PUC reminds consumers of Dec. 1 energy price changes

Pennsylvania. Customers are encouraged to explore #SaveinPA opportunities and understand how changes impact their bills.

| 29 Nov 2023 | 04:16

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) issued a reminder to consumers that many utilities, including all PUC-regulated electric utilities, are adjusting their energy supply prices on December 1 and seek ways to reduce their bills– including shopping with competitive suppliers and reducing energy usage in their homes and businesses.

Understand energy price changes

According to the PUC, during cold weather months, the cost of energy used – either electricity or natural gas – can account for more than half of a typical customer’s bill. There are two major parts to monthly electric or natural gas bills:

- Generation/supply charge – This charge covers the cost of the energy used during the month, which is determined by a consumer’s contract with a competitive supplier or, for consumers who do not shop, the utility’s “Price to Compare” (PTC).

- Delivery/distribution charge – This charge includes the cost for the operation and maintenance of the poles, wires, pipelines and other infrastructure that delivers energy to your home or business. This portion of your monthly bill supports your local utility. Consumers may not shop for energy delivery/distribution services.

Dec. 1 adjustments for residential customers

All Pennsylvania regulated electric utilities are adjusting their PTCs on December 1 for residential non-shopping customers. The PTC averages 40% to 60% of the customer’s total utility bill. However, this percentage varies by utility and by the level of individual customer usage.

Beginning December 1, electric distribution companies report the following changes in their PTCs for residential customers (only those in the greater Pike County area are listed):

- Pike Co. Light & Power, increase from 7.3005 cents to 8.67 cents per kWh (18.8%)

- PPL, decrease from 12.126 cents to 11.028 cents per kWh (-9%)

In purchasing electricity for default service customers, the PUC notes that electric utilities are required to meet a “prudent mix” requirement of spot market, short-term, and long-term purchase contracts. Plus, over time, the utilities must procure energy at the least possible cost to customers. However, the Commission does not regulate prices for the generation portion of electric bills.

Natural gas for residential customers

Many of Pennsylvania’s natural gas distribution companies (NGDCs) have also adjusted their PTCs this fall for non-shopping customers. Similar to electric, the PTC averages 40% to 60% of the customer’s total utility bill, with the percentage varying by NGDC and by the level of individual customer usage.

The following NGDCs report PTC changes for residential customers:

- UGI Utilities, decrease from $0.7761 to $0.45335 per Ccf (-41.6%)

The PUC notes that while seasonal natural gas prices for some utilities have risen in recent weeks, overall purchased gas prices in Pennsylvania are 9% to 65% lower than they were at this time last year - reducing the impact on this year’s winter heating bills.

Energy shopping options

In most areas of Pennsylvania, consumers can choose who supplies their electricity – based on price or other factors, such as renewable energy – as well as who supplies their natural gas. Competitive offers may not be available in all areas.

The PUC’s energy shopping websites — PAPowerSwitch.com and PAGasSwitch.com — currently reflect #SaveInPA benefits for consumer energy costs, depending on their utility service territory. Both websites provide residential and small business energy shoppers with information on how to shop for supply services – enabling consumers to compare offers from competitive suppliers against the default service rates from their local utilities and learn more on switching to a competitive supplier, or returning to default service, should they choose.

Standard offer program

As another alternative for default service customers not participating in the competitive electricity market, Pennsylvania’s regulated utilities offer a voluntary Standard Offer Program (SOP) – providing those customers with the option of receiving service from a competitive supplier at a fixed-price that is 7% below the utility’s current PTC. The SOP price is fixed for one year and can be canceled by the customer at any time with no early cancellation or termination fees.

Consumers should contact their utility or visit their utility’s website for more information or to enroll in an SOP.