Residential customers at PECO in Philadelphia and surrounding areas who do not shop for a competing electric supplier saw a 10% hike in their electric rate on September 1, as a new Price to Compare was implemented.

The Price to Compare is the electric rate paid by customers at PECO who do not shop for an alternative electric supplier, and are served under PECO's "default service."  PECO buys power from the wholesale market to meet the power requirements of these non-shopping default service customers, and as such, the rate is volatile and changes every three months.

Starting September 1, the PECO Price to Compare for residential customers (Rate R and Rate RH) increased 8.6% to 9.35¢ per kilowatt-hour (kWh).  The old Price to Compare, in effect during the summer, had been 8.61¢/kWh.

This electric rate hike of nearly 10% is even higher than an earlier forecast which® had warned Philadelphia customers about in July.

But thanks to the competition introduced into Pennsylvania's electric market, customers don't have to pay the Price to Compare, and can avoid PECO's rate hike.

With electric choice, alternative energy suppliers now compete for your business, and you can shop for the lowest electric rate or best service just like shopping for cellular, cable, or internet service.

In the PECO area, residential customers can find rates in the low 8¢/kWh range, allowing them to avoid PECO's rate hike, and also save money versus PECO's summer electric rate. For residential customers in the PECO area, that could be savings of up to 11% versus the new PECO Price to Compare.

But despite these big savings, only about 30% of residential customers at PECO have actually made the switch to save money with a competing electric supplier.  If you haven't shopped before, you're leaving money on the table, and there's no reason to stay with PECO's higher electric rate.

When you switch to a competing electric supplier, PECO still handles the distribution of your power supply over its poles and wires, at rates and terms regulated by the state Public Utility Commission.  Switching to a competing electric provider doesn't upset PECO, because PECO no longer competes to supply electricity, and has transitioned to a wires-only company.

That means when you shop, nothing changes about your electric service, except that you get a lower bill.  PECO will still read your meter, respond to all emergencies, and restore power outages under the same schedule as now. Contrary to some myths, customers who shop aren't put at the end of the outage restoration line or are otherwise discriminated against; they still receive PECO's high quality distribution service.  That means there's no downside to choosing a low electric rate.