Five Easy Steps to Shopping Electric Suppliers
This past winter was a cold one with high heating costs, and now the summer air conditioning season is near. Over the past several months, many consumers have been shocked when they opened their electric bills, as rates climbed significantly due to increased demand. Maybe it’s time to think about switching energy providers.
The thought of finding another energy supplier can be daunting, but here are some steps to take:
1. Determine if you qualify for a lower rate from PECO through the CAP Program. The program offers seven discounted rate levels, with a maximum monthly income level to qualify of $1,362 for a one person household and $1,839 for a two person household. The rate discount applies to both electric and gas service, but you must buy energy from PECO in order to participate in this program. If you switch providers, then you will be removed from the CAP Rate program. For more information or to apply for the program call the PECO Assistance Program at 800-774-7040.
2. Before shopping for a new provider be sure to have the current rate from the PECO bill. The PECO “price to compare” is located on the first page of the PECO bill in the Message Center section. If PECO is not your current provider, then check the generation and transmission charge on page two of the PECO bill to obtain the current rate.
3. Think about your preference for a fixed or variable rate before beginning to shop.
The variable rate will increase or decrease depending on market conditions, but the consumer may switch companies at any time without penalty. It should be noted that during times of high demand, such as this past winter, rates can rise sharply.
Fixed rates will stay the same during the term of the contract, which can vary from 3 months to 36 months depending on the company. Fixed rate offers usually (but not always) have an early termination fee, which average about $100. The fee is charged to the consumer if they switch to a competitor during the term of the contract.
4. Go online to www.papowerswitch.com to obtain a list of providers and rates. The list may also be obtained through the mail by calling the customer service area at the PA Public Utility Commission at 800-692-7380.
5. Review the list to find attractive offers and then click online or call the companies with any questions or to enroll in a plan. Make sure that you understand the terms, such as variable or fixed rate, time frame on the contract (if there is one), and any possible fees. The supplier can only be switched on the next meter reading date, so it may take a month or two to make the change.
Stay cool and enjoy the savings during the coming summer!
For more information, or for information about Surrey’s Daily Money Management Services, contact Jacky at 610-283-7085.