Pennsylvania Electric Choice
Pennsylvania Electric Choice
In the past, Penn Power, your electric distribution company, provided every aspect of your electric service – supplying the generation and delivering it to your home or business.
Through the Pennsylvania Electric Choice program, you have the opportunity to choose your electric generation supplier – and perhaps save money on your electric bill. Penn Power will continue to deliver the electricity to you and maintain the same poles and wires.
Whether you're looking for a supplier based on price, the terms of the contract, or the options offered by that supplier, the choice is yours.
Electricity is priced by the kilowatt-hour. Electric generation suppliers should be able to quote you their price per kilowatt-hour so you can compare prices. You can look at your latest Penn Power bill to see how many kilowatt-hours you used during the last billing period. Simply multiply the supplier’s price times the kilowatt-hours to see how much the generation portion of your bill would be.
Electric generation suppliers might offer a number of options for you to consider. For example, they might offer one price for daytime use and another price for evening use, so it would be important to know when you use your electricity most. Other factors to consider include the source of energy used, whether the supplier offers other services like appliance repairs, and how easy it is to get help with billing problems.
It is important to understand the terms of your agreement when you sign up with a supplier. You might be required to buy service for a specified number of months, and there might be a fee or penalty for breaking the contract.
What is the eligible customer list?
According to state regulations, the Met-Ed & Penelec companies are required to release your name, address, account number and electric usage information to licensed generation suppliers unless you choose to restrict the release of your information. Suppliers are required to keep your information confidential, but they can use this information to offer you prices and services. If you do not wish to be included on this list, you can call our toll-free Customer Choice phone number, 1-800-720-3600, or submit the form online.
Your Price to Compare
Your Price to Compare is the price per kilowatt-hour (kWh) your electric distribution company will charge to provide generation if you receive default service. It is also used as a comparison tool to help you decide if you can save money by choosing another supplier.
If a supplier’s price per kWh is less than your listed Price to Compare, you can save the difference on every kWh you use by choosing that supplier. Your Price to Compare can be found on your Penn Power electric bill.
Information for Small Business
Small businesses have their own special needs as changes unfold in the electric industry. Below is information to address some questions and concerns that small business owners might have:
For additional information about electric competition, call our Retail Choice Center toll-free at 1-888-478-2300.
Small Business - Demand Charges
As small businesses shop for an electric generation supplier, they should compare two separate charges: one for the amount of energy they consume and another for demand.
Most of us think of electric bills in terms of the total amount of electricity used. The more power we use in a month, the more we expect to pay. The less we use, the less we expect to pay.
But, unlike residential customers, most businesses pay for more than just the amount of kilowatt-hours (kwh) they consume. Most businesses also pay for demand. Demand, measured in kilowatts (kw) is the rate at which electricity is delivered at a given instant or averaged over some period of time.
For example, suppose you turn on ten 100-watt bulbs. They "demand" a total of one kilowatt (10 bulbs times 100 watts = 1,000 watts = one kilowatt). Fifteen minutes later, they have used one-fourth of a kilowatt-hour (one kilowatt times one-quarter of an hour). However, their demand remains one kilowatt. If the lights stay on for one hour, the consumption would be one kilowatt-hour. But, the demand still would be one kilowatt.
If everyone used a steady flow of electricity throughout the day, every day of the year, there would be fewer challenges for the electric generation supplier, but this isn't the case. Electricity use rises and falls throughout the day.
For example, two customers each use 1,200 kilowatt-hours in a day. One has a steady demand of 50 kilowatts (50 kilowatts x 24 hours = 1,200 kilowatt-hours). The supplier needs 50 kilowatts of generating capacity to serve the customer.
The second customer has a demand of 30 kilowatts for 23 hours and 510 kilowatts for one hour. Total electricity used is 1,200 kilowatt-hours (30 kilowatts x 23 hours + 510 kilowatts x 1 hour = 1,200 kilowatt-hours). However, now the electric generation supplier must have 510 kilowatts of generating capacity standing by to serve this customer.
Demand charges assign to each customer the cost of the power suppliers needed to satisfy the maximum demand of that customer.
In choosing a supplier, a business should compare demand charges and kilowatt-hour charges. Businesses must consider what their total electric bill will be. A total bill includes charges for both kilowatt-hours and for kilowatt demand.
Small Business - Time-Of-Use Pricing Options
Business customers shopping for an electric generation supplier should check for pricing options based on the time when they actually use electricity. These options offer opportunities for lower electricity prices during certain hours of the day, days of the week or even seasons of the year.
Before choosing an electric generation supplier, learn about your present electricity usage pattern by reviewing historical usage information for your business. The information is available from your local electric distribution company. Some electricity providers may refer to this historical usage information as a load profile.
A business may significantly reduce its electric generation costs by rescheduling its usage. For example, a factory that can schedule production runs during the night might pay less for electricity during that time. Or, a water authority could run its electric pumps to fill large storage tanks at night and pay less for the electricity used to run the pumps.
Here are some examples of pricing tied to when electricity is used. Before deciding on an electric generation supplier, you should weigh all the needs of your business against all available supplier options.
Time-of-use rates and metering. The cost of producing electricity varies throughout the day. Time-of-use rates and metering connect the amount of electricity used with the time it was used. Like long distance telephone calls, prices are higher during some periods of the day than others. Customers with this type of pricing plan can save money by moving their greatest electricity usage to periods when the prices are lowest.
Real-time pricing. At the end of a business day, customers with the real-time pricing option are quoted actual prices for electricity for each hour of the next business day. Special meters record electricity usage for each hour. The amount billed is based on the price set for each hour. Customers truly pay a commodity price based on actual costs, not a rate based on average costs. Customers can reduce their electricity costs by adjusting their usage to the most favorable hours of the day based on the actual prices they'll be charged.
Discounts for curtailing electricity usage. During periods of high demand for electricity, such as during a heat wave, power suppliers may face difficulty keeping up with demand. Also, the prices they would have to pay for additional electricity to serve their customers would be extremely high. As a result, suppliers may offer special credits to customers who, when asked, agree to reduce usage by a predetermined amount. For example, a large industrial facility could receive a credit on its electric bill for cutting back its usage during a heat wave. Or, a hospital could receive a credit on its bill from its electric generation supplier for running its emergency generators to reduce the demand on its supplier for electricity.
- Small Business - Demand Charges
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PaPUC) is responsible for licensing electric generation suppliers. All licensed suppliers must post bonds to help ensure their financial responsibility and the supply of electricity to satisfy their contracts or agreements. Here is a list of licensed electric generation suppliers who have met all requirements to serve Penn Power customers.
For additional information about electric competition, call our Retail Choice Center toll-free at 1-888-478-2300. You can also call the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission's Electric Competition Hotline toll-free at 1-888-PUC-3228, or visit the PaPUC's PA Power Switch website.
Many customers wonder how or if their electric service will change when they choose an electric generation supplier. As your electric distribution company, Penn Power is committed to delivering your power safely and reliably, no matter which electric generation supplier you choose.
When the storms hit, we'll work just as hard to repair the lines. If something happens to your supplier, we'll make sure your lights stay on and supply your electric generation until you choose another.
Penn Power will not disconnect your service if you are unable to pay your supplier’s bill. If your supplier elects to discontinue your electric generation service, you will have the opportunity to choose a different supplier. Until you do that, Penn Power will become your supplier.
If you're having difficulty paying your bill, we're always available to work out payment arrangements for your Penn Power charges. But remember, you will still owe your original supplier for the electric generation supply you bought from it.
Additional Information and Useful Links
We want to make it easy for you to participate in the Pennsylvania Electric Choice program. If you need more information:
Call our Retail Choice Center toll-free at 1-888-478-2300.
Call the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission's Electric Competition Hotline toll-free at 1-888-PUC-3228, or visit the PaPUC's PA Power Switch website.
Visit the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate's website for an introduction to retail choice and information on how to shop for an electric generation supplier. The website features a shopping guide pamphlet and price comparison charts to help you make a better choice.
We have speakers who are happy to meet with your group or organization to talk about competition and answer your questions. To schedule a presentation, call us at 1-888-478-2300 or 1-800-720-3600.
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