Mid-sized business customers at PECO, the utility serving over 1.6 million customers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and surrounding regions, are due to see a huge spike in their electric rate starting June 1, 2013 if they continue to buy power from PECO instead of shopping for a low rate from an alternative electric supplier.

Pennsylvania businesses no longer have to buy their power supply from PECO, and instead can choose among competing electric suppliers offering lower rates.  If you shop, PECO still delivers your electricity over its wires with no changes in distribution service.

If you don't shop for an alternative electric supplier, PECO provides you with power under "default" service.  PECO no longer generates its own power, and buys supplies for "default" service on the open market throughout the year.  Because of the way it buys power, the PECO default service electric rate, called the Price to Compare, can be volatile, and well above-market when compared to competing offers from alternative electric suppliers.

PECO recently posted final Prices to Compare for the three-month period beginning June 1, 2013.

For mid-sized business customers, in the 100 kW to 500 kW General Service (GS) rate class, the new Price to Compare is nearly 40% higher than the current electric rate.

Specifically, starting June 1, the Price to Compare in the PECO General Service 100 kW to 500 kW rate class will be 9.38¢/kWh, a nearly 3¢/kWh jump from the current Price to Compare of 6.81¢/kWh.

Customers don't have to buy their power from PECO, and can avoid paying the new higher electric rate by shopping for a competing electric supplier offering a lower rate.  While offers from competing energy suppliers will vary with each specific business customer's usage and characteristics, for mid-sized business customers at PECO, rates are generally in the 7¢/kWh range, or 20% lower than PECO's new electric rate, with lower rates available for certain types of businesses.

Other commercial rate classes at PECO will see higher electric rates, or continued high rates, under the new June 1 Prices to Compare as well.

For example, for PECO General Service customers in the under 100 kW class, while the new Price to Compare will decrease marginally to 9.24¢/kWh, competing suppliers are offering lower rates in the 7-8¢/kWh range for this customer class.