The competitive scene is the New Jersey retail electricity market is providing customers of Jersey Central Power & Light (JCPL) the opportunity to substantially lower their electricity bills. While savings have been available for JCPL customers through alternative suppliers for the past several years, recent developments in the marketplace have increased the savings potential. On June 1 the default rate that JCPL charges for power supply to residential customers who are not buying their power from a competitive supplier was adjusted for the summer period. Meanwhile lower than normal wholesale energy prices have allowed competitive suppliers to offer retail prices that are well below the default price. This has resulted in the savings potential to swell to above 20% for default paying customers in JCPL.
JCPL consumers have lead the way in switching activity in the New Jersey power choice market among the four major utilities. As of May 2016, 20.7% of the 982,948 residential JCPL customers were purchasing their power from a competitive supplier compared to just 8.9% and and 11.9% of PSEG and Atlantic City Electric respectively. However, JCPL still lags well behind other power choice markets that have similar savings offers to customers. Power choice markets in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Ohio have seen switch rates falling between 30 and 50% for the residential customer pool.
Power choice in the JCPL service area is providing customers with a variety of electric rate products to choose from. The recent default rate adjustment will bring the supply price up to $0.10386 per KWh usage above 600 in the summer period which goes through the end of September. After that period, from October 1 until the end of May 2017, customers on the default rate will pay a rate of $0.102863 for every KWh that they consumer. New Jersey power choice gives a consumer the option to take a low fixed rate that last for a few months during the summer, buying time to see if long terms rate drop by the end of the summer. Conversely, a consumer not wanting to take risks could elect to lock in their rate for the long term at a price that is higher than the short term competitive offers, but still much lower than the default price. For example, current 12 month fixed rate offers in the low 9 cent range will save customers around 11% through the end of the current default rate period that will end next May. These rate plans offer customers an easy and no hassle way to save money on their JCPL electric bills.
Even lower competitive offers are available, but for shorter terms. For example a JCPL customer can lock in a rate in the low 8 cent range that will bring their savings versus the default price up to over 20%, however these plans currently are only for 3 to 6 month periods. Entering into one of these plans will maximize the savings in the short term, but the possibility of rates going up after this period exist do to the volatility in wholesale energy market prices which ultimately determine the retail prices competitive JCPL suppliers are able to offer.
Below is a list of current JCPL competitive offers. The “promo” column shows the savings amount versus the current JCPL default rate. Choosing a competitive rate plan replaces the default rate, which includes generation and transmission charges, on the JCPL electric bill. JCPL continues to send the electric bill to their customers regardless of whether or not a competitive power supplier is chosen since they are responsible for power delivery as outlined in the New Jersey Choice and Competition Act.