Business customers at PPL Electric Utilities in Pennsylvania are being hit hard by the rate hike that went into effect June 1, but can drastically cut their electric bill by shopping for a competing energy supplier.

LndAs we noted back in May, most small and mid-sized business customers at PPL who don't shop for power started paying over 13¢ per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for electricity effective June 1 -- an increase of 33%.

However, an even bigger rate hike occurred for those business customers served on PPL's optional Time of Use rates (G1V, G3V-TOU).

During the winter, many customers opted onto PPL's Time of Use rates because, due to an anomaly in how the power was procured, the winter rates were artificially below market, at 7.5 cents on-peak, and 6.1 cents off-peak.

However, these Time of Use rates spiked on June 1 as well, and are now substantially above the price offered by competing electric suppliers.  The PPL on-peak rate for G1V and G3V customers is now 12.4 cents, an increase of 64%.  The off-peak rate also spiked 74% to 10.6 cents.

Business customers who switched to the Time of Use rates with expectations of lower bills will be hammered with these rate increases unless they shop for a lower electric rate from a competing energy supplier.

Using the power of competition, Pennsylvania electric customers can pit several electric suppliers against each other to find the lowest rate, allowing customers to avoid PPL's rate hike, and higher bills.

Despite thousands of dollars in savings available from shopping for a lower electric rate, more than half (55%) of PPL business customers still buy power from PPL at inflated rates, either because they are unaware of the savings, or think that shopping will be too much of a hassle.