The State of Electricity in Pennsylvania
The Electric Generation Customer Choice and Competition Act of 1996 and the Natural Gas Choice and Competition Act of 1999 were enacted to deregulate the energy markets in Pennsylvania – thereby allowing utility customers the ability to shop around for the supply portion of their electricity and natural gas supply from various retail electricity providers in the state. By 2011, Pennsylvania was fully deregulated, meaning almost all customers are able to participate in electric choice.
Prior to deregulation, Pennsylvania consistently had some of the highest energy rates in the country. By its very purpose, deregulation has caused retail energy providers to compete with each other for customers, and this competition has helped to bring lower energy prices, more customized and flexible plans, and more energy products and services.
If you choose to switch from your utility to a retail electricity provider, the utility will still deliver your electricity for the same charge as before, send your bill, maintain wires and poles, and respond to power outages and other emergencies. There will be absolutely no change in the reliability of your electricity delivered by the public utilities – which are all regulated by Pennsylvania’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) – and include:
- Allegheny Power
- Citizens’ Electric Company
- Duquesne Light Company
- First Energy
- Penn Power
- Pike County Light & Power Company
- Wellsboro Electric Company
How to Compare & Switch Providers
It’s not complicated to change your electricity provider. Once you’ve decided on the contract that’s right for you, you can simply call the new provider, give them your utility bill account information, and ask them to switch (some even offer online forms). Nothing needs to be installed, and start seeing savings on your monthly bill in one to two cycles.
But how do you decide which contract is the best? It’s not just by finding the lowest advertised rate. Rates are important, but also look for the following:
- Contract Duration. Electricity contracts can last for 3 to 24 months or more, and some providers offer variable month-to-month terms. This is probably the greatest consideration, aside from rate pricing, since you are locked into a rate for the duration of the contract. Longer contracts more often offer lower rates than shorter contracts, but nevertheless, you are locked into the chosen supplier and rate for the contract duration.
- Pricing Structures. Many retail electricity providers offer fixed and variable pricing structures. Fixed pricings locks in one low rate for the duration of the contract, while variable pricing is subject to change daily or monthly. The best structure depends on your comfort level with risk: variable pricing is often higher, but you can cancel the contract at any time; fixed pricing is lower, but you’re locked in for the duration of the contract.
- Other Incentives to Switch. Environmentally-conscious customers can choose plans that offer all or a portion of the electric supply that is sourced from clean or renewable sources, and many companies apply renewable energy credits (RECs) to these customers. Other incentives include signup bonuses, multiple bill-pay options, and more.
Roughly one-quarter of residential electric customers have switched to a retail electricity provider, while even fewer have switched to a retail natural gas supplier. As more customers switch, competition increases and the benefits expand – creating more value for all shopping customers in Pennsylvania.
Use our FREE Compare & Switch tool – located at the top of this page – to compare providers in Pennsylvania.
Read more about energy providers in Pennsylvania.
POWER SAVERS CORNER
Because the best way to save money on energy costs while also saving the environment is to use LESS power.