
Commercial electricity customers have to worry about the above concerns plus a whole new set of possible traps. Commercial companies have access to a variety of products and contract concessions that residential customers will not see. If educated, these business energy consumers can greatly benefit from electric choice, but they need to be careful about traps that companies can insert into the electric contract.
Due to the fact that commercial customers are individually priced with electric providers, the “best price provider” for business electricity is constantly changing and is dependent on the customer’s specific usage demand patterns. To get the best rate offer, a copy of a business electric bill is needed.
All in all, there are a number of electricity companies in the Pennsylvania market offering beneficial rates and contracts for both residential and commercial electric customers. The more you understand about the electric competitive market, the more you will benefit.