Since the introduction of competition to the electric industry in 1996, electric rates for Pennsylvania's residential, commercial and industrial customers have either remained stable or decreased when adjusted for inflation, according to a new report from Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future.

"In addition, competition has grown by leaps and bounds, allowing electric customers across the state to obtain better rates on the generation portion of their electric bills and gain access to new and innovative products," PennFuture noted.

In 1996, Pennsylvania's electric rates were 15 percent higher than the national average.  Since the introduction of competition, which forces energy suppliers to compete head-to-head for each customer's business, Pennsylvania's electricity rates, allowing for inflation, are 5 percent lower than the national average, PennFuture reported.

And some of the biggest decreases in power prices have come in areas of the state that are already open to customer choice -- a 20% decrease at Duquesne Light, and an 18% decease at Penn Power.  These lower electric rates show that new electric suppliers have entered the state and are undercutting each other to win customers, lowering the cost of electricity.

Starting January 1, 2011, all areas of the state will be open to customer choice, providing new opportunities for electricity savings for customers at PECO in the Philadelphia area.

Commercial electric rates, adjusted for inflation, have decreased by 12 percent since 1996, and industrial electric rates decreased by 8 percent.

"Such price trends are remarkable, considering electricity prices across the nation for all customer classes have increased on average by 33 percent since 1996 (in constant dollars)," PennFuture noted.

PennFuture's analysis looked at average utility prices, but PennFuture stressed that the savings from electric choice are even greater when customers exercise their ability to choose among competing energy providers for the lowest rate.

Pennsylvania customers can find the lowest electric rates in the market by using SaveOnEnergy.com, Pennsylvanians' one-stop shop for lowering their electric bills.  Only SaveOnEnergy.com puts up to eight competing electric suppliers in head-to-head competition for your business, maximizing your savings and taking the time and hassle out of finding a low electric rate.