With the state of the Pennsylvania electricity market now in a fully deregulated and competitive mode, Pennsylvania electricity customers have many electric companies to choose from when shopping for electricity rates and products, and many things to consider when researching these companies.
Residential electricity customers are more protected by the state than business customers. PA Electricity rates for residential customers should include everything that the utility’s price to compare includes. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission came up with the term “price to compare” so that consumers can easily see how much they would save by switching to an alternative electric supplier, as opposed to staying with the utility default service.
Many PA electric companies only offer a variable electric rate. These companies will advertise a rate that is usually lower than the local utility’s price to compare, however the rate will only be good for the first month. After that the rate is subject to change at the electric company’s discretion. Usually in these cases, the customer will have the option to leave the electric company with just 30 days notice.
Fixed electric rates offer the customer with price certainty during the term of the electricity contract. There are over a dozen electricity companies in PA offering fixed electric rate contracts that range from 3 months to 36 months. The fee for breaking the contract, or leaving the company before the contract expires, is usually steep. However, the fixed rate can provide guarantee savings if the rate is lower than the price to compare, and protect consumers from potential market spikes that happen regularly due to world events, weather conditions, and negative natural gas storage reports.
Some PA electric companies offer consolidated billing while others only offer dual billing. Consolidated bill means that you receive one electric bill per month for both the supply (or generation) and the delivery (distribution). This single bill comes from your local utility company (PPL, PECO, MetEd, etc.). With dual billing, you receive one bill for the delivery from your utility company and one bill from your electric generation company. You are not charged more for receiving dual billing as opposed to consolidated billing, but some people prefer the convenience of receiving one electric bill per month. When choosing an electric company, be sure to ask which billing options they have.
All of the Pennsylvania electric companies found at this site offer consolidated billing.