Did you know that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania deregulated electricity suppliers back in the 1990s? This means that you can shop for a new electricity supplier for your home or business and lower your monthly electricity bill with minimal effort. Your local power utility (such as PPL) still delivers power to your home and sends you your monthly bill, but what you are changing is who generates your power. You still get one bill from your local utility each month. PPL doesn’t generate power (they only deliver power to your home), so even PPL suggests that consumers shop for lower-cost electricity suppliers. This saves you money every month and it only takes a few minutes to change suppliers. Why wouldn’t you do this?
All you need is a recent electricity bill and a computer. Visit the PA PowerSwitch website: www.papowerswitch.com/shop-for-electricity
Once at their website, enter your zip code. Next, the PA PowerSwitch website will display your current supplier’s “Price To Compare” price per KWH (KiloWatt Hour); this info is normally also listed in your electricity bill. This price may change quarterly. Lower down the webpage will be a long list of all PA licensed electricity suppliers who service your area. At the top of the page, you can sort by "Price: Low to High". This will re-order the listed electricity suppliers in terms of price from low to high as well as sorting by fixed or variable rate programs.
Knowing your current “Price To Compare”, you can find a plan that is cheaper than you are now paying. A “Fixed” rate plan is wiser than a “Variable” rate plan as the fixed price is set for the term of your contract. The various suppliers’ contracts vary anywhere from monthly to 36+ months. With a “Variable” rate plan, you don’t necessarily know from month-to-month what your electricity rate will be and, in some cases in recent years, these rates have increased well over 300% from month-to-month. A “Fixed” longer term rate is probably best for the vast majority of consumers as they are locked in to a low price for a longer period of time. Electricity rates rarely go down, so changing to the supplier with the lowest “Fixed” rate plan for 12+ months is often best. Some suppliers have an early cancellation fee if you change suppliers again before your contract is over.
Once you choose your next electricity supplier, follow the link to their website where you can read the plan details (rate per KHW, term, and other details). Enter your current utility account number, address, etc. You will then normally get an email or letter in the mail in a few weeks to confirm your new supplier. The change in supplier (and thus your new price) may take a month or two to take effect based upon where you are in your current electricity billing cycle.
A similar program (“PA Gas Switch”) allows consumers to also change their natural gas supplier: http://www.puc.pa.gov/consumer_info/natural_gas/natural_gas_shopping/gas_shopping_tool.aspx
In the past, I’ve personally lowered my electric and natural gas bills anywhere between $8~$20 per month over what my local electric (PPL) and natural gas (UGI) utilities would charge for the same usage. That amount may not seem like much, but that can exceed over $150 in savings in the course of a year over your local utility supplier’s prices. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “A penny saved is a penny earned”… the PA PowerSwitch program can save you lots of pennies.
© 2015 Matthew Steger
Matthew Steger, owner/inspector of WIN Home Inspection, is an ASHI Certified Inspector (ACI) and a Certified Level 1 Infrared Thermographer. He can be reached at: 717-361-9467 or email@example.com.
WIN Home Inspection provides a wide array of home inspection services in the Lancaster, PA area. This article was authored by Matthew Steger, ACI - owner of WIN Home Inspection in Lancaster, PA. No article, or portion thereof, may be reproduced or copied without prior written consent of Matthew Steger.