By: Scott Kraus |
PPL Utilities customers hoping for a break on their electric rates this summer are out of luck.
The Allentown-based utility will increase the rate it charges for electricity by 3.2 percent this summer, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission announced Wednesday. The company had originally predicted a summer decrease.
The rate hike will apply only to customers who have decided to keep PPL as their electricity supplier, rather than switch to another provider. Customers of other suppliers will pay the rates set by those companies.
PPL purchases electricity in several installments, and rates in the final auction increased unexpectedly, said spokesman Bryan Hay.
“It was higher energy costs going into a higher demand period in the summer,” he said.
About 53 percent of PPL’s 1.23 million residential customers purchase their electric supply from PPL rather than a competitive supplier. Hay said the utility encourages customers to shop rates on the PUC’s price comparison website PAPowerswitch.com
The 3.2 percent increase is second-lowest hike in the state for June behind PECO Energy, which will cut its rates 2.2 percent.
Some of the rate hikes are much higher. Met-Ed, for example, will increase rates 25 percent in June. West Penn Power customers will see a 50.6 percent increase.
Despite that, PPL’s base rate of 8.754 cents per kilowatt hour for the quarter beginning June 1 remains second highest in the state behind PECO’s 8.77 cents.
If you’re a small business customer, there’s some good news. Your price to compare will be 9.585 cents per kilowatt-hour, that’s a decrease from the current 10.391 cents per kilowatt hour.
Because it can take 11 to 40 days to switch electricity providers under current Public Utility Commission rules, PPL customers will not be able to avoid the June 1 increase. Those who act now should be able to switch suppliers before their July billing period.
The PUC has proposed new rules that would accelerate the process of switching suppliers. They are scheduled to be considered by the state’s Independent Regulatory Review Commission on Thursday.