Changes in the electricity market might force Pennsylvania residents to consider abandoning electric heating if they want to keep lower electricity bills, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Northeast is dominated largely by oil and natural gas heating systems, which can prove expensive in the bitter cold winters of the region.

But the electric heaters that are popular in Pennsylvania have been subsidized to some extent by a policy from electricity company Peco's policy of reducing electricity prices after a certain usage by residential consumers. That policy is coming to end, but few alternate electricity providers have stepped up to the plate with new offerings for these customers.

Direct Energy has one option that could prove helpful, offering free electricity on Saturdays when demand is generally lower. However, Peco's policy does not expire until the end of the year, so residents with electric heating should remain vigilant to new offerings that might cater to this large group of Pennsylvania consumers.

Statewide, PAPowerSwitch reports that nearly one-quarter of all residential customers have made the switch to an alternate electricity provider, largely because of the lower base electricity rates. As the electric heating deals expire, consumers might find these companies more appealing than the traditional utilities.