Smart shopping

Smart shopping

As part of our ongoing You Ask, We Answer campaign, we’re answering questions we frequently receive from customers. Here’s a guide on how to shop for energy supply.

I’ve heard that shopping for energy can save me money but I don’t know where to start. How do I shop? And what am I buying?

Here’s how it works:

Most of your monthly bill is made up of two costs – the cost of the energy you use, and the cost of operating and maintaining the delivery grid that brings it to you.

You can choose the company that supplies the energy you use. Or, you can let PPL Electric Utilities buy energy for you. No matter which option you choose, we’ll deliver your energy over our delivery grid, and we’ll continue to provide safe, reliable service.

Many competitive suppliers serve our area, and some offer lower prices for energy supply than we do. You can save money by switching to another supplier that offers a lower price. Almost half of our customers have switched.

We pass on the cost of supplying energy, without any markup or profit, to the customers who choose to buy it from us. So it doesn’t hurt us financially if you choose to sign up with another supplier. In fact, we encourage you to look for better offers. Many of our own employees shop.

You can see all available offers at www.PAPowerSwitch.com, a website operated by the state Public Utility Commission. You’ll also see our current price for energy – called the price to compare – which you can use to evaluate other offers.

If you decide to shop, we urge you to look at all terms of the deal. Is the rate fixed or variable? Is there a cancellation fee? What is the length of the supply contract? All of these things can affect whether a deal is right for you.

To see prior You Ask, We Answer posts, click here.

Cutting outages short

Cutting outages short

Our goal is to provide exceptional service to you.

One key way we’re doing that is with a new automated power restoration system that’s turning the lights back on for customers in minutes, even before a work crew has made repairs.

The system uses smart grid technology that includes pole-top sensors to detect outages, a central computer that quickly analyzes the problem, and remote-control switches that reroute power and restore customers to service.

Here’s a video that shows how it works:

This advanced technology has already meant shorter power outages for thousands of homes and businesses, as the system has been phased in around our delivery area. It became fully operational in June.

During severe thunderstorms the week of July 18, our smart grid restored 9,488 homes and businesses to service in an average of one minute and 56 seconds. The following week, during another round of severe storms, the technology restored 5,308 customers automatically in an average of one minute and 36 seconds.

Here are some other recent examples of smart grid operations:

  • A tree branch fell on a power line in Thompsontown, Juniata County, on April 9, cutting power to 1,800 customers. The PPL smart grid returned 1,016 of the customers to service in four minutes.
  • An equipment failure in the Whitehall area June 28 cut power to 1,578 customers. In two minutes, 856 of the customers were back in power.
  • A storm in the Bloomsburg area June 28 cut power to 1,694 customers. In four minutes, smart grid had turned power back on for 1,456 customers.
  • A tree fell on a power line in the Macungie area on June 24, cutting power to 1,758 customers. In two minutes, 923 of the customers were returned to service.

We’re continuing to invest in technology and equipment to improve reliability for you. We’ve reduced outages by 30 percent since 2007, with an improvement of another 15 percent expected in the next five years. Last year our reliability programs prevented an estimated 410,000 power outages.