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With electric rates rising again, regulators & state officials react

A light bulb pictured with calculator, cash and coins demonstrates rising electricity costs

It’s déjà vu all over again.

Many electric utility providers have been notifying customers that an increase in the cost of electricity took effect June 1 for those who remain with them for “default service."

Default service is the rate consumers pay if they don’t choose a competitive electric supplier through PA Power Switch, which is administered by the state Public Utility Commission.

Pennsylvania consumers have had the option of choosing their electric service provider for the last 25 years. Still, according to PUC data, only about a quarter of residential customers exercise their choice.

Recent rate hikes over the last few years mean they are paying a heavy price. Default service rates have skyrocketed since December 2020.

list of electric rate increases by Pennsylvania utility suppliers

With so many Pennsylvanians already feeling squeezed financially, it comes as unwelcome news that many electric utilities once again are increasing prices for select customers.

The PUC has launched a campaign, #SaveInPA, with Chairwoman Gladys Brown Dutrieuille reminding residents: “The upcoming price changes, combined with the increased use of electricity that we typically see during the long, hot days of summer, make this a very good time for consumers to evaluate their energy options.”

Even Pennsylvania Attorney General Michelle Henry has taken notice. “Consumers should know they have options,” she said. Henry joined with the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate to remind consumers about the state’s competitive market, with tips about how to be vigilant when shopping.

Lawmakers have taken notice, too. Two measures have been introduced in the Pennsylvania General Assembly to give consumers more relief and greater control over their energy options and increase transparency in how utilities operate and bill their customers.

In a recent editorial, the Tribune-Review lamented the rate hikes, especially since they came on June 1, right before people turn on the air conditioning and the meters start turning quickly.

Everyone gets it: If you’re not shopping for the best deals in the state’s competitive market, then you’re probably paying more to power your home or business. Prices are set to keep rising. Locking in a long-term deal with a competitive supplier could generate big savings down the road.


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