Over a quarter of a million customers at Pennsylvania's second-largest electric utility, PPL, have shopped for a lower electric rate and are saving 10%, 20%, or even 30% off their electric bills by choosing an alternative energy supplier.  Pennsylvanians in other areas of the state, including in the Philadelphia metro region served by PECO, can now shop for these same savings ahead of the expiration of rate caps on January 1, 2011.

On January 1, 2010, the rate caps expired at PPL, fully opening up the Lehigh Valley region to electric competition.  Rate caps had been in place since 1996, and prevented new energy providers from entering the area and offering customers improved products and services and lower rates.

However, since rate caps have expired, new energy companies have flooded the PPL market offering tremendous savings on customers' electric bills, up to nearly $200 per year for residential customers, and thousands of dollars per year for business customers.  Customers have been quick to choose a competing energy provider offering a lower rate, because customers who didn't shop faced rate hikes upwards of 30%.  In fact, nearly 400,000 customers at PPL have switched to a new energy supplier since January 1, 2010, including over 330,000 residential customers.  These customers are realizing the huge savings from shopping for a lower energy price, while also experiencing the improved customer service from competing providers.  Additionally, customers who choose a new electric supplier still receive their power over PPL's reliable transmission wires, and shopping customers are restored just as fast as non-shopping customers during outages.

The benefits from shopping for a lower power rate are now available to customers at the remaining Pennsylvania utilities which haven't yet fully moved to competition -- utilities like PECO in Philadelphia, Penelec, Met-Ed, and Allegheny (West Penn Power).  Although rate caps at these utilities won't officially come off until January 1, 2011, customers can start shopping now for a lower electric rate to avoid any rate shock when price caps do end.  Dozens of competing energy providers are already vying for commercial and industrial customers, undercutting each other's rates to win these customers' business.

Wholesale prices for electricity are at historic lows, making now the perfect time to lock-in a low energy price with an alternative supplier to avoid rate shock come January 1, 2011.  Customers can find a lower electric rate now and sign contracts today for a forward start date of January 1, 2011, allowing them to take advantage of the current lows in electricity pricing and preparing them for when rate caps come off.