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Some PPL Electric customers in line for higher bills

By: Morning Call Staff |

PPL Electric Utilities’ default customers, or those who don’t get their power through a competitive energy supplier, will see a price hike March 1.

The price of electricity for PPL Electric residential default customers will rise 2.5 percent, while small business customers will see an 8.5 percent spike.

The new “price to compare” for residential customers will be 9.559 cents a kilowatt hour, up from the current 9.318 cents. The rate only applies to customers who have not chosen an alternative supplier and therefore receive “default” supply service from PPL Electric Utilities.

For the typical residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatts of electricity a month, that will translate into a monthly increase of $2.41. Commercial customers, which PPL Electric classifies as small business users, would pay an extra $7.96 per month for the same consumption. Their new price will be 10.121 cents a kilowatt-hour, up from 9.325 cents.

PPL spokesman Bryan Hay said the disparity in rates is due to different market prices set by suppliers for residential and business customers.

Hay also urged customers to shop around. “That’s important to know; you don’t have to pay that ‘price to compare,'” he said.

Electricity rates tend to fluctuate, partly according to seasonal demand. PPL Electric adjusts its generation rates and price to compare every three months — on March 1, June 1, Sept. 1 and Dec. 1, similar to other utilities in Pennsylvania. The generation rate for large industrial customers is calculated separately, based on hourly market prices.

Generation and transmission charges together, which account for about two-thirds of the total electric bill, represent the price to compare for shopping purposes. The remaining charge on electricity bills is for distribution, or the delivery of energy directly to homes over local wires.

PPL Electric, a division of PPL Corp., does not own power plants or generate and sell electricity. Other PPL divisions handle those functions.

By law, PPL Electric must buy power on the wholesale electricity market on behalf of its default customers, providing it to them without earning a profit. Such customers account for nearly half of PPL Electric Utilities’ 1.4 million customers across its 29-county territory, according to Hay and the PUC.

The other half have opted for contracts with alternative retail electricity suppliers who try to beat PPL’s default price or terms.


PPL Electric Utilities encourages customers to shop for their electricity. Find more information http://www.pplelectric.com/choice. There’s a ‘Shopping 101’ guide at: http://www.pplelectric.com/at-your-service/choose-your-supplier/shopping-101.aspx, and a short video: http://www.pplelectric.com/video/shopping-101.aspx.

In addition, you can learn more at:

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s website: http://www.papowerswitch.com.

The state Office of Consumer Advocate posts online shopping guidance at http://www.oca.state.pa.us.