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    Over the past decade, electricity prices have been on the rise around most of the country, particularly in the heavily congested Northeast. With electricity rates falling along with the price of natural gas, Gene Alessandrini of retail electricity provider PPL EnergyPlus explained to the SmartBusiness Philadelphia that now is the prefect time to plan for long-term energy usage.

    Electrictiy deregulation in Pennsylvania has had some hiccups over the years, but one thing it has allowed businesses to do is actively manage their electricity bills in a different way. Rather than changing consumption patterns or getting up and moving elsewhere, now businesses can manage their electricity rates by switching electricity providers.

    "The objective should not be to try to find the lowest price but to develop a strategy to take advantage of long-term pricing trends and capture savings to allow your business to succeed," Allessandrini told the news source.

    This could mean finding companies with electricity rates that are lowest when a business' consumption is at its peak, or numerous other plans. The current lower electricity rates make shopping among different providers much easier, since prices are competitive across the board.

    PAPowerSwitch reports that nearly 72 percent of industrial customers in Pennsylvania and nearly 35 percent of commercial customers now use alternative electricity providers for precisely this reason.