Certain residential customers at PECO, PPL, and Met-Ed in Pennsylvania will be facing higher electric bills this summer due to the end of the air conditioning cycling programs at each of the utilities, which paid customers for allowing the utilities to remotely turn off customers' air conditioners during periods of high demand on the electric grid.

According to the Allentown Morning Call, PECO paid customers $30 per month for participating in the air conditioner cycling program.  PPL paid $8 per month, and Met-Ed paid $10 per month.  "Some participants also received gift cards for signing up," the Morning Call reports.

"About 140,000 PPL, Met-Ed and PECO customers participated in the conservation programs," in 2012, the Morning Call reported.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission did not provide funding for the air conditioning cycling programs this year because it is still determining whether the programs are cost-effective in reducing electricity demand.

Although the utilities could fund the air conditioning cycling programs from other sources, none have committed to do so yet.

That means for customers who received payments last year for participating in the air conditioner cycling programs, they will be facing higher electric bills as credits from the air conditioner cycling program won't be offsetting customers' high summer bills.

Fortunately, customers can save money on their electric bills in other ways, to offset the loss of the air conditioner cycling credits.

With the competition that has been introduced into the Pennsylvania electric market, customers can now choose among alternative electric suppliers who compete with each other to offer the lowest rate and win your business.  No matter who you choose to buy your power from, your local utility, such as PECO and PPL, will continue to deliver your power and respond to all outages with no change in service, just like it always has.

Depending on the service area, residential customers at PECO, PPL, and Met-Ed can save anywhere from 15% to 25% on their electric rate just by choosing a competing electric supplier offering a low rate.  Over the year, those savings can more than offset the loss of credits from the air conditioner cycling program.