Residential customers of PPL Electric Utilities will see a higher than expected electric rate hike on September 1 if they continue to buy their power from the local utility, instead of shopping for a competitive electric supplier.

Specifically, the "Price to Compare" for PPL residential customers on Rate RS, and for other residential customers who are not on a time-of-use rate, will increase to nearly 8.8 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) on September 1. The old PPL Price to Compare was about 8.2¢/kWh. That's a 7% increase.

But PPL customers might not have been expecting the rate hike, especially as power prices tend to moderate in the fall, as summer heat and air conditioning use die down. PPL had been forecasting only a marginal increase in the Price to Compare, to about 8.3¢/kWh, but the official Price to Compare data recently published by the utility confirms the new, higher electric rate of nearly 9¢.

PPL customers don't have to pay the Price to Compare, however. They can bypass the rate hike if they shop for a competing electric supplier offering a lower electric rate.

The Price to Compare serves as a benchmark, as it is the price you pay PPL for buying power supply on your behalf if you don't shop for yourself. However, competitive electric suppliers offer significant discounts to the PPL electric rate in order to win your business.

When you shop for an electric supplier in Pennsylvania, nothing changes in your electric service, except that you get a lower bill. No matter who you buy your power from, PPL, which now only owns the distribution wires and no longer owns power plants, still delivers your power under the regulation of the Public Utility Commission. Shopping for a competing electric supplier doesn't affect your delivery service from PPL, and doesn't affect your outage restoration time and doesn't lead to any service interruptions. In fact, PPL even encourages its customers to shop for the best electric rate.

PPL serves 1.4 million customers in Harrisburg, Allentown, Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Lancaster, and surrounding areas.