The number of Pennsylvania electric customers who have switched to a competing electric supplier has grown to over 700,000, according to the latest report from the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate.

As of January 1, 2011, a total of 706,113 Pennsylvania electric customers are being served by a competing energy provider.

Because the stats are a snapshot as of January 1, 2011, the first date of uncapped electric rates at PECO and several other utilities, the stats do not capture customers who have already shopped for a lower priced energy supplier, but whose switches are still in the process of being completed.

Switching your electric supplier in Pennsylvania can take 1 to 2 billing cycles (30 to 60 days) depending on when the switch is submitted.  That means many customers who shopped in November and December in order to avoid the rate hikes experienced at PECO and other utilities may not yet be "counted" as having switched yet.

The number of customers choosing an alternative electric supplier in Pennsylvania could easily top 1 million in just a few months as more of these switches are completed.

Shopping among Pennsylvania electric customers continues to grow in areas where rate caps have been off for some time as well.  At PPL Electric, some 506,249 electric customers have chosen a new energy supplier, including 429,994 residential customers.  That's up from 485,426 total customers and 411,760 residential customers shopping at PPL as of October 1, 2010.

The growth in customer switching reflects the long-term value that competing energy suppliers are bringing to Pennsylvania electric customers, and indicates customers' satisfaction with choosing a new energy provider that offers a lower rate.  Although some customers may initially be hesitant to choose a new supplier due to misconceptions that their utility service will suffer (when in fact their utility service will not change), customers who make the switch realize that the only difference from switching is that they save money on their electric bill, while their utility continues to provide high quality delivery service, line maintenance, and outage response at rates and terms regulated by the Public Utility Commission.

The fact that electric shopping levels in Pennsylvania continue to grow, and that there's no return of customers to the "default" service, proves that the savings in the Pennsylvania electric market are the real deal, and that customers not choosing a new energy supplier are leaving money on the table.