Electric rate caps for customers in the majority of Pennsylvania, including at PECO in the Philadelphia area, will expire on January 1, 2011, and the latest data from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) shows that, on average, customers are facing higher rate hikes than forecast three months ago, unless customers exercise their right to choose a lower cost energy provider.

The PUC's latest comparison of electric prices under the rate caps versus current market conditions show that, on average, industrial customers are facing a 13.3% rate hike when rate caps expire in January.  That's double the 6.3% hike projected in March.

For Pennsylvania commercial customers, the average rate hike on January 1, 2011 is expected to be 12.1%, again, double the March prediction.  The expected residential rate hike is also higher, at 12.8% versus 8.5% in March.

These figures are statewide averages, and individual utilities could see higher electric rates.  For example, business customer rates at Met-Ed and Penelec are expected to increase from 20-30% starting January 1, 2011, if customers don't shop for power.

Fortunately, customers can avoid these rate hikes and save money on their electric bills by choosing an alternative electric generation supplier.  Pennsylvania business customers shopping for a lower energy rate can typically save 20% or more on their electric costs, while residential customers can save up to 10%.

By taking just a few minutes to shop for a low electric rate, Pennsylvania businesses can save thousands of dollars on their electric bills.