On December 1, electric rates for small and medium-sized business customers at Metropolitan Edison in Pennsylvania (Met-Ed / FirstEnergy) jumped nearly 30% if customers buy their power supply from Met-Ed, instead of shopping for a lower electric rate with a competing electric supplier.

Customers in Pennsylvania can now choose to buy their electric supply from dozens of competing electric suppliers, instead of their local utility, under the competition that has been introduced into the state's electric industry and which has lowered prices.  When customers shop for a low electric rate, their local utility treats them the same as before, and still delivers the power over its wires, and responds to all outages and emergencies.

The local utility also supplies "default service" power to customers who do not shop for their electricity.  Utilities, like Met-Ed, buy wholesale power throughout the year, and then pass-on the costs to non-shopping customers through a "Price to Compare."  The Price to Compare changes every 3 months, and can be quite volatile.  If a competing energy supplier's electric rate is below the Price to Compare, it means the customer can save money by switching to that competing supplier.

On December 1, the Met-Ed Price to Compare for small and mid-sized businesses increased to 9.133¢ per kWh from 7.172¢ cents per kWh.  That's a 27% spike, affecting business customers with demands under 400 kW in rate classes General Secondary–Non Demand Metered (GS-Small) and General Secondary–Demand Metered (GS-Medium).

Met-Ed serves 560,000 customers in eastern Pennsylvania, including in Reading and the counties of York, Berks, Lebanon, Adams, and parts of Dauphin and Lancaster, among others.

Businesses can avoid the Met-Ed rate hike, and can save up to 30%, by shopping for a lower electric rate from a competing electric supplier.

The lowest electric rates for businesses will vary with the individual business's usage and characteristics, but generally, small business electric rates at Met-Ed from competing energy suppliers are in the 6¢ per kWh range, with rates for medium-sized businesses even lower.