PPL Electric Utilities in Pennsylvania has published an official Price to Compare for small and mid-sized business customers which will take effect on March 1, and unless businesses shop for a competing electric supplier, they will pay 12% more for their electricity supply.

The Price to Compare is the rate PPL charges customers who take "default" service from PPL.  These are customers who do not actively shop for a competing electric supplier, and instead are supplied by PPL through market purchases.

The Price to Compare serves as a benchmark in the electric market -- if you can find a rate lower than the Price to Compare, you will save money.  The Price to Compare changes every three months, and will next change on March 1.

Specifically, the official March 1 Price to Compare at PPL will be 10.391 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for GS-1 customers and GS-3 customers.  These rate classes encompass small and medium-sized businesses.

The current GS-1 and GS-3 Price to Compare at PPL is 9.250 cents per kWh -- meaning businesses are facing a 12% rate hike on March 1 if they stay with PPL for their power supply.

That's an even higher jump than what SaveOnEnergy had warned PPL business customers about in January, when the forecast was for a 5% rate hike.  The higher jump is due to the extreme cold weather through January and early February, which has caused natural gas prices, and therefore wholesale electric prices, to spike.

Thanks to the competition that has been introduced into Pennsylvania's electric market, customers no longer have to buy their electricity supply from PPL, and can avoid the rate hike.  Instead, they can choose from among dozens of competing suppliers offering lower electric rates.  PPL still delivers your power supply to you over its poles and wires, with no interruption or change in distribution service.

And PPL business customers can save big by shopping to find a lower electric rate.

While individual rates and savings will depend on the specific business customer, and their size and usage characteristics, commercial electric customers at PPL can find electric rates in the 8-cent range.  That's a savings of over 20%, which can translate into thousands of dollars of savings annually. For a small commercial customer using 5,000 kWh per month, choosing a low electric rate could save $100 per month, or $1,200 annually.