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Get ready to pay more for electricity, PUC tells consumers

By Beatrice Epwene, WFMZ.com Reporter, BEpwene@wfmz.com
Published On: May 13 2014 10:00:42 PM CDT
Updated On: May 14 2014 02:02:49 PM CDT
Generic electric meter
HARRISBURG, Pa. -

Consumers are on notice that those who get their electricity supply from their local utility will likely see price increases of up to 50 percent on June 1.

According to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), more than 3.5 million people receive their electric generation from their local electric utility, while more than 2.1 million customers are using a competitive electric supplier.

PUC advises consumers that if they have not chosen a competitive supplier, now may be a good time to do so because the price of electricity form the utilities is estimated to increase by as much as 50 percent for some customers.

"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," said Robert F. Powelson, PUC chairman.

Under current regulations, it can take between 11 and 40 days to switch suppliers, so customers who do opt to make a change will still feel the impact of the June 1 utility rate increase.

Consumers who act now, however, should see their new rate go into effect before the highest usage months of summer, the PUC said.

PUC has also provided a chart showing the "price to compare" (PTC) increase as of June 1.

The PTC is the price per kilowatt-hour that the electric utility charges.

Officials, however, caution that the utility PTC is not always a stable price and can vary quarterly. They advise customers who looking for more stability in their electric rates to 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.

Consumers are advised not to sign any 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 said legislation is pending that would allow consumers to switch suppliers within three business days once the utility has been notified.

Consumers can use the PTC to evaluate prices from competitive supplies at www.PAPowerSwitch.com.

Consumers are also encouraged to explore the customer tools at that site.

The PUC has also created a consumer alert on its website.