Here in Pennsylvania, you can shop for your electricity supply. Just like you would shop for a car, you compare different offers and choose what is right for you at the lowest cost. Then, PPL Electric Utilities delivers the electricity to you.
We support shopping for electricity supply, but because we deliver the electricity, we have no vested interest in which supplier you choose. But we do care whether you’re paying a reasonable rate.
We’ve been monitoring the rates shopping customers pay compared to the default rate, which is the rate charged if you do not choose a supplier.
We’ve found many of our residential customers are paying more for electricity through their supplier than they would have on the default rate. Over a one-year period, our residential customers paid about $97 million more than they would have paid on the default rate. Small business customers paid $34 million more.
This is alarming.
The data really made me stop and take a step back. How is this happening? One of the biggest issues I find is that suppliers sometimes use deceptive marketing tactics to attract customers.
I am sure we all know someone — or you yourself — who received a phone call or letter claiming to provide a new and better rate. Often these solicitations are disguised as a PPL-endorsed communication, using our logo or stating that the call is about your PPL bill. You may be told that if you switch now, you can get $300 in gift card rewards.
If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Those gift cards they offer you are often short-term discounts to mask higher rates. And the low rates they offer you are often teaser rates. They only last a short while and then they skyrocket.
Suppliers are intentionally vague in hopes you won’t understand the long-term cost increase or aren’t monitoring your electric bill closely. In fact, there are more than 26,000 PPL customers paying double the price of default energy.
I recently appeared in front of the Pennsylvania General Assembly to encourage our representatives to take steps to protect our customers from this type of deceptive marketing.
We’re committed to advocating for our customers. In the meantime, it’s critical you continue to shop smart. Read the fine print, be aware of deceptive marketing tactics and check your electric bill regularly to see how much you are being charged.
The time for change is now or Pennsylvania customers will continue paying the price. I encourage you to speak to your local officials to raise awareness about the consumer protections that are needed and continue to shop smart.
To learn more about how to check your electricity supply rate and make informed decisions, visit pplelectric.com/shopsmart today.
By: Greg Dudkin, Chief Operating Officer, PPL Corporation
As part of our ongoing You Ask, We Answer campaign, we’re answering questions we frequently receive from customers. Here’s one that has to do with shopping for energy.
If I choose not to shop for an energy supplier, can I stay with PPL?
Yes, you may remain with us if you do not choose to shop for an energy supplier. We will buy energy on your behalf and provide it to you – without profit or markup – at a price called the price to compare.
You can see the current price to compare on our website or on your monthly bill. It is adjusted twice a year, on June 1 and Dec. 1, to reflect changes in the cost of buying energy.
Also, if you cancel a contract with a competitive supplier and do not select a new one, you will automatically return to PPL Electric Utilities.
We sometimes hear from longtime customers who say they don’t want to “hurt PPL” by shopping with another energy supplier. While we appreciate their loyalty, it doesn’t hurt us if customers shop. In fact, we encourage you to visit the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s energy shopping website at PAPowerSwitch.com to see what other offers are available.
To see prior You Ask, We Answer posts, click here.
As part of our ongoing You Ask, We Answer campaign, we’re answering questions we frequently receive from customers. Here’s one we hear quite a bit:
Someone came to my door saying they could save me money on my electric bill. They wanted to talk to me about my energy use. Were they legitimate? What should I do in that situation?
Many competitive energy suppliers are licensed to operate in our service territory. We’re aware that some of them try to solicit business by going door to door.
Here’s the advice we give our customers on how to deal with door-to-door energy solicitors:
– Be aware that PPL Electric Utilities does not send employees to solicit door to door. If the solicitor claims to represent PPL or come from PPL, it’s a scam.
(We may occasionally send an employee or contractor to your door to talk with you about work taking place on or near your property. They won’t try to sell you anything.)
– If you choose to discuss your energy use with the solicitor, cover the part of the bill with your PPL Electric Utilities account number. For security, account numbers should not be posted in public places or shared with others.
– We recommend that our customers visit the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s website at PAPowerSwitch.com before signing any energy contract with a competitive supplier. You may be able to get a better offer than the one being made by the door-to-door solicitor.
Before signing any contract with a competitive energy supplier, be sure you’re familiar with all terms. Is the rate fixed or variable? Is there a cancellation fee? How long does the contract last? All of these factors can affect whether the deal is right for you.
To see prior You Ask, We Answer posts, click here.
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.
Another winter. Another polar vortex. Another round of high electric bills?
Not necessarily. There’s plenty of opportunity to manage your home energy use and keep your bill under control. In fact, you could say the coldest snaps offer the biggest chances to save.
Here are some tips on how to save energy and money during this cold week, and during cold weeks to come:
– Heating is the average home’s single biggest energy expense, so improvements here can make a real difference. Try to set your thermostat at 68 degrees, and use a programmable thermostat to turn down the heat when everyone is asleep or out and about.
– Make sure the hot-air vents in your home are open and free from obstruction, so you get all the heat your furnace is churning out. (Kids, especially, have a knack for dropping stuff on top of the vents and leaving it there.)
– It’s best to get your heating system inspected and tuned up for maximum efficiency before cold weather arrives. But, if you haven’t done it yet, you can still get it done, to save energy the next time Canada decides to send us a bulk shipment of arctic air.
If it’s too late to get a full tuneup, you can start by replacing your furnace filter so your furnace doesn’t have to work as hard.
– Simple, quick steps that can keep hot air inside your house include installing special insulators inside electrical outlets and weather-stripping doorjambs.
– If you only want to warm up a small area, a portable heater might be a more efficient choice than cranking up the thermostat. Be sure to use these heaters safely, keeping them away from curtains and furniture and turning them off when you no longer need them.
– Since the cost of generation supply makes up the largest portion of most bills, you can save by buying your electric supply from a competitive supplier. Check out PAPowerSwitch.com to see other offers available to you. Remember to check out the terms of each offer, such as whether the rate is fixed or variable, and whether there are cancellation fees.
We invest in our delivery system year-round to keep it reliable at times like this – replacing old equipment, installing smart grid technology and trimming trees. We had no major system issues from last year’s cold weather and we’re aiming for the same performance this year. If you do have an outage at any time, please report it by calling 1-800-DIAL-PPL (342-5775) or online at pplelectric.com/outage.
Finally, if you or someone you know is concerned about paying their electric bills, you can find out more about our payment assistance programs online, or call 1-800-DIAL-PPL and talk with a customer service representative between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.