Nearly 148,000 electric customers of PECO Energy in the Philadelphia area have chosen a competing electric supplier to save money on their power bills, according to the latest statistics from PECO.

As noted last week, the vast number of PECO customers switching to save money on their electricity rate -- due to the expiration of rate caps at PECO on January 1, 2011 -- didn't show up in the recent stats from the Office of Consumer Advocate (OCA) because the OCA uses a January 1, 2011 "snapshot" for reporting statistics.

However, PECO said last week that when including both completed and pending switches, some 10% of customers have now chosen an alternative electric supplier.

That works out to about 96,000 residential customers, 49,000 small business customers, and 2,000 large commercial customers.

PECO also said that some 20,000 new customers are choosing an alternative energy supplier each week.

All of these customers have shopped for a new energy provider because of the significant savings possible -- over 10% for residential customers, and 20-30% for small businesses and large power users.

"I think the savings will be even greater in the summer because Peco's price is expected to go up," Irwin A. "Sonny" Popowski, Pennsylvania's consumer advocate, told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Inquirer also noted that there are over 20 new electric suppliers competing for residential customers, and more than double that number competing for commercial customers.

Finding the right energy supplier among all of these new competing electric companies is a daunting task for most customers, and, if done alone, can take a long time -- delaying a customer's switch to a lower rate.