Know your electricity options

Posted 5/18/22

PENNSYLVANIA — Energy costs are going up beginning June 1. Notifications are being sent out with monthly bills.

There are options if you are worried about the increase. The PA Office of …

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Know your electricity options

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PENNSYLVANIA — Energy costs are going up beginning June 1. Notifications are being sent out with monthly bills.

There are options if you are worried about the increase. The PA Office of Consumer Advocate (OCA) has some tips.

Consider enrolling in a utility’s standard offer or customer referral program. The program provides a 12-month fixed-rate contract that offers a discount at the time of enrollment. But the amount you save may change if the price-to-compare changes. Contact your utility company to learn more.

You might be eligible for assistance programs. Some utilities have customer assistance programs, budget billing (which spreads your payments evenly out over the course of the year), usage reduction programs and hardship programs run by community organizations. Contact your utility company.

You can choose a different supplier.

If you do, make sure that the supplier offers the type of service you want and that it is licensed to provide service in PA. Check the OCA’s natural gas and electric shopping guides or visit papowerswitch.com and pagasswitch.com. Both are official state-hosted and monitored websites.

Before signing up for service, find out if there are any additional fees associated with the contract. The price per kWh is not the only factor. Some suppliers charge additional fees, such as monthly fees, customer charges or early-cancellation fees.

Be sure to make a note of when the contract expires. Although companies are required to notify customers about the end of their contracts, it is best to keep track of this information yourself. That way you’re sure the account won’t be rolled into a variable or higher rate when the contract expires.

Stay vigilant with your account. Monitor your monthly electric and natural gas bills to ensure you are being charged the agreed-upon rate.

If you’re already enrolled with a supplier, make sure you understand your contract.

If you have questions, call the OCA’s consumer hotline at 800/684-6560. It’s open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can also email the office at consumer@paoca.org.

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