Compare electricity rates in Pennsylvania

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Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania energy rates

As one of only 15 states where residents choose among competing energy suppliers, Pennsylvanians enjoy deregulated electricity. In other words, state residents can go outside their utility company to find the best price, term length, and plan type for their needs through a selection of energy suppliers. 

With the power to choose, Pennsylvania energy consumers gain protection against utility rate hikes and other factors reflected through their energy bills. Consumers in the state still contract with their local utility as the company responsible for delivering electricity and maintaining the infrastructure for delivery. Utilities, for instance, address power outages or other issues around energy delivery. 

But with the choice around energy suppliers, Pennsylvania consumers buy their electricity by shopping for the best rates and other terms. 

Types of Pennsylvania electricity plans

Electricity plans available in Pennsylvania allow consumers to choose their supplier based on multiple factors, including price, term length, plan type and even the percentage of renewable energy that comprises their power makeup. Plan choices include:

Fixed-rate electricity plans

Fixed-rate electricity plans lock in the electricity-supply rate for the length of the plan. Unlike variable-rate plans subject to unexpected rate hikes without a guarantee of a maximum rate, fixed-rate plans offer price stability. At the same time, at the conclusion of a fixed-rate term, the contract often switches to a variable rate. In order to remain on a fixed rate, consumers must negotiate another contract.

Variable-rate electricity plans

Variable-rate plans, similar to utilities, periodically change rates based on market fluctuations and seasonality. 

The real advantage of variable-rate plans centers on flexibility as fixed term lengths usually don’t apply, allowing for cancellation of service without a fee. They’re a good option for short-term needs. 

Green energy plans

Consumers with the desire to go green often choose plans designed to support the development of renewable energy projects.

Understanding deregulation in Pennsylvania

With the passage of the Electric Choice and Competition Act in 1997, Pennsylvania legislators enacted power choice to allow consumers in the state to shop for a new electricity supplier different from their utility. In 1999, state legislators passed a similar measure that applies to natural gas.

However, utility companies kept responsibilities for delivery of electricity and natural gas to consumers and maintenance of delivery lines. But by allowing consumers to shop various power suppliers, customers gained access to competitive rates and terms of the resources. 

Rate caps began to lift in 2010 and prompted the entry of supplier competition. With the entry of these new suppliers competing to gain customers through rates, consumers gain energy cost savings. Already more than 2 million people in the state now receive power generation from a source other than their utility company. 

The Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission, funded through assessment of regulated utilities in the state, operates in the background around power delivery. Based in Harrisburg, PUC issues licensing to the state’s power suppliers and employs rate and service analysts, auditors, safety inspectors, enforcement investigators and others.

Energy plans in Pennsylvania

While deregulation amounts to a win for consumers, navigating the field of deregulated suppliers often acts to a confusing array of choices. With this in mind, Choose Energy provides the resources necessary to help consumers understand their options for the best prices and terms available. 

However, a number of Choose Energy resources can provide help:

By entering your ZIP code, the Choose Energy marketplace lays out low rates from top providers in your area. The Choose Energy tools, available 24/7, allow consumers to compare, choose, and switch energy suppliers

After you’ve entered your ZIP code to determine if you live in an area with energy choice, you only need a copy of your most recent energy bill to begin exploring possible supplier alternatives. If you currently use the utility for your power supply, the “Price to Compare” tool allows comparisons based on the utility’s default rate. 

Consumers who already use a non-utility energy supplier, the bill section that reads “Energy Charges,” “Supply Charges,” or “Generation Charges” tell you your per kilowatt hour rate (kWh), which is the amount you’ll use to compare pricing.  

It’s important to note that Utility Provider Charges also appear on your bill. These distribution charges, customer charges, and any other charges that go to the utility provider remain unchanged when you switch providers. Even after you switch to an alternative electricity supplier, the utility company still sends you the bill. 

Once you’ve chosen a plan, sign up online or over the phone. Your new provider coordinates the switch with the utility so you don’t have to cancel with your previous provider. You won’t experience any power disruptions in the switch and no new meter is required.

How to decide among Pennsylvania electricity suppliers

The Choose Energy Guide on choosing the right electricity plan includes information on all aspects you need to consider in finding the best plan for you. Choose Energy walks you through the types of plans available, rate structures of various suppliers, length of contract, payment options and renewable energy. 

One factor to note: Most plans require a credit check to determine whether you must pay a deposit and, if so, how large it will be. However, there are some no-deposit plans – which usually require payment in advance and can have higher rates.  

How to lower your Pennsylvania electricity bills

Understanding your electric bill charges, exploring ideas around conservation and energy efficiency, and finding supplier alternatives all play a role in helping you to bring down your total energy bill. Choose Energy provides these resources to help you keep your energy costs down. 

Essentially, Choose Energy gives you the tools you need to decide between a fixed-rate plan that gives you rate stability over the term of the contract; a variable-rate plan that might include lower rates during periods of low energy use and higher rates during periods of higher energy use; and even prepaid plans that allow you to avoid deposits. Choose Energy even gives you options around an array of renewable energy plans. 

Choose Energy’s marketplace tools give you more control of your electric bill by assisting you in finding the suppliers with the lowest costs and best terms. Your local utility acts as the default supplier, which means you’ll pay utility rates if you don’t switch to a supplier. 

Pennsylvania energy companies

Pennsylvania utilities include players such as Duquesne Light Co., Metropolitan Edison Co., PECO,and PPL Electric Utilities. These and other utilities in the state deliver power to customers and also maintain the necessary infrastructure used for the delivery of power. And while the various utility companies in the state also provide raw power to customers, power supply companies now compete to sell the resource to consumers. 

The growth of power suppliers in Pennsylvania now reaches 100+. From small, municipal-based companies to larger providers operating across states, energy suppliers continue to gain ground as an economic alternative to utility rates. 

Some suppliers that serve Pennsylvania include Constellation, Frontier Utilities, and Direct Energy.

Find the right energy plan with Choose Energy

As the intention of utility deregulation was to provide consumers with more choice around electricity providers, PUC offers its own site, called PA Power Switch, that enables consumers to explore alternatives. While the site offers a comprehensive list of suppliers, hidden cost and fee information about these suppliers leaves consumers with an incomplete picture of real costs. 

Choose Energy provides comprehensive apples-to-apples comparisons of rates between utilities and a variety of electricity suppliers. It takes just three simple steps:

  • Enter your ZIP code and compare plans
  • Select a plan and sign up over the phone or online
  • Let your new supplier take care of the switch and handle the setup

Choose Energy ensures your access to reputable providers and upfront pricing you can trust. Enter your ZIP now to see what’s available.

Updated: 8/11/2020

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