So you’re interested in what to look for when shopping electricity providers in Pennsylvania?
If you’re fortunate enough to call Pennsylvania your home, then you get the awesome power to choose your electricity provider. This right is called Energy Choice. And it’s a right that many take for granted, but as the classic adage goes, “with great power comes great responsibility”.
Exploring your options and finding the best rate can save you $100s, if not $1,000s, of dollars. Beyond that, just like your local auto shop or restaurant, each provider has different standards of customer service and professionalism. You owe it to yourself to find the right company for you.
First things first – you need to have a basic understanding of the process of how provider rates are determined.
We are here to help.
How are the Electricity Rates Determined in Pennsylvania?
The Delivery Fee
Although you buy your electricity from a service provider, they are not the company that brings it to your home. That’s the job of your local utility company. They are responsible for managing power lines, poles, electric meters, and underground cables that bring electricity to residences and businesses.
Electricity providers must pay utility companies for these services and often roll those charges into their customers’ rates.
Time of Year
Depending on where you live, certain seasons are more or less expensive. For example in warmer states during the summer, everyone cranks up the A/C so there is a large demand for electricity. This drives up the price. In the northern states, the colder months tend to be the more expensive times of the year as residents need more power to heat their homes.
If you live in highly populated areas like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, or Allentown there are more electricity company options and power grids available. This leads to lower rates. In rural areas, you have fewer electricity companies which can lead to higher prices.
The Cost of Purchasing The Power
Electricity providers buy electricity from power plants and generators and then sell it to you at resale value. Essentially, they are a middle man. Your rate will vary based on how much your provider had to pay for the electricity.
Type of Electricity Plans:
There are a few different types of plans to be aware of – each with its own pros and cons.
1. Prepaid Plans
These work like a prepaid mobile phone credit. Pay for electricity upfront before you use it. Because you're paying upfront, there's no risk to your retail electric provider that you won't be able to pay your bill. As a result, you won't have to do a credit check or make a deposit. This convenience and the fact that you do not have to sign binding long-term contracts, make prepaid plans very popular.
The downside is these plans usually have some of the highest rates. You'll want to make sure you check out what the costs are if you run over your monthly prepaid amount.
2. Flat-Rate Plans
Flat-rate plans are similar to prepaid plans because you pay for electricity at the beginning of the month. However, they differ because you pay a flat rate regardless of how much electricity you use.
But beware, energy providers are very deliberate when setting your monthly flat rate. They base the rate on your monthly energy usage from previous months and put it safely above your average use to ensure they make a profit. Flat-rate electricity plans are often on the more expensive side.
3. Variable-Rate Plans
With this plan type your electricity rate changes from month to month depending on the status of the electricity market. Variable-rate plans can vary widely from month to month so it's important to check the long-term price history of the provider before signing this type of plan. Done right, you can save big.
4. Fixed-Rate Plans
Fixed-rate plans lock you into a set monthly rate. As with most contracts, the longer you agree to pay for the service, the lower the monthly payment is. They typically require a credit check, a deposit, and the signing of a 6-month or longer contract.
If you're looking for the peace of mind that comes with knowing your rate will stay the same for the duration of your contract, this is the best type of plan for you.
Why Should I Shop Around for an Electricity Provider?
The cost of electricity is on the rise. And according to NBC Philadelphia, is likely to continue to rise in the next coming months. Especially in the northeast during the winter months.
Also, think about it for a second. Would you buy the first car you see off the parking lot? Of course not. You’re way smarter than that! Every person is different and every house has unique needs. After all, if all goes well, you will likely receive power from this company for a long time. Don’t you want to gather at least a little information on something you will pay for monthly?
The first step in making the right choice is to make sure you know what your current bill is and how it is broken down – which you can learn about in our short article here.
Remember, saving just two cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) could translate into more than $250 a year in savings, depending on usage. New electricity providers are always coming and going, so it's a good idea to check back often. Especially in Energy Choice states like Pennsylvania!
Electricityrates.com offers some of the best rates available from trusted providers – simply type your zip code above.
Where Can I Find Competitive Electricity Providers I Can Trust?
Here at ElectricityRates.com, we provide you with a list of available providers in your area. We also include important information that’ll help you make an educated decision on which provider is best for you.
We are a one-stop spot to learn about your available providers:
- Plans and pricing
- Products offered
- Contract terms and conditions **(spot hidden fees before it's too late)**
- Renewal options
- Billing and payment options
- Customer service reviews and ratings
Just enter your ZIP code into our comparison tool above, and you’ll see a list of options.
From there, you can read customer reviews, compare rates and plans, and even sign up for a new electricity provider. We make provider shopping fast, easy, and even a little fun!
We hope this article has helped answer some of your questions. If you have any more, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us or read our Frequently Asked Questions about Switching Electricity Providers.