PUC: Summer utility bill management |  home style |  gettysburgtimes.com - Gettysburg Times

PUC: Summer utility bill management | home style | gettysburgtimes.com – Gettysburg Times

With electricity generation costs increasing June 1 for many utility customers, the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission is reminding consumers that they have options to manage expected high bills, and in particular stressing that consumers who are currently struggling to pay their monthly bills should act now and seek help by Contact their utility, according to the PUC version.

Through its ongoing #CallUtilitiesNow campaign, the committee continues to emphasize that face-to-face conversations between customers and troubled utilities are the best “first step” in addressing outstanding bill balances and discussing assistance programs, according to the release.

With the summer cooling season approaching, now is the time for consumers to assess energy use, explore ways to improve and conserve energy efficiency in their homes or businesses, and review existing electricity bills and supplier contracts to help mitigate the potential impact of higher summer use and increases in electricity generation costs.

For consumers who are struggling to pay utility bills, PUC continues to encourage them to call their utilities. Public utilities are the first and most direct mechanisms for connecting distressed families with much-needed aid – whether those financial hardships are related to the COVID pandemic, the ongoing state and national recovery, or other challenging circumstances.

Utilities understand the assistance programs available in their communities for income-eligible consumers—including utility-operated customer assistance programs, national programs such as the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, and many utility-operated hardship financing programs and non-profit organizations. Utilities can also help enroll consumers in assistance programs, guide them to other available resources and discuss new payment plan options to address overdue balances and help consumers move forward.

Energy use is a major factor in the size of summer energy bills, and there are many ways consumers can control this use. Energy saving tips include:

• Pay attention to the thermostat – every degree you raise or lower the temperature can affect energy costs by up to 3%. Also, consider a programmable thermostat to automatically raise temperatures while you are away from home.

• Request Air Conditioning Service – Regular maintenance of your air conditioner along with clean air filters helps ensure the efficient operation of your cooling system.

• Insulate and seal leaks around your home – Adding insulation, installing windows and doors, and sealing cracks and air leaks can help you keep cool and use less energy.

• Install or repair ceiling fans in densely populated rooms – Use ceiling fans to circulate air, keeping the room cooler.

• Protect your windows to reduce heat build-up – Smart landscaping and exterior window coverings are just two ways you can better protect your windows and reduce the effect of heat buildup in your home.

PUC . Electric Shopping Site PAPowerSwitch.com It has interactive sections with more easy tips for the consumer to save energy.

In most areas of Pennsylvania, consumers can choose who supplies them with electricity, based on price or other factors, such as renewable energy.

As of June 1, most regulated electric utilities in Pennsylvania will adjust the rate they charge for the generation portion of customer bills for non-shopping customers, also known as the “comparable price” (PTC). The average PTC is 40% to 60% of a customer’s total utility bill. However, this percentage varies depending on the utility and level of use of the individual customer, depending on the version.

Electricity distribution companies reported the following changes to their PTCs on June 1 for residential customers:

• Citizens’ electricity, an increase from 7.3995 cents to 9.3667 cents per kilowatt-hour (26.6%).

• Duquesne Light, up from 7.98 cents to 9.36 cents per kWh (17.3%)

• Met-Ed, up from 6.832 cents to 7.936 cents per kilowatt-hour (16.1%)

• PECO, up from 7.066 cents to 7.637 cents per kilowatt-hour (8.1%)

• Penelec, up from 6.232 cents to 8.443 cents per kWh (35.4%)

• Penn Power, up from 7.082 cents to 8.694 cents per kWh (22.7%)

• PPL, up from 8.941 cents to 12.366 cents per kWh (38.3%)

• UGI Electric, up from 8.854 cents to 12.903 cents per kilowatt-hour (45.7%)

• Wellsboro Electric, up from 7.7569 cents to 9,592 cents per kWh (23.7%)

• West Penn Power, up from 5.667 cents to 8.198 cents per kWh (44.6%)

• Energy price changes in Pike County Light & Energy are still calculated.

PUC notes that the commission does not regulate prices for the generation portion of electricity bills. For customers who don’t shop, electric utilities get the default generation service using a PUC-supervised purchase — the electric utility actually “stores” the customer, according to the release. Generation prices are separate from the closely regulated rates that utilities charge for distribution services – the delivery of electricity to homes and businesses.

Another alternative for virtual service customers not participating in the competitive electricity market would be their utilities’ voluntary Standard Supply Program (Standard Supply) – providing such customers the option to receive service from a competing supplier at a fixed price 7% lower than the utility’s current PTC. The standard offer price is fixed for one year and the customer can cancel it at any time without cancellation or early termination fees.

The Committee notes that the Standard Offer may not be available in areas where competing suppliers do not participate in the Local Utilities Program.

Consumers should ensure that they understand all the terms and conditions in their supplier contract. The terms and conditions are found in the contract disclosure statement – including any terms and conditions for termination of the contract.

Consumers who already have an agreement with an electrical supplier, and wish to switch to another supplier, should carefully review the contract disclosure statement to see if there is any penalty/switching fees or cancellation fees. Contact your current supplier if you are not sure.

Additionally, consumers should be aware that suppliers may also choose to cancel the contract and return them to virtual service with their benefit. Cancellation of this contract is permitted, provided the supplier abides by the terms and conditions of the contract disclosure statement. If the contract is canceled by the customer or the supplier, the customer will be returned to the default service with the local facilities and the service is never cut off.

Consumers who have questions or object to canceling this contract may contact PUC’s Office of Consumer Services at 1-800-692-7380. More information on understanding the contract with the electricity generation and switching supplier can be found here at PAPowerSwitch.com.

The Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; Ensures safe and reliable facilities service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; Educating consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; Promotes economic development. It promotes new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.

For the latest newsletters and videos of the Select Committee proceedings or more information about PUC, visit our website at www.puc.pa.gov. Follow PUC on Twitter -PA_PUC for all things. “Like” the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission on Facebook for easy access to information on utility issues.

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